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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.

Comments (24)

  • Bradyesque
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    Nice job ML. I like the look of your line up, particularly the back two. Like you say, mobility is important against their attack. I just wonder if, with current form in mind, if Jenks isn't the man to play on the right.
  • MeanLean
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    I reckon the rest would have done Sagna the world of good. He has not had a breather since his return. I reckon we will see the real Bac tonight
  • jd  - Tranfer window distraction
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    When has the transfer window been a distraction. The only player we have been linked with is David Villa and its obvious that Barca aren't going to sell him. Even the press have given up writing rumours because nobody will believe we could actually sign anyone. I think that we will beat Liverpool tonight aslong as we don't conceed in the first half. We always seem to be wary in the first half against bigger clubs even at home but I think we are easily strong enough to take apart a weak liverpool side that will try to play us at our own game. I hope the center backs have a good game because the only thing that could cause us problems is if suarez gets too involved in the game. Did anyone see the irony in him walking out wearing the standard captains 'respect' armband at oldham? what a joke.
  • Bradyesque
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    You're probably right, ML. I'm not one who has given up on Sagna, hopefully tonight will be when he finds his stride again.
  • Dave
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    LFC have Enrique, Johnson and Reina back from injury for this game so the defense will be better as well as given more support attacking options going forward, and you can bet Sturridge will start up front with Suarez. Should be a good game, both teams need it.
  • pedantic george
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    I hope its a poor game ,a no contest .I hope we smash them
  • ZimPaul
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    Liverpool/Arsenal matches often produce some very good football from both sides. Tonight has the ingredients of an excellent match, both sides determined, in some form overall, and improving overall.

    I'm not that worried about Suarez, we usually find a way to shut him out when he tries to wriggle through, I hope Kos is in to do that. More worried about Gerrard who retains that ability to win a match with a swerving 25 metre pile-driver into the roof of the net.

    I suppose Giroud really must start, given his form, and his link up play with Theo and Lukas, and more importantly the growing understanding with every match now. We'll see.

    Ramsey/Diaby? Nothing in it really. Hard to tell and only the training ground could tell us anyway. On form, Aaron. On impulse, Abou, that assist to Giroud, wow! The rest picks itself.

    I'm afraid RASERS have felt uncomfortable on another site, strikingly one-dimensional these days, like one head talking to itself and laughing at its own jokes. Never mind. I miss talking about Arsenal football and players to be honest, and a bit of wit and fun to boot. I find it more interesting.
  • ZimPaul
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    By Goerge, now what a surprise bumping into you in these parts! Hope all is well with you. We missed your daggers! Thwack!
  • ZimPaul
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    And greetings Mean Lean.

    Hope you don't mind me making myself comfortable here.
  • MeanLean
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    ZP,

    Take a seat, kick off your slippers and I'll grab you a cuppa. Fun Gunner, Passenal, Shotta, Paul N and PG have all been here in the last week so you should feel right at home.

    I am hoping to see a continuation of our recent chemistry, I get the sense that the team are finally finding the balance, finally playing without thinking.

    It has taken a little while but I really feel that a good stretch of form is close.
  • pedantic george
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    Paul we have a new blog .I wont link it on here ,its a bit cheeky.But Frank ,Shotta Passenal ,Mel,Muppet,Arse ot Brain ,Paul N.Steww,and more are posting.
  • MeanLean
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    Cheeky bastard George... but be my guest
  • shotta
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    Still around ML. These have always been very comfortable surroundings. Been following you on Twitter in between George and Positively Arsenal where Frank did a unique preview of today's game. Link: http://positivelyarsenal.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/the-next-game- rambleliverpool/.

    As for today's game,I don't envy Wenger in deciding between Ramsey and Diaby. Plus we will most likely have Rosickyon the bench. All things considered our midfield is brimming with talent. Lets hope we start better than we did at Chelsea.
  • pedantic george
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    Oh seems Shotta has been cheeky for me :oops:
  • shotta
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    George: "By any means necessary."javascript:JOSC_emoticon(":P")
  • paspartu
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    2-2 instead of 5-0. lucky liverpool.
  • ZimPaul
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    Many of the reasons we love Arsenal are coming around so I hope folks are not disheartened by a draw that turns out to be a good result. Epic fightback, wonderful football, great character; and all in all a very good edge of your seat match. Never mind luck. It comes, it goes. Many RASERS (of all types, "realists" and those admiring the vision) ask only that the players show this character on the field, the skill we know and determination to apply it, and this was not wanting last night. So, I hope myself not to see a deluge of tears and wailing from fans, oh woe is me. That said, it is the mental side of this team, concentration and focus, first half deficiencies, that needs attention, and it's not quick fix stuff either. Somehow we "free ourselves" when behind, and can run them ragged. Why not from the start of proceedings? Fear of failure.
  • baldy red
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    2-2 instead of 5-0 lucky liverpool lol lol lol lol lol lol
  • paspartu
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    youre right , it could have been 7 or 8 :wink:

    careful now spuddie..dont blow your cover... 8)
  • baldy red
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    you crack me up you really do,any gooner and lpool fan ive spoke too agreed a draw was a fair reflection on chances created but not you lad.

    the team showing great mental strength would be not to go 2 goals down in the fucking first place,defending like something out of a carry on film,shocking stuff,do believe youre right zimpaul its a fear of failure.
  • paspartu
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    well maybe we see things differently like arsenal dominating the whole match and liverpool relying on counters and our players personal errors or miscommunication instead of liverpool;s attacking play...
  • baldy red
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    no surprise that we see things differently but no matter,match stats from ssn website

    arsenal liverpool
    2 goals 2
    19 total shots including blocked 13
    6 shots on target 5
    5 blocked shots 3
    8 shots outside box 3
    11 shots inside box 10
    42.9 % shot accuracy 50%

    not the stats of a team dominating the whole match
  • paspartu
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    ah so stats is something you pay attention to huh ? :wink:

    how about the international federation of football statistics and history which holds our manager as the best in the world in money spent/positions won ratio?

    :lol: :lol: :lol:

    funny innit?
  • baldy red
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    mmmm i do wonder,i wage bill that dwarfs those of the spuds and everton and yet we are below them in the table?
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