The visit of Wolves over the last two seasons has produced two wins for the boys in red and white keeping clean sheets on both occasions. Although Wolves have some robust players McCarthy tries to get them to play football.
He is one of the few managers who I like listening to in post match interviews as he rarely complains about decisions and outcomes of games, choosing instead to inject some humour in his “call a spade a spade” approach to cross examination.
Having read the BBC head to head I am slightly concerned about today’s game as there are too many statistics in our favour. Here are a selection (you can read the rest here):
- Wolves are yet to take a point off Arsenal in six previous Premier League matches.
- Arsenal have kept clean sheets in each of the last three contests between the sides. Wolves’ last goal was JodyCraddock’s 89th-minute consolation in a 4-1 home defeat in November 2009.
- It’s now 13 top-flight matches since Wolves beat Arsenal. That win was at Highbury in 1979 under the management of John Barnwell.
- Wolves’ only away win this term came in their season-opener at Blackburn. They are winless in seven subsequent matches.
In addition to the probability that these stats have to be upset sometime there is the added pressure of elevating ourselves to fourth today. On numerous occasions last year United performed poorly in a game and gave us the chance to leapfrog them, nearly every time we failed to maximise on the opportunity.
Today we find out whether most of us are correct to believe that this is indeed a New Arsenal and that they actually have a mental toughness that matters, one that can be used on a football pitch to grind out results rather than the kind that allows one to turn a blind eye to the cry of man overboard.
McCarthy has rarely sent his team out to face us with bus firmly parked, but they will almost certainly be up for the battle. The team need to be prepared to win the battle of midfield first and the right to pass and play.
For me there is not much to figure out in team selection. I fully expect the same line up for Villa except Song will return. There is also a hint that Djourou could be fit, so he could return at right back.
Team for me should be:
We could see Coquelin at right back again but Jarvis offers a threat down the left flank and I think a more experienced defender in Koscielny will stop any early tail lifting danger.
All in all another game where result is more important than the performance which earns it, although perhaps I’ll be greedy and ask for at least two of the three goals Robin needs to surpass Shearer’s calendar year record.
I am struggling with inventors but have managed to come up with Sunbeam – a company founded in 1912 by John Marston and based in Wolverhampton which produced popular bikes, motor bikes and later cars (or at least it did according to wiki).
For those going to the Tavern I’ll see you there.
Written by Gooner In Exile