We got some very big games coming up, there is no doubt that it will be a tough time for our squad.
I was greatly encouraged by what I saw on the weekend. We were told leading up to the game that we would not be able to cope with Suarez and Sturridge. You see, in the eyes of those who do not follow Arsenal as closely as we do, our centre backs are useless. We do not know how to defend and we lack a big bruiser at the back who points and shouts a lot. This has been the narrative for a while. I am sure at some point those opinions may have had some merit but unfortunately narratives do not progress along at the same time as reality.
A quick glance at our goals conceded column last season will show that we had the second best defensive record in the league and here is the thing, none of those games last season had anything to do with Mathieu Flamini. Weird right?
Flamini has been wonderful since he signed this summer, no doubt about it. I am certainly not going to use an argument to put down another Arsenal player because he has done nothing but good on and off the pitch but this view that Arsenal can now defend because of him is rubbish.
I find it puzzling that many are surprised by Mikel Arteta's man of the match display in the Liverpool game. Who actually got the official man of the match award by the way? *Something to search for afterwards*
We do have very short memories as football fans. Some people do not rate Arteta very highly and that is fair enough, we all have our unique opinions on individual players but those who were having kittens about losing Arteta last season and are now writing him off as not good enough need to work on their memory before it gets out of control.
It is going to be tough to try and manage the squad we have for these next two games. There is just no way that we can go into Dortmund and Manchester United with the same intensity as we did against Liverpool. So I am expecting a very cagey and defensive start in Dortmund with the emphasis on keeping our shape. It is far less energy sapping especially against a side who are one of the best pressers and counter attackers in the game.
We've started this way in a few games, some people view it as starting badly or being forced back but I am not sure I agree. The Dortmund game at home was one of those occasions in my opinion. We actually gave them very few chances apart from the two we gift wrapped with a card of course. It was no surprise that we took over in the second half of that particular game with Dortmund abandoning the intensity that they had from the beginning, purely because they couldn't keep it up.
So I am expecting some backs to the wall defending tomorrow night and then a better and more attacking second half. Arsene Wenger often gets criticised for not altering his game plan, the trouble is that when he does it often gets mistaken for playing badly.
I'd love a win in Germany but nothing compares to Old Trafford for me. I want us to beat that lot *whispers quietly* even more so than I want us to win at White Hart Lane. I was us to wipe that smug look off van Persie's face. I want us to go 11 points clear of them and keep us 5 points clear at the top. I want us to ping one touch passes around them, forcing van Persie to drop deep to make up the numbers, watching him get nowhere near the ball. I would love to see us picking them off and watching Özil and Giroud high fiving each other after yet another Arsenal goal.
A tough ask I know but if there is a season where we can get the upper hand at their place then surely it is this one. I'm up for a full park off in Dortmund if it means getting after those lot on the Sunday.
Anyway I haven't hid my disdain for van Persie and his Manchester United friends very well have I? So let me move onto what Alan Shearer said on Match of the day when asked about our title credentials. He said we cannot win the title because we haven't faced a Man City or Chelsea yet in the league. He's right though, we are unlikely to win those games which in Shearer's head works out at roughly 47 points per big game compared to the easy 3 pointers we are picking up elsewhere. Or something.
Not sure I understand where he is coming from on that one. That said, I totally understand why some people are skeptical about us going all the way. We've started many a season well and then dropped off at the end, that is history in black and white. We have to prove to ourselves that we can do it so it doesn't really matter what others say. It is just the argument that is a bit stupid. Unless Manchester City and Chelsea have won all their games leaving the head to heads as the deciders but as far as I can remember Cardiff and Newcastle United are not one of the title chasers and they managed to win against these teams.
Theo Walcott should be back for the weekend. Huge boost, the perfect weapon from the bench at Old Trafford. But Jack Wilshere will miss that game with his continued ankle injury.
Right, bed for me now. Match preview of the Dortmund game tomorrow.