What a game in store for us this afternoon. As was said earlier this week – a barometer game. A resurgent Sunderland looking to continue their very surprising run against an Arsenal team confident as a result of last week’s big win.
And yet, in my opinion both appear to be skating on thin ice. Sunderland are, let’s be honest, a poor team managed by an average manager. Arsenal are on the verge of greatness but are not there yet, as the results at Swansea and Fulham portray. Yes, we smacked Blackburn but have you ever seen a worse performance from a PL side fighting relegation? Nor have I.
What has Mr- O’Neill brought to Sunderland to transform them? The same as Fat Sam has has brought to West Ham and SAF continues to bring to MU – an atmosphere of fear and aggression. Hard work, get in their faces, ride your luck, long ball tactics, close down in midfield, compress the play thereby nullifying any creativity in the opposition and best of all, score and then defend like crazy. It works. After a dreadful start Sunderland have beaten Man City, Norwich, Stoke and Swansea.
Sessegnon is their main attacking force, however, it should be pointed out that this season he has scored 9 whereas our top scorer has 28. We know all about Seb Larsson who is one of the players often referred to when discussing the (too) early transfer of young players.
Another conundrum is who is going to start for Arsenal?. With the huge game in Milan on Weds. will Mr.Wenger risk playing his full first X1 or will he rotate? What would you do? Which game would you prioritise? Do you think he should start with the same team in both games? I think we cannot afford to do anything but play our best starting X1 in every game – Big Raddy played 60+ games almost every season. (back when men were men!)
I am torn between Ramsey and Rosicky. Perhaps Tomas should start today given his excellent recent form and that Ramsey will be better suited to the slower game played by AC Milan midweek – I expect him to star out in Italy, just as Fabregas did a few years ago. Everyone wants to see The Ox and I hope Mr. Wenger doesn’t drop him – which he is almost sure to do when Gervinho returns next week holding his ACN Winners Medal.
An inventor from Sunderland? I bring you Sir William Mills, inventor of the Mills bomb. Those with a historical bent and an interest in World War 1 will know all about the Mills bomb which a type of grenade . 75 million of them were made and used during WW1. Yes – 75million!!. A prolific inventor he also developed a gearing system for ships which was used worldwide, and a telescopic walking stick/seat which remains widely available today (think Toffs/Range Rovers/ National Hunt).
Sir William Mills, no relation to Mrs.
It will be Siberian conditions Up North which will affect both the pitch and the players. If Arsenal have pretensions to a Top 4 finish they have to get something from this game. I do not believe Sunderland are as good a team as we are but given the January failures there must be caution. Going one up, which a few years ago would be a guaranteed 3 points is a trait we must reproduce. This will be a game won in midfield and our boys will have to fight fire with fire.
Given the animosity between our respective managers, I expect an intense game with yellow cards aplenty.
Written by Big Raddy