The 19th League game of the season for us and it’s another London derby, the Boleyn.
After holding on for those vital three points at home on Boxing Day, a whole lot more interesting things could begin to happen for us if we win at West Ham. Southampton could lose against Chelsea, and we’ll jump from 6th into the top four. It could be the beginning of a revival of our season, and we’ll need the spine of our team to remain at their best level, henceforth.
- Alexis Sanchez
The leader of the Arsenal team in the practical sense, there’s no contention on whom the Arsenal players should now always look up to in a game. He’s had games where there was not much opening in front of goal but the sheer amount of perseverance in his machinery is amazingly stupendous. Facing a resilient West Ham team who play with so much energy will need our bull to pull down their bulwark.
- Kieran Gibbs
England’s best left-back, without a doubt, Gibbo has been on a whole new level this season, repaying the faith shown by Wenger when he let Clichy go. However, he’ll have a good test with a good set of attacking players who have proven dangerous this season for Sam Allardyce. Diafra Sakho and Stewart Downing have operated from the right, and it would require Gibbs to pay much attention in defence.
- Per Mertesacker
But the majority of the defensive work will be down through the middle, where we simply cannot leave Monreal to the mercy of Andy Carroll. Zonal markings or not, Mertesacker should keep track of him all day, as Big Sam will not have him and not want to take advantage of what has proven to be our Achilles’ heel this season. Charlie Austin did not trouble much, Andy WILL.
- Mattieu Flamini
Alex Song is on loan, but not from Arsenal, and is already relishing the opportunity to help the hammers gain victory over us. He would remember Flamini as a teammate to whom he looked up while still a 20-year old youngster, but there is no doubt he has gone above the Frenchman on the rankings of defensive midfielders. Song, while at the Emirates, let us believe he does more than just break up play, racking up many assists especially to van Persie, and will be looking to get a few past our midfield today. He needn’t be alone trying to stop that happening, but Flamini will have to be break-up-man-in-Chief.
- Santi Cazorla
It was difficult to keep track of the number of times Santi has used his quick switch ability to get out of tight spaces and launch us on the offensive, and against a team that will keep as tight as possible on our players, Santa’s magic wand will have to be at its wielding best. We are not sure what will happen when Ozil returns but for now, we can only enjoy Santi playing so well through the middle.
Two games in three days, yet we will still expect nothing short of 100%.
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