Friday 23 March 2012

Looking "Forward".

It's strange that we didn't have a match for 10 days and here we are still basking in our third spot take over, and already it's time for the next game. Just in the space of two days, we play against Aston Villa at home. There are sure to be some tired legs in our side, but the spirits would be on a high. It's obvious that some Arsenal critics will credit our win against Everton to being a whim or plain luck, but we have had all the bad luck in the past and it's time that the fortunes turn around. Anyways, I absolutely don't think that the Everton win was down to luck, in fact, we were unfortunate to not get the penalty and some other crucial decisions. But lets not crib about that, we have our critics to talk about such stuff.

Arsene's decision to rest Ox might have been criticised if the Wednesday night game had gone the other way. But now that we have won it, I guess it was a very good decision, and he might be starting against Villa. Maybe Benayoun will get in the starting line up too. He was played against Liverpool without effect, but he might be useful against a smaller opposition, no offense to Villa. Don't forget, it was him who got off the bench to score the winner in the dying minutes, in the the reverse fixture. Gervinho has been getting off the bench in recent matches, but I think he still hasn't got over his penalty miss in the ACN finals. I can understand that, why don't you ask Szczesny and Kos if they have gotten over last years Carling cup final, and then maybe we can blame Gervinho.

What we need right now is a confident team, and we might see most of the side from Everton's game. There were no major injuries from that game. You just want to be sure that there are no pulls, or cramps or tears after playing 2 matches in 4 days. Last thing we need in such a crucial period is an injury. But then again, we also have had all the bad luck with our injuries too. Still, our central defense is a bit slim and looking beyond Kos and TV, you are staring at Djourou and Squillaci. Santos feels quite sorry for his team's defensive injuries these season, he says,
Both Kieran and I were injured at the time. When you can see that the team needs you but there’s nothing you can do about it, well it gives you a sour taste.
It was the first surgery for him, and they can be a bit tough to take sometimes,
It was very hard. When I found that I would need an operation it was very hard news to take. I was in the changing room when they told me and I cried.
But the good news is that he is back to full fitness now and ready to play whenever called upon. I won't be holding my head in my hands if I knew that we don't have Santos in our line-up but another regular left back, but it is always good to know that we have a fitter full back available, if needed. With all our full back problems this season, it is welcome to have two fit full backs waiting in the ranks.

It's a bit early to talk about probable line-ups for Arsenal or Villa, but whatever team they choose, it sure will be an interesting affair. Aston Villa, though a bit blunt after the departures of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing in the summer, they still have some decent players in their ranks. Their defensive record is not too bad too, with a world class goal keeper in the form of Shay Given. The most notable point is that Aston Villa have the highest number of draws for a Premier League side this season, i.e., 12. We almost drew the last time we faced them, only for a last gasp winner by Benayoun. But we are looking at a completely different Arsenal side now. I don't see too many goals in this match, with Villa's decent defense and our improved collective resilience.

Sagna says,
The Villa game is massive. Tottenham are just one point behind us, but we were 12 points behind them in February. We are here now and we deserve to be here, but we have to give even more. We can't think about 'what if?' - we just have to give our best and look after our team, not concentrate on the others.
Harry said yesterday that, and I guess most of the Rottens are saying this, that they don't worry about Arsenal leaping over them in the table, but you know that they most be shivering in their tights now that even Chelsea are hot on their tail. What more can you expect from a team who are relying on the Gunners' failures for them to get back to the third spot. But that's that, we still have nine more to play, and the competition is hotter than ever. If only the top two were a bit closer, this race would have gone to the wire. You can only imagine what the next season will show us! With some additions in the summer, there's every chance that this Arsenal team will go for everything in the next season.

Arsene said at the press conference,
We will not be a lot on the market, quantity-wise I mean. Quality-wise, certainly. But the maximum number of the squad is 25. We have many players out on loan and we will take a gamble if we find top, top quality of course.
We still have Jack, who has not played this whole season. Ryo is hot at Bolton, and he will comeback next season with some valuable PL experience next season. I know fans are not too crazy about Diaby, however, I remember when he was bought by Arsenal. A lot of top sides were after him, Chelsea mostly, but we secured him. And for all the comparisons to Paddy, he hasn't proved to be quite the hit with his injuries plaguing him. But I still have a feeling that he has still a lot to give to this Arsenal team.

Anyways, back tomorrow for team news and starting line up predictions. TGIF!

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