Saturday, 1 April 2017

Let’s hope we go 'all out' and…

…‘go for the throat’ at the Emirates!


Without looking back through both footballing stats and my own blog-posting archive, there’s just something I don’t like about the first game back after an international break. Without knowing for sure, I’ve just got some recollections that we often look a little disjointed and slightly ‘off colour’.


Of course it’s the same for both sides and, so, I’m not trying to build any excuses before we’ve even set sights on the match-day ball. And, of course, both ourselves and Arsenal have benefitted this time from the-agreed TV schedule pushing our game back to a Sunday afternoon (4pm KO BST); giving both managers extra preparation time as their players returned one by one from around the globe. 


Should be a cracker this one…


Arsenal haven’t been ‘happy campers’ of late – walloped 10-2 on aggregate against Bayern Munich; continued speculation about the future of Arsene Wenger that has largely polarised fans and 4 defeats in the last 5 league games, which has seen The Gunners slip to 6th and on the same points at Everton, who sit just 1-goal-difference behind them in 7th place.

Add to that an out-of-form, almost ‘gone missing’ Mesut Ozil, rumours of some player unrest and a sprinkling of injuries to key players; and it could be argued that this is a perfect time to player the London outfit.

Of course it’s up to us to concentrate on our own game but all of this does leave the question hanging…how will their players react to the most intensive period of pressure on their boss since his tenure at “N5”; will they ‘rally round’ or will they become shrinking violets?

Let’s hope it’s the latter…

v Arsenal

Emirates Stadium

Predicted line-up, subs and outcome.

Fluid 4-1-4-1:






Willy to continue in net.

Always hard to judge who’ll play at left-back these days; Gael is the better defender on the floor of the two in my opinion and will be needed for that very reason against Arsenal’s various attacking threats. If Pep thinks the same as I do, then I think he’ll go with the Frenchman over the Serb. Both Bacary & Pablo were injury doubts in midweek but both are deemed to be “OK”. With Sagna’s ‘niggle’ being a groin injury and Zaba’s a knock; I’m going for the Argentine to be selected to start this one. In between those is the continuation of John & Nicholas.

Fernandinho the deeper of the 5 midfielders; David & Yaya given more licence to attack together with Leroy & Raheem on the wings.

All of those in support of Sergio.

Bad buy Barry’ as back up to Willy and then a trio of defensive replacement options in Aleks, Bacary and, I think, Vinny! Another injury doubt a few days ago has also come through in time for this ‘clash in the capital’…but I think we’ll see Kevin start on the side-line tomorrow. In his press conference yesterday, Pep was bemoaning the many missed opportunities to finish teams off after creating so many chances over the season…and he’s right. With that in mind, I’m going for the Spanish boss to select Nolito over Navas as the more-recent arrival does have slightly more-of-a-goal-threat in him over Jesus. Kelechi to add to that goal chance from the selection on the side.

Notable absences: Fabian Delph (not selected), Fernando (not selected), Ilkay Gundogan (injured for rest of season), Jesus Navas (not selected) & Gabriel Jesus (back in light training / on his way back from injury).

Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?

That’s good for me!

Result? Ufff…tough one to call this.

Yes, Arsenal aren’t going through a good time of it at the moment and if doubt still surrounds the camp about whether Wenger will be in charge next season, then-that can be one of the worst things for a football team; as some players - sadly / appallingly - don’t appear to believe it’s worth ‘putting in the effort’ for someone who MIGHT not be their boss next season.

But these lot have a nasty habit of ‘turning on the style’ and pulling out a top class performance to blow away almost any side when they feel like it…and ‘Arsenal away’ has rarely been a good ‘hunting ground’ for us over the years.

But we have 'ability aplenty' at our disposal and the Monaco / Champions League exit aside, we’re undefeated in the last 7 league games with 4 wins and 3 draws.

All things considered? 'Go for the throat' we probably will but, for me, this is a draw with at least 2 goals at each end.

Expected weather conditions during the game: A beautiful day for football! Pleasant, at 14C on the second day of April, with sunny intervals and barely a breeze to speak of.

UPDATE (02.04.2017): With Chelsea losing and Manyoo only managing a 0-0 at home to WBA yesterday, what an opportunity to pull a decent gap away from both Everton and that lot from the Borough of Trafford; leapfrog Liverpool again and pull to within "just" 9 points of the league leaders with them 'up next' on Wednesday night! C'mon City!

Blog announcement

Due to a 5-day holiday and ANOTHER breakdown of my laptop, they’ll be no pre-Chelsea blog-posting, although I very much intend to watch the game live somewhere near to where we’re staying.

There’s then a half-chance of no pre-Hull City blog-posting either, which all depends on our time of return and if I then have enough time before setting off for that particular match at the Etihad myself.

Sorry for some break in service once again...

No comments:

Post a Comment