“To everything – Turn, Turn Turn,
There is a season – Turn Turn, Turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven.
A time to build up, A time to break down,
A time to dance, a time to mourn,
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together.”
Book of Ecclesiastes (with a re-write by Pete Seeger)
I know what you are thinking – “what the hell has that got to do with Everton at home?” Not much but I have had it in mind since Black Wednesday and of course, today is the first day of Spring – a time of growth and the rising of sap.
Will our sap rise today? Who knows? This season has been like few others insomuch as the team is so unpredictable, and not just game to game but within a game. Last Sunday we were two up and coasting then had 10 minutes of complete panic, and it has happened repeatedly over the season. Why?
“Leadership” I hear you say. Do we miss Arteta so much, is BFG lacking,? More to the point – how do we get one?
Can we beat Everton this afternoon and get back to winning ways?
Everton have stuttered badly this season and the golden boy Roberto Martinez has started to lose his lustre.
Here’s a brilliant stat – last season Everton won more games between March 1st and April 12th than they have won this entire season! The massive expenditure on Lukaku has yet to bring full returns though 5 goals in his last 3 games is worrying. I wanted us to sign Eto’o who is one of my favourite players but Mr Wenger proved once again that he “knows best”.
As usual midfield will hold the key. Aaron Lemon is likely to be dropped for the return of the potent Mirallas. In Gibson, McCarthy and Barry Everton have battlers, they also have one of my most hated players, Stephen Naismith.
I could write a whole post on the little blond aggressor. Like Leeds’ Alan Smith and the awful Robbie Savage, Naismith kicks the player before the ball as a matter of course, hiding a lack of talent behind naked aggression. How he stayed on the pitch in our 1-1 draw at Goodison is known only to the referee Michael Oliver who was awful that day.
I like the John Stones and can only think Mr Wenger wouldn’t spend the transfer fee preferring to buy Gabriel for half the price. Baines is fit, as is Coleman.
Arsenal: I would start the same team as Wednesday to allow them to prove their worth but Mr Wenger will ring the changes. Expect to see Monreal start and possibly Gabriel for BFG or Koscielny. And it is time to take TPIG off the naughty step – in my opinion he is our best GK.
Bellerin Gabriel Koscielny Monreal
Unlike some, I like Santi playing deeper alongside Le Coq and until Ramsey, Arteta or Wilshere return it is a position he may well keep. (unless Rosicky takes that place!)
We have a strong bench with good coverage for any eventuality.
My main concern today lies within The Emirates crowd – the poisonous atmosphere which is created by a bias-led media is so close to the surface. If Arsenal are not at their fluent best and dominating from kick-off the disquiet will strengthen and the very chaps who booed our lads off the pitch will start complaining early. I hate it. Moan on the blogs, beat the dog, kick the cat, berate taxi drivers, do whatever you have to do but during the game SUPPORT your team.
What happens when the crowd groans at a misplaced pass which is made in the blink of the eye- a possibly defence splitting pass which carries risk? The player will take the secure option which is usually a short sideways or backwards pass. If we want to see a fast, intricate and beautiful display of passing football our players have to feel confident and supported – take that away and we become Stoke.
Live Long and Prosper
written by Big Raddy