Written by Mean Lean on Saturday, 06 October 2012 07:51
I hate this game, I have been hating this game since West Ham overcame entertaining and passing Blackpool in the Championship playoff final.
I remember when he was in charge of Blackburn at Ewood park a few years back and his game plan was simply to launch the ball as high as possible into the Arsenal box whenever they had the ball. No beating around the bush, no mixing it up just *TWACK* get under the ball, poke your elbows out, give it up em because Arsenal don't like that sort of thing.
On that particular day, we dealt with them fantastically well. Manuel Almunia was a solider. Yes, you heard that right. He came and caught everything, we defended very well and won the game. It was the game where that fella, I forget his name poked it through to Walcott who raced through on the right and struck the ball across the keeper into the corner as he does so damn well from that position.
Anyway, I digress as usual, not completely mind because we need Vito Mannone to do an Almunia today. Produce a performance in a type of game where people would expect him to fail, he needs to pull it out of the bag because Samantha Allardyce will have been working on putting Mannone under pressure all week. Just as he did to Fabianski years ago.
Andy Carroll is one of the strongest players in the air in the Premier League and we have not been strong enough in the air in recent weeks. Samantha would have watched the Chelsea game and licked those horrible chewing gum lips and clearly no Gooner wants that so I hope we can counter that.
We went to Stoke City this season and dealt with their threat like a piece of cake, I don't see it being such an easy ride this time round though.
What worries me a little is that we are not playing with the fluency of a few weeks ago and you can be sure that West Ham will not allow us to build our game up without interruption. Especially after watching the West Londoners do just that last weekend.
I think we could see a few changes from the team that overcame Olympiacos on Wednesday. I am almost certain that Arsene will draft in Oliver Giroud for the game, especially as we have lost the height of Abou Diaby. Giroud will be very useful at both ends of the pitch in the air. I would love a 1-0 away win with Giroud scoring from a set piece. Oh how we would chuckle.
Per Mertesacker is also a huge favourite to start the game and it will be interesting to see how he deals with Andy Carroll. For someone so tall, he isn't necessarily very aggressive in the air, you would imagine that Per would have been working on that over the summer especially with someone like Steve Bould on the coaching staff. Per Mertesacker will be tested today that is for sure.
The one question mark is who plays in between Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla. Aaron Ramsey scored a lovely goal in midweek but Francis Coquelin if fit gives the team a stronger platform away from home. It will be very interesting to see what Arsene does there.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
Three points at West Ham would be massive for us right now and it is the type of difficult game that a champion would win. I suppose you could say that for all the fixtures can't you? Perhaps only the invincibles were the only real champions but still, today will be tough. In fact I have a dodgy feeling about this game, think it has come at just the wrong time but we shall see, maybe this is the fixture where we click into gear and produce another Liverpool away display. At least that is what I am hoping for.
We need a team performance, especially defensively. We also need plenty of fight and hopefully some quick passing combinations. When all these parts of our game come together then we can brush the likes of West Ham aside.
Let us hope that today is the day where it all comes together again.
In other news @RoxyArms Arsenal song 'Walcott - Sign da ting' has entered the iTunes electronic charts, it was last placed at 117 I believe or somewhere near there.
It would be great if an Arsenal song got further up the charts so if you want to help then with only 79p you can purchase the song from iTunes
For those who watch Soccer AM on Sky 1 (10am-12am GMT), the song should be played today so keep an ear out.
Come on you Gunners.
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