- Don’t mind the crowd
There are, perhaps, no set of fans in the Premier League who hate Arsenal as much as the home crowd at the Britannia. Not because they have so often been the direct inverse of everything good football should represent but resentments from the supposed favouritism to Arsenal which decided the outcome of the 1972 FA Cup semi-final replay has spilled over through to new generations, unforgiven. They will be hostile, as usual, and don’t be shocked if there were a few chants of “One only Ryan Shawcross – he tackles how he wants”. But just as they have responded positively to negative atmospheres, even at the Emirates for 89 minutes on Wednesday, Wenger’s lads will do well to keep their heads focused on the only business of the day, three points. “It’s not a hate game” and the sentiments of the majority of the voices in the stands do not matte one bit.
- Per on Peter
So Pelle was not as much a threat as we feared he would be but rather be a time to relax, Mertesacker would have regarded his duel with the Saints’ big Italian as the warm-up for an even more troubling tussle with Peter Crouch. Though not favoured much nowadays in a starting role, it is no secret that going aerial is the easy way to get into our skin and having a near 7-foot man as Crouch and not taking advantage would rank as rather absurd. Crouch has had quite a sizeable number of cheerful moments facing the Arsenal defence, but a repeat of Per’s excellence on Wednesday would go a long way to nullify the threats to be posed by the one-time England International.
- Can we score a first-half goal?
It’s been a bit of a problem that we’ve found it hard to score first half goals, with none in our last four League games. Taking a lead into the interval has even been more difficult but the fact that the we’ve only been able to make it possible in two away games – Villa and Sunderland – gives a motivation to go in with confidence. And then, we’ve not lost a game this season in which we’ve scored in the first half.
- More Martinez
Wenger reports that the club’s first choice goalkeeper has made a good recovery to the team but is not entirely fit enough to take the gloves for the game. And that is good news for the Arsenal defence as we are set to continue with a regular backline which has kept three consecutive clean sheets. Galatasaray next week would be the good time to reintroduce Szczesny but for the present, it ain’t broke and so in need of no fixing.
- “Thanks… But We Want more”
It’s principally on the players to win a game but what motivation does that bring going to the next game if the fans think so little of the manager who has sent them out to get the victory? In the mean, there’s nothing anyone not on the board could do to excavate Wenger off his job and perhaps it won’t be necessary to agitate for that while there are still games to be played and won this season. Rather than infectious negativity, those lucky to travel for the game should go hoarse in pushing the team – and the manger – on, and not vice versa.
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