I cannot count the amount of times I've heard people posit that injuries are no excuse for poor results. If that was the case I'd like to hear a good reason as to why yesterday's top teams who decided to rotate their squads all suffered with defeat in their own stadiums. Two of the very richest teams in the country who have 2/3 top players per position losing should provide sufficient evidence that not having a consistent team can effect results. So on that very subject, today will more than likely provide a chance to rotate some fringe players like Theo Walcott and Mesut Özil into the first team. As we are not in the league cup anymore we need to give them chances when we can. All unfunny jokes aside, today is an opportunity to give certain players a deserved rest as well as giving returning players a chance to get some much needed sharpness under their belts
Enough about them anyway, what about the Arsenal? The squad is pretty much as it was. We need someone to replace Mathieu Debuchy who 'injured himself' in our last match or so they say. His replacement will probably depend on how we want to approach the game. I know Arsène is a sucker for going toe to toe with the big boys and that has been our undoing in recent years but I think it may well be different this time. But I wouldn't listen to me too much, I tend to get all over excited just before a big game. But I'll try to explain, I think we are a team who build confidence based on our performances rather than our results. We could win 5 games in a row, the way we beat Crystal Palace at the start of the season but I'm not sure it
The FA Cup is back again and it will be great to inject some good feeling back into the atmosphere following the Southampton defeat. The mood is such that you'd think we had won once in six games, in reality the loss to Southampton was our first defeat in six games. Scoring 14 goals conceding 8 during that time period. But a cup clash with last seasons cup final opponents can hopefully bring back some positive memories. Looking back at that team that lifted the cup, it's amazing how different it is to the team we see today. 7 of the 11 players in that team will not be in the squad this afternoon, it is also possible that at least two of the remaining four players will be rested due to a rather hectic Christmas schedule on a rather small number of players
Anfield stirs up plenty of memories, both recent and past. In fact it is rare to find one of these fixtures that was devoid of incident. The obvious, if not the most enjoyable place to start is what happened last season and I need not go into detail about what took place that day. I would say though that like most of our big defeats I didn't think we were any worse on paper, perhaps that is a touch of the red specs syndrome, although I stand by that. I still believe that the issue was how we
On the flipside our already ridiculous injury list is basically taking the Micky out of us. In true Arsenal fashion, we were given a sample of Aaron Ramsey back to his best only for him to be cruelly whipped away from us again. He had scored three goals in his last two games, you just know another was coming today. Ok, maybe that's a bit presumptuous but I could certainly see that happening. No chance of finding out though. But that is almost the least of our problems because our defence has been targeted by those pesky injury gods. Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal are both injured while Calum Chambers is suspended thanks to the crazy world of Anthony Taylor. You'd imagine it will be another mixture of experienced players out of positions along with young players who are not yet fully ready
- Galatasaray (a) Thoughts & Line Up: Rotation over hope in pressure free trip
- Stoke City (a) Thoughts & Line Up: Will Arsene restore Welbeck & Giroud partnership?
- Southampton (h) Thoughts & Line Up: Can we rest Alexis and claim 3 points?
- West Brom (a) Thoughts & Line Up: Welbeck or Giroud? & Consistency the aim of the game
- Borussia Dortmund (h) Thoughts & Line Up: Sanogo for Welbeck, Kos returns & Rosicky
- Manchester United (h) Thoughts & Line Up: Injury concerns, Return on the exes & More
- Swansea City (a) Thoughts: Alexis vs 4141, defensive responsibilities & More