Morning (again), folks.
It’s been a funny old week. Football discussion and stories of note have taken a place on the back burner, finding themselves temporarily replaced by tales of bickering and unbridled opprobrium. I don’t much care for all that kinda thing – I’m more the type to revel in skullduggery and balderdash. I’m a lover, a fool, a rapscallion, a deviant, a colossal miscreant and a bit of an idiot. I am not a fighter.
Mercifully, we can focus on The Arsenal now and Fulham’s trip to The Emirates represents the opportunity for us to further cement our title charge against opponents we should comfortably dispatch. Regular readers will know what’s coming next; that makes me nervous. Oddly, it’s when Arsenal are expected to win when those nerves of mine start jangling.
Again, the team news is a mixed bag today. Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey won’t return to the squad. Both are likely to be available nearer to Friday’s FA Cup game with Coventry. Both Thomas Vermaelen and Nicklas Bendtner remain injured for a couple of weeks at least. Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are fit and available for selction. The only two ‘maybes’ are Nacho Monreal and Tomas Rosicky – the former has a twisted ligament in his foot and the latter is forced to wear one of those awkward Phantom of the Opera masks to protect a nose that was broken at Villa Park. Abou Diaby and Yaya Sanogo have joined with Theo Walcott to create a new boy band named ‘The Triumvirate of Ouch’ and are currently taking part in a sold out tour of Sweden. Their debut single, ‘Girl, kiss me on the metatarsal’ recently went double platinum.
Regarding selection, one or two rumblings have made it online suggesting The Ox could be played centrally alongside Flamini. Most of these rumours also contain reports of an injury to Jack Wilshere that I’m yet to see confirmed by media outlets or the Club officially. Should that be truthful, I wouldn’t see it being a problem. The Ox’s natural position is in the centre of midfield and The Flame would be there to take care of the defensive responsibilities.
So, assuming all is truthful, my guess at the line-up would be:
Santi Cazorla has shown himself to be returning to his best form, so excluding him might seem odd. There are bigger tests to come and keeping him fresh and ebullient for those might cause Arsene to go with Podolski who, let’s face it, needs to get some games under his belt. From viewing recent matches, it appears Lukas is chomping at the bit to get involved and doesn’t like being on the bench. That’s a good thing. Players happy to be excluded and pick up their pay cheques are of no use to teams challenging for honours. Arsenal need everyone to want to take their chance when it comes and give Arsene one or two selection headaches.
Although floundering, Fulham have shown the odd sign of getting back to better ways recently. There’s always something to fear from teams with a relatively new manager and players eager to impress him in the big games. The Cottagers shouldn’t be taken lightly and, if given time to settle, have a few players in attacking areas capable of giving our defence problems.
Of course, Arsenal should win this. A performance showcasing our finest attributes will come with a handsome victory, so it is imperative focus is kept and the team don’t just assume we’ve got it in the bag before the game starts. I don’t think this current Arsenal squad will do that. Players like Mertesacker and The Flame don’t like to concede goals and Villa’s consolation strike on Monday showed exactly that.
I’m going to go with a comfortable 3-0 win. The comments section is ready and waiting for you below and I’ll look forward to reading a few of your thoughts on the team and predictions for the match. Tomorrow I shall return with a review of the game.
As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.