Morning, curious and knowledge-hungry lifeforms of this ‘ere planet.
Today, we make a short trip to the home of Allardyce. As a youngster, I loved the tale of the 3 Billy Goats Gruff. These days I relate that part of my youth to Arsenal playing a team Fat Sam is in charge of; all we want to do is reach the lush grass on the other side (play football), but we’ll have to defeat a hideous fucking troll in order to do so (Allardyce’s hoof-it tactics). In that tale, brains and cunning overcome neolithic stupidity, and that’s kind of how I see the two teams matching up.
The bad news is we’ll probably have to endure 90 minutes of long balls being thumped toward Andy Carroll – if ever there’s a player suited to the way Allardyce wants to send a team out, it’s him. But we shouldn’t be concerning ourselves too much with the intent of our opponents. There is more than enough in the Arsenal locker in terms of skill and guile to vanquish West Ham. If we play to our strengths and assert our own physicality, I’m certain we’ll win the game.
As always, they’ll be one or two changes. Personally, I can’t see how we can leave Mertesacker out of this game. He’s fit from the alleged bout of flu that prevented him appearing on Wednesday, and his calmness and ariel prowess will be of a greater need than the Vermaelen /Koscielny partnership. Since the BFG hasn’t been selected, we’ve almost instantly started to look vulnerable at the back. In a game in which we’re certain to be bombarded arielly, we need him. I doubt any of you will disagree.
The other berth under debate is who comes in for Diaby. It’s my opinion that, in a tricky away fixture, Francis Coquelin is the wiser choice. I wouldn’t be surprised if Le Boss opted for Aaron Ramsey on the right side of our front three to give a bit more stability to our midfield.
All things considered, my XI would be:
Key to victory will be our ability to deal with high balls, and that means added responsibility on the sometimes suspect handling of Vito Mannone. He’s a solid shot stopper, but he’ll be tested tomorrow in the air, and I’d be telling fibs if I exclaimed my total confidence in him. He’ll need to be protected, and I fully expect West Ham will target him.
I’m confident we’ll win tomorrow, but nervous enough about our recent defensive blunders to feel ill at ease before kick off. Alas, I’ll be working this afternoon, but I’ll be plugged into 5live – assuming they’ve commentary on the game – or whatever other available medium I can find.
What are you views on the team? How would you start? Do you think Sam Allardyce is a grotesque, portly troll with a nausea-inducing, leathered face? Let me know in the comments.
Lastly, do you fancy a cheeky punt on the game? Well, click below for Bet Victor’s latest odds and new membership deals.
Thanks for reading, you beautiful people. I love each and every one of you. Even YOU.