Morning’s greeting, folks.
After the Christmas and New Year’s period, I have no idea what day of the week it is. Monday’s feel like Saturday’s, Sunday’s feel like Tuesday’s and the world has all of a sudden refused to make sense. Either that, or I’ve finally lost the use of my most important faculties. This sensation of knowing not where I am is compounded by Arsenal playing a league fixture on a Tuesday evening barely 48 hours after having played their last Premiership game.
I’m at a loss to understand exactly why we’ve two series of Premiership games in such close proximity. I’m sure the FA have considered potential fatigue of players, injuries and the supporters travelling to fixtures before anything to do with money or television deals… Our away support is consistently fantastic – I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of them over the years – but even the most ardent and dedicated amongst them would be forgiven for not wishing to travel to Bournemouth on a Tuesday evening, presumably with work the next day.
But they will, and they’ll be as vociferous as ever. I admire all of those guys and girls who have the patience and dedication to follow Arsenal across the country and Europe in the face of a system that clearly does not give a f*ck about them. I watch most of my games on the TV or with friends, so I can’t claim my viewing habits to be affected at all. But I’d be the first to agree TV deals and mega money are hurting the regular match goer. I’d be one too, if I could afford it. Alas, it seems more and more are feeling the prices becoming too high and the fixtures lists more catered towards the TV viewer.
So, onto the game itself tonight and it’s a tricky fixture. Bournemouth are a good team. They may not be charging up the division effortlessly brushing their opponents to one side, but I’m under no illusion they’re anything but a dangerous opponent. The currently lie 9th in the table. I’ve seen them play here and there and in fits and bursts this season. Against Arsenal at the Emirates, the 3-1 scoreline might, at a glance, appear to have been a comfortable affair, but Bournemouth can feel aggrieved and did little wrong that day. We were not at our imperious, dazzling best, but needed to perform well to beat them. The extra bit of class we have in the attacking areas made the difference.
With the fixtures being so close, I’d expect to see quite a bit of rotation tonight. Mesut Ozil is still nursing a bout of ‘man flu’ so will continue to miss out. I’d expect to see starts for Mustafi, Chamberlain, Coquelin and Ramsey today. Walcott, Gibbs and Welbeck are still not quite ready to feature but the Club’s website isn’t clear so their could be a surprise on that front – maybe Welbeck could make the bench.
It’s hard to predict the outcome. We’ll most likely make wholesale changes and after the previous poor displays away from home, there’s some reason to be cautious and apprehensive going into the game. If the players adopt the same approach, then we could very well have problems against a side that are very bright and enthusiastic with the ball, especially with the support of their fans on home turf.
My thoughts on the outcome are going to depend on the team that starts. We’re in FA Cup action over the weekend, so the big players could all feature tonight with the chance to rest them then in mind. However, I don’t think we can afford to run too many of them into the ground at this stage of the season, Alexis in particular needs to be given a rest at some point.
I’ll go for a very hard fought 1-2 victory or a score draw. It all depends on what Arsenal side takes to the field.
What do you think? The comments await below, feel free to use them and ‘like’ or RT this post if you enjoyed it, or even if you thought it was bloody awful – I’m happy either way (preferably the former as I’m actually quite a delicate snowflake).
I shall return tomorrow to review the happenings and events with some sort of aplomb. Until that time, and as always: thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.