Sunday 26 February 2012

Derby day!

I decided to write this a bit late, for different reasons, one to be absolutely sure about the team news since there so little out there to predict anything and secondly my desktop has been giving me so many problems to get running that you would think he is Arshavin and you are pushing him to run, I would give it whatever it wants to run but I really don't know what it is that it wants!

So Arsene decides to keep Gervinho and the Ox, both on the bench. Walcott will continue his position while Rosicky on left. Interestingly, Benayoun starts behind RVP.
Whatever it is that went through Arsene's mind while deciding the team strategy, frankly I don't think the shape is right. Gervinho would have been pretty troublesome down the left and would have done alright to keep Kyle Walker occupied.

Also, keeping Ox on bench and starting Walcott shows nothing has been learned from past matches. Yes Walcott does have more experience but Ox has looked more potent than him. We also have Kos back in the squad, which will give a much needed stability to the defense. Whether this combination is able enough to keep the ball away from the goal is another debate. Arsene has been putting his faith in Walcott so much this season that it makes you wonder if Arsene really trusts him or he is just out of position. I don't think there are lack of options given the wingers on the bench, who are definitely better in quality than the current two. Rosicky might be starting on the wing but he and Benayoun might switch positions during the match, just to create something. Their collective experience might be a positive factor in Arsene choosing them above others.

This derby, for me, will be the decider whether Arsenal are good enough to win the "top four" trophy or not. RVP's contribution will be crucial for the match and there is no doubt that he won't give anything below 100% for the team, till the end of the season. He will make sure that he does everything in his power till the end of the season before he makes the big decision. Arsenal have been trying to get RVP to sign a new contract, however, he has put any contract talks on hold.
He says,
There have been a lot of stories, generally contradictory ones, about my contract situation recently so I’d like to make it clear. There’s nothing complicated or sinister - the Club and I have both agreed to speak at the end of the season and see how things stand. The boss, Ivan Gazidis and I are all comfortable with it. I need all my focus to be on football - on captaining this team, improving every day, doing extra work on the training pitch and preparing for the very busy schedule of fixtures we have.
I think he is right in suggesting that the focus has to be on the current situation and that is sticking to the top four. Any talks about the contract renewal is just going to distract him from his duties.
He adds,
If I look down the list, there’s not much time to sit down and think about anything else! For me, this is a time to play football and not speak about personal things. All of my energy needs to go on getting this team where we want it to be this season.
And I completely agree with that. Arsenal, and I mean the team has to do everything to stay in the top four and ensure Champions League football for next season. RVP is a great player and already at the peak of his career, at 29. Surely, he will want to win something before he is past his best and till then, play in the flight of European football. Nobody can blame him to want to leave, if Arsenal falls out of the four, after having done so much for the team this season. My emphasis is on "this season" only because before this he has been plagued by injuries galore and hardly ever made it through a complete season. Arsenal have always put faith in him and stick by him through all that. Some might say that he has something to repay and give back to the team. But look at this season, I can't even imagine where Arsenal would have stood if it wasn't for RVP. It would also depend a lot on how Arsene does his business and it's absolutely vital that he strengthens the squad and brings real quality to the team.

But all those doubts will be laid to rest at the end of the season. Until then Arsenal has a job to do, the next 3 weeks are absolutely vital. A win tonight will go a long way in doing a world of good to the teams confidence and maybe Arsenal can declare themselves as Kings of London and leave no doubt about it!
Go Gunners!

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