Through Watford, Luton, Northampton and Coventry, the Arsenal train makes its way from London to Birmingham with a mail quite heavy to deliver – one which MUST be delivered without any break in the seal.
The pictures from the training session showed us scenes where players seem not to be under the effect of the myriad of bombardments hauled their way all week long, with some smiling widely from ear to ear, while others engaged in mini WWE fun games. It has been a tough week for them, and who dare deny them the chance for fresh air. Training is always a welcome breather for players especially after a defeat and before a game of supposedly lesser opponents.
If Aston Villa have been dimmed as “lesser opponents”, it would then appear the woes may likely to tick on.
No one wins the league after four games, neither are you guaranteed a top four finish by beating a team who had finished there recently. But even at that, Arsenal’s Saturday opponents have shown enough evidence of why it will be most unwise not to take them seriously this campaign.
While still being unbeaten in the league, the Villa Park outfit have found a resoluteness in guarding themselves from attack, having allowed just the one goal pass them by. They have been a team in progress over the past few seasons under the watchful tutorship of Paul Lambert, and with a backline that consists of Dutch World Cup hero, Ron Vlaar and Arsenal old-boy Philippe Senderos, we may have our work cut out against the claret and blues.
Arsenal go into the game four points behind Villa, with the knowledge that there is never a good time to play catch up. The players will do well to fully be focused on getting maximum points, and not have their heads bothered with the mathematics of what the result of a Chelsea win over City the next day will portend. It is simply a matter of taking care of one’s own business and leaving the snake and the grass to resolve their colour differences.
Much will be asked of the mental strength of the team, in being able to reconfigure themselves from the battery suffered in Dortmund. That was the kind of defeat that could make a player question his ability to keep up at the top level, having been completely and comprehensively over powered by the German machines. It will be the turn of the Arsenal machines, especially the Germans amongst them (all three are going to be closely watched) to prove that the World Cup was not an impediment but a motivation. They will have to show that having lifted the so-called biggest prize in football, there still exists in them the hunger for more success. Mertesacker will have to read the game better, Podolski keep his shinpads closer and Ozil move around a little more.
All we have to do is play our game to win. As scary as Roy Keane’s beards may look, Villa Park has not been an unwelcoming place for the Gunners in recent past. Arsenal are unbeaten in 5 league trips, securing 3 wins and a draw. There is no reason to believe we can’t keep that record, while breaking theirs.
I can’t wait to write something positive this week. Please, Arsenal, make my day.
Follow oohtobeagooner on Facebook
for more latest Arsenal transfer news, injury news, team news and rumours.