Saturday Dec 22nd: FA Premiership, Wigan Athletic (a)
Continuity has been notable by its absence with Arsenal throughout the season. No sooner does a brief glimmer of light appear on the horizon, is it quickly extinguished by an ability to do something breathtakingly inept. Good results and performances have shared equal exposure with those that we’d all sooner forget.
Today is an excellent opportunity to go into a game on the back of a solid, winning display and build on it. Wigan, with all due respect, are opponents we should beat, and be able to do so with minimal fuss.
The team news is practically non-existent. Triumph at Reading on Monday night saw us pick up no fresh injuries, and, at the time of going to print, there are no doubts or late fitness tests. Taking that into account, the personnel and formation from that win should remain the same.
As you were, Arsenal:
Deploying Walcott as a striker proved effective. What he lacks in Giroud’s presence and ariel ability, he makes up for with pace, and playing on the shoulder of defenders. His quickness scares his marker, who drops off deeper and leaves more space in which our midfield can operate – Santi Cazorla especially benefits from this.
Wigan are a side we’ve blundered against in the past, but today I wouldn’t expect anything other than an Arsenal victory. If we are to cement our claim for one of the qualifying spots for the Champions League, December’s succession of apparently winnable fixtures is an excellent place to start.
Of course, you never really know what you’re going to get with Arsenal. Expectation goes both way, and the pessimist inside me keeps tapping the side of my head and saying, “James, don’t forget how shit we can be in defence”. That’s always a worry, but the corner we all yearn Arsenal to turn has to be navigated eventually. Victory today could just be the start of that.
I’m predicting a decent 3-1 win, and a couple of goals from Theo.
In other news, several reports today have emerged linking us to a striker – Barcelona’s David Villa. It’s alleged across many press outlets and sources of gossip that Arsene is keen to take him on loan in January, with a view for a possible permanent move should the Spaniard take to Premiership football. As a stop-gap, it would be a brilliant signing – Villa certainly has pedigree and he undoubtedly knows where the goal is. However, at 31-years-old, he wouldn’t offer us much in terms of longevity. Of course, as if so often the case, any story like this should be taken with an enormous pinch of salt, but it’s one of the better speculations I’ve heard in a while.
That’s all for today, folks. Today is my last working day before a greatly appreciated break for 12 days. I’ll be stuck in a kitchen listening to 5Live before I can study any game footage later in the evening. I hope you enjoy the match from wherever you are spectating.
The comments await a few of your views. How would you line-up? Do you think Arsene shouldn’t tinker, and leave a winning team as it is? Or would you consider starting with the collective might of Gervinho and Ramsey (I’m joking…)? Let me know what you think.
Finally today, I’ll point those of you partial to a bet on the game toward Bet Victor. Those signing up as new members will receive £25 to stake on the outcome of their choice. You can register here. Thomas Vermaelen has scored in each of his 3 appearances against Wigan, so putting some cash on him to make it 4 could be a good flutter.
Wigan vs Arsenal odds.
I shall return tomorrow with a full review of the game.