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I have a feeling that we may have to battle our way to victory rather than turn on the style if we are to beat Paris St German on Wednesday night. If we are to manage that feat, that would be fine. It is something previous Arsenal sides have lacked in the past, once the heavy legs kick in and you have to rely on more than technical quality we have not always found the answer but today we are not playing our best yet we prove to be difficult to beat, fight until the very end and pick up results when we have off days

Yet this weekend holds an entirely different prospect: Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese manager has almost taken on cartoon-esque status when it comes to his rivalry with Wenger. He’s the Wile Coyote to our Roadrunner, the Bluto to our Popeye, the Dick Dastardly to our Wacky Races, with emphasis on the Dick. Perhaps that is being unkind or at least disparaging in my comparison because at least Wile, Bluto and Dick all have some form of likability – an inherent hopelessness or ineptitude that casts them in a somewhat favourable light

Anyway we have some players to add back to the squad after injury and knocks which is great. I think Arsene has been juggling his squad rather nicely in this regard. Holding players back until the right moment and I think he has done that this time with the likes of Theo Walcott, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal. He had done the same with Aaron Ramsey and Oliver Giroud before them, keeping them away for a little longer than perhaps they would have wanted but making sure they could (hopefully) make a lasting impact rather than break down trying to rush them back in.

It is going to be very interesting to see what Arsene does with the line up tonight. Theo Walcott, Nacho Monreal, Hector Bellerin and Santi Cazorla will be left behind due to injury or knocks (that’s probably the same thing) so we are going to witness some degree of rotation anyway. Oliver Giroud sat alongside Arsene Wenger at the pre match presser yesterday and I swear Giroud indicated that he would be playing tonight, or perhaps I just read more into something that meant very little. That said, how many times has an Arsenal player sat alongside Arsene pre match and not started the following day

An Arsenal side full of freshness, confidence and full fitness can overcome that from the likes of Sunderland with a few quick passing combinations and movement from our front players which is why we beat these type of teams more often than not but when our football drops a little, it proves to be a little more difficult. I have a slight fear that without Santi and Xhaka on top of a few tired legs

Giroud's return is rather interesting though. Our move away from the target man, instead opting for a mobile front line has brought us obvious rewards so far this season, so it may have been an ideal opportunity to give Lucas Perez a chance to lead the line once more, perhaps a chance to see how the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and perhaps the Jeff can replicate our first choice trio up front, but I don't see Giroud being left on the bench when he clearly needs minutes so we may well look a little different in our approach this evening

Santi Cazorla is having a fitness test after having to come off on Wednesday following a kick to his achilles. If Santi doesn’t make it and I think it would be a good idea to give him the afternoon off even if he is medically fit enough to play, then that position will be given to Mohamed Elneny who has had to be very patient so far this season. That’s how quickly football changes I suppose. When Elneny had adjusted to life at Arsenal he was first choice, even playing in the defensive midfield position ahead of Francis Coquelin, a few months later and he has found himself behind Cazorla, Coquelin, Xhaka and probably Aaron Ramsey when fit

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more