Arsenal travel to the Britannia today to face what is arguably their bogey team, Stoke. They have a great home record against us with a draw and a win recently, so if you have been worrying about this clash like I have this week, you have every right to be. Thankfully for the gunners, Tony Pullis has a few injury worries and suspensions to deal with, with Jermaine Pennant In doubt, and Dean Whitehead will be ineligible, as he was sent of last week against Reading. Arsenal face a side similar to the Sunderland team last week, who will try to sit back and defend, using the physical approach to disrupt Arsenal’s style of play (Rugby club). It would be interesting to see who starts for Arsenal in the forward line, with Giroud and Podolski probably now 100% match fit, and Gervinho playing well. Either Arsene starts Gervinho, with Podolski in the middle or he starts Giroud, pushing Podolski to the left. Walcott is a certainty to start. The midfield trio of Diaby, Arteta and Cazorla should be the same, as well as the backline, assuming no late injuries strike. However Szczesny was in doubt earlier this week, and will be given until the last minute to prove that he is match fit. So it should be interesting to see who starts if he or Fabianski to start, but I have faith in both (yes, even Fabianski), however I don’t think Mannone will be in contention, as he proved in the pre-season fixtures he is still lacking that quality and match-experience that is required to play at the highest level.
This one would have to be Per Mertesacker vs Peter Crouch, the 2 tallest men in either team, happen to be on the same area of the pitch. Stoke will be likely to play their normal long balls up to him, and long free throws, so it will be up to Per, to make sure Crouch doesn’t get anywhere close to the Arsenal goal. Both are probably equal in speed (slow), strength, and physical ability, so it should be an interesting battle to watch. Hopefully Vermaelen can help cover Per too at times, as Crouch is a very decent player indeed.
Key Player to watch
Many will probably say Cazorla based on his performance last game, and I don’t blame them, he was great. But an important player who has gone under the radar somewhat, I think is Abou Diaby, who has played incredibly well so far considering how long he’s been out his battle with injuries. His physical presence will be important as well, to counter Stoke’s style of play. Gervinho will also be a key, as I think this season really is his season to shine for us, he now has some proper competition in the squad in Podolski and the Ox, and it should hopefully motivate him to improve himself as he still lacks the final ball/pass. If he could work on those things, he might just prove to be as good as Arsenal legend Robert Pires one day (as he said he wanted to be on arsenal.com)
“”You should always look at these examples from the past,” Gervinho told Arsenal Player.”Robert is a fantastic player, very experienced, and I saw this for myself [when Pires was] training here.
“I really hope to emulate Robert Pires in my second season, hopefully do even better, but I hope to carve out my own niche of course.”
People just have to remember this is only his second season.
And I won’t be doing a prediction thing hat I normally do, as they are often always wrong, so im just gonna say it is most likely that Arsenal are going to lose or draw, because we are playing away.
TRANSFER SEASON NEWS
Today, it is with sincere regret that I announce the retirement of Real Madrid player Nuri Sahin who confirmed his loan move to Liverpool earlier this week….HAHA just kidding. To be honest, I don’t think it would’ve been much of a gain or a loss either way. Sure I would have been excited to see a new player arrive, but he is only a LOAN, he is only benefiting Real Madrid in the end. It is rumoured that Liverpool didn’t even get him with a purchase option after the loan, so all they will be doing is help Real Madrid and Sahin’s development in the long term, but at least they have improved their squad depth a bit. We will just have to wait and see if he proves to be a success at Liverpool or not, and if Arsene made the right decision in not buying him.
In other news, as we missed out on Sahin, Arsene now only has 1 week left to replace Song, it would be interesting to see if he buys a player that is a “like-for-like” to Song, maybe say M’vila who his team, Rennes, just got Jean Makoun on for loan, and the Rennes manager even hinting that it’s a possibility that M’vila might leave for Arsenal soon with:
“For the moment we have three offers. There is even a chance Yann (M’vila) could stay at Rennes this year but now Alex Song has left Arsenal we must say they will reinforce that post.”
So the ball seems to be in Arsene’s court right now, will Arsene make an offer? We shall wait and see.
Other transfer possibilities I think include, Everton Midfielder, Fellaini, Newcastle midfielder, Tiote, and the other French defensive midfielder Capoue, who I think is a better option than M’vila personally. Out of all these targets if I had to rank them in order in terms of who is best suited at Arsenal are:
- Marouane Fellaini
- Etienne Capoue
- Yann M’vila
- Cheick Tiote.
Fellaini has played brilliantly for Everton already in vs Man united last week, and West Brom yesterday, he is young, physically better than all the options, and has a bigger afro than Song, Tiote, although a good player at Newcastle does not seem to be an Arsenal type player. M’vila is a player who plays like Song, but Capoue seems to be a more defensive player. Arsene has many options, I think that without a doubt, 1 of them will come in this week as Arsene has said he is already looking to bring in one “world-class central midfielder”.
In other positions, as the Theo Walcott contract negotiations drag on, rumours about possible replacements pop up, this time in the form of Spanish winger, Jesus Navas. Yes he is a good player, but I really would rather us keep Walcott, as I think he will be the future of Arsenal when he grows up into the player he can possibly be, has so much potential. I hope we renew his contract this week.
To sum everything up, I have a feeling we will get the 3 points today, and I also think we may be announcing a player arrival or departure after the game, As well as one during the week, and one on deadline day, August 31st. We still have a lot of deadwood to get rid of.
I can’t wait.
NB: 2 hours before kick-off, 2 pieces of news/rumours floating around twitter right now: Mannone might be starting today as apparently both Szczesny and Fabianski are out and M’vila to Spurs. Watch this space.