Happy New Year, folks.
Right about now, I imagine there’s plenty of hungover souls out there. 2014 is here and all the celebrations are distorted memories of excess and fallacious promises. Not for me. Last night I didn’t venture out into the wilderness of intoxication and I can safely say it’s the most I’ve enjoyed New Year’s Eve for some time.
It’s also a rarity to wake on the first of January with a clear head. In my formative years,, I’d be on my knees praying violently to the porcelain Jesus right about now. With age comes wisdom, and the realisation that spending a lot of money on something that only really leaves you feeling like sh*t the next day is a pretty stupid thing to do. So, with my aforementioned clear head, I can approach discussing team news without any feeling of weakness.
We have quite a few players on the sidelines. Giroud, Ozil, Ramsey and Gibbs will all miss out today. The Ox still remains sidelined, but hopes to be back to full training sooner rather than later. Sanogo and Diaby are unavailable for selection as both are currently fused together – think Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear in Stuck On You. The good news is Monreal should be fit to start, and both Rosicky and Vermaelen came through training unscathed after carrying slight knocks.
My guess at how we’ll line-up is:
On paper, against a Cardiff side in dissaray thanks to Vincent Tan’s idiocy, this should be a relatively straight forward home victory. Our opponents are without a manger and their previous good form has dropped off. As I usually say, my biggest worry is complacency. However, Arsenal teams of the past that seemed to have an abundance of such a thing are but memories, and the current crop is an altogether different one.
To be frank, anything other than triumph would be a poor result. We’ve navigated some trick away games very well, and can ill-afford anything ridiculous to occur today. I feel if we can attack with verve and keep our concentration at the back we’ll win and win by a comfortable margin.
However, it would be wise to ensure that our minds are focused on our opponents. If we casually retain possession and fail to have meaningful shots on target, there’s always the risk of being sucker punched on the counter attack. Cardiff might be a club in turmoil, but the represent a threat – a threat that has to been taken seriously.
I’m going for a comfortable 3-0 victory. Hopefully we’ll score early. If we do that, I can’t see anything other than a few more goals coming and an enjoyable afternoon of football.
That’s all for today, folks. The comments await your thoughts. Would you start Bendtner today in the absence of Giroud? Perhaps this is a game more suited to Mikel Arteta’s calmness and excellent distribution than The Flame’s all-action dismemberment? Let me know your predictions and favoured personnel for the game.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a report and some other bits ‘n’ bobs. Until then, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.