There will be too much bitterness if we don’t get one over Stoke tomorrow. Not because we could find ourselves near the base of the top half, but it will sustain the psychological deficit we’ve had against the Potters. Wenger must want this so badly that he must be plotting these 5 things.
- Per on Peter
For the records, it was needless of Szczesny’s father to make a defence of his son by apportioning some blame to Mertesacker, that doesn’t help squad unity and he has no business making such opinions. That said, the BFG would have to show more agility – that of a full blooded Gunner – to keep track of his comrade-in-height from the opposing side. It’s still kind of shocking that he was right within the perimeter were Crouch profited from Chamber’s error to score in the reverse fixture. Monreal has already made it clear that he wouldn’t be favorite to win any headers against the former English striker and I do not think Koscielny will fancy the tussle too.
Up step Per, the captain, the leader; the FA Cup goal against Hull, the match winner, should give him more confidence to ease the burden on his shoulders.
- Start Coquelin
Wenger himself has said that it will be difficult to drop a player whose confidence is fresh and blooming and coupled with the positive nature of performances so far, Francis Coquelin should not drop to the bench just yet. With more of the team’s midfielders now returning, it is his starting place which will first come under threat but with Arteta not back, there is still no one who shows better abilities for a defensive midfielder than he, not even Flamini. Of course, both could be made to pair but if Wenger has an attacking template with which he intends to run the game, the younger Frenchman should be chosen as the single pivot.
- Crack, Break, Attack
When you think of Stoke, it is difficult to imagine anything other than a ‘clash’, but the excellences of Bojan Krkic, Marko Arnautovic and Mame Biram Diouf quickly remind us that this is now a team who are now better going forward than they are in holding back. a compact midfield that consists of Stephen Nzonzi, Geoff Cameron and Charlie Adam is arguably strong enough to withstand a midfield that fails to command itself physically. And so the question of our approach to the game comes to mind; do we try to match them on the physical aspects by getting into the challenges or do we rely on our passing tricks to get beyond back four? Mark Hughes have ensured they are a better possession-retaining team, in which case we may have to be patient and hit on the break, and in that case…
- Start Walcott
Even if he had scored those goals against Hull, there were still enough to prove he hadn’t played up to two hours of football in 2014. Yet, his runs were as sharp as ever getting behind the Hull back line on more than three occasions. With either one of Cazorla or Ozil – and with Coquelin (he found him TWICE against Hull!) – opportunities will open up for him to be our outlet on the attack and if his boots are rightly adjusted, we could see him return to his best and give us the much needed points.
- And Szczesny STARTS!
He saved us at West Ham, and ruined us at Southampton. It’s a typical goalkeeper’s life, and what we should do is move on. Wilshere got forgiven for smoking in public; Woj did so in private, albeit in a wrong environment. Fine paid, lesson learned. “The last thing you do to your first choice goalkeeper when he makes a mistake is drop him” Bob Wilson. He’s worked at Arsenal – 25 glorious years – in goalkeeping roles, player and trainer. End of.
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