There’s something about these ‘big’ fixtures that instills more belief in me for my team. Had we been lining up today against lower league minnows, or one of the Premiership’s so-called “lesser” teams, I’d be nervous and expecting something silly to happen. With the current title holders coming to town, my belief stems from the fact our players have a challenge to rise to, and our home support will be vociferous and constant.
The news on the playing front is very good. Only Lukas Fabianski remains on the sidelines, with Diaby and Santos both thought to have regained enough fitness in training to warrant a selection today. Only Olivier Giroud is doubtful, and he faces a late fitness test on a nasty gash suffered in last week’s FA Cup tie with Swansea.
Our team selection has been fairly consistent in recent weeks, and I expect Arsene to change little – perhaps again opting for the Vermaelen-Koscielny combination he deployed in the reverse fixture in Manchester.
We could/should/will line-up as follows:
UPDATE: Arteta ruled out with injury – Coquelin expected to start in his place.
City have a few notable absentees. The Toure brothers are away with the Ivory Coast for the AFCON, Sergio Aguero is injured, and Samir Nasri’s recent dismissal means he has to sit this one out – given his recent hollow words of debt towards Arsene Wenger it’s probably best for the irksome little mercenary.
With 2 games in hand over Spurs, a win today will do wonders for our chances of making the Champions League spots. Victory will require a focused team performance with attacking verve and enthusiasm. We are more than capable of beating Manchester City if we collectively turn up todasy. However, as is customary with this Arsenal team, a poor performance like so many we have witnessed will almost certainly end with defeat.
I’m confident today, and I think Podolski will bag the winner in a 1-0 triumph.
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That’s all for today folks. The comments await your thoughts on the team; what way would you line up? Would you start with a fit Giroud instead of Walcott? Let me know.
I shall return tomorrow with a review of the game. Thanks for reading today.