Written by Mean Lean on Wednesday, 30 January 2013 13:02
There is this football match happening tonight to distract us from the Premier transfer window league, or is that the other way round? It is hard to know, as so much focus is currently on the possibility of transfers.
Tonight's game is hugely important as in fact are all our games from now until the end of the season, the business end is just around the bend so picking up victories before we veer around the corner is vitally important.
Our first victory of the season came against this evening's opponents, a 2-0 victory at Anfield, the performance that day gave even the most skeptical fan a sense of confidence in the team that was being built. Since the start of the season the team have gone on an inconsistent journey, searching to find what they really are rather than building on what they already know, which is mainly a consequence of having to rebuild a new attack. It is no surprise that Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool have all suffered from an up and down campaign so far, those three teams having had to adjust to more than the usual amount of new personnel.
While Brendan Rodgers had a tough opening to the season, I was certain that they would turn it around, on paper they have a quality looking side but them as with us, it is a case of players settling down and adjusting to how the manager wants them to play. Luis Suarez may be a despicable character but he is an exceptional footballer and will be the danger man tonight.
Thomas Vermaelen returns to the side tonight and while it has not always worked, I would select Koscielny as his partner over Per Mertesacker who has been our most consistent center back this season but looked out of sorts at Brighton. Perhaps the mobility of the Vermielny or Kosmaelen partnership may be the order of the day facing the wriggling Suarez, Sterling and perhaps Sturridge providing he gets the nod.
As ever in these big games, the midfield battle will be very interesting. Lucas, Allen and Gerrard against Ramsey, Cazorla and Wilshere. Ideally in a physical clash like this you would want to have Diaby in there but I am not sure that Arsene will want to play him three games in a row in such a short space of time. Stoke City being our next opponents, I wouldn't be at all surprised if his height was saved for that game on the weekend.
I am intrigued to know how Ramsey performs tonight, think it could be an important game for him. He has excelled against both West Ham and Brighton but so far he hasn't really been tested. He has had time to pick his passes but I get the feeling that he will not be afforded such luxury's tonight.
The better sides have pressed Arteta in that position when he received the ball and we suffered as a team for that, I wonder if they will do the same to Aaron tonight. If Santi is the second midfielder then his extraordinary ability to keep the ball in tight situations would be a huge help if he drops deep to pick up the ball.
A big night also for Oliver Giroud who has scored 4 goals in his last 2 games, we need to see that against bigger sides so a game like tonight would be perfect.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
Inconsistency has to be a thing of the past, we need to string victories together and with some rested legs back in the team hopefully we can take it to Liverpool from the off.
That said, I wonder if Arsene could revert to what served us so well against Newcastle at home this season. If Arsene feels that the time is right to rest Giroud before Stoke, he could allow Liverpool onto us as they like to have the ball and once we win it back then we can release Theo Walcott into the spaces. I am not a huge fan of Theo as a striker but if the space is there to run into then it could be a good move.
Even if Theo does start from the right then he can still get into those positions with diagonal runs. Whichever way we cook it, we have to hope that we put in a good performance tonight because the points are needed.
You can get some good odds on the game over at www.freebets.org.uk
Do you what you gotta do Gunners.