Shouldn't this be one of those super Sunday thingy-me-bobs? You know, just before the random fixture generator happens to pull out another big fixture in the game after. Regardless of how the fixtures are sorted out, we should be grateful to wave goodbye to International football and welcome the domestic goodness that is the Premier League.
Manchester City are interesting opponents this afternoon, interesting because you'd imagine that they are in a similar position to ourselves in terms of squad condition and preparation. I wouldn't be surprised to see both teams fail to reach their peak today. The World Cup, lack of pre season and now the Internationals have been difficult hurdles to overcome.
I suspect that during a non WC year then Stoke City would have been put to the sword last weekend. Instead it's a race to be your best.
At least we face an opponent who is willing to come and attack us. In our league games so far only Everton have been willing to have the ball and attack us and this should make for a more open game.
Arsenal Team News
I wonder if Shad has been adding a single drop of his blood into the players pre match drinks because all our injuries seem to have cleared up at the same time. Mikel Arteta, Mesut Özil and Kieran Gibbs have all returned to the squad. Only Aaron Ramsey is a question mark today but given Coleman, Wenger and Ramsey's comments in the last few days it feels like it is something he'll overcome.
Danny Welbeck is also available for selection after completing his deadline day move from Manchester United.
With the squad brimming with players you'd have to think that it can only be a good thing that Arsene has plenty of selection headaches this afternoon. Kieran Gibbs is back but Nacho Monreal has been playing well and I'm sure is sharper than Gibbs at this stage. That said I can still see Gibbo returning to the starting 11.
Mikel Arteta will almost certainly come back into the team in place of the erratic Mathieu Flamini. Cazorla, Alexis, Oxlade-Chamberlain and perhaps Mesut Özil are vying for the two wide places while you would assume that Danny Welbeck will start at centre forward. Yaya Sanogo is also in contention after his three goals for the French u21s. Welbeck will not have had much time to get used to the way we play so Arsene might want more training sessions to develop more of an understanding with his team mates so don't be shocked to see him on the bench but I'm hopeful we'll see him start.
While many would like us to revert back to the 4-2-3-1 I think Arsene is likely to stick to the 4-1-4-1 system with Mesut Özil playing out wide as I am guessing it was reconfigured to do better in big games like these. Maybe it depends on Aaron Ramsey's fitness, who knows.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up
I'm going to pretend that Ramsey will miss the game, simply because someone has to drop out and I'm not sure who. If Ramsey is available then one of Wilshere or Cazorla will be benched.
We've had an injection of pace in attack not only that but both Alexis and Welbeck are pressing machines so it will be interesting to see how those two do when the City defenders have the ball at their feet. I hope we squeeze and press them the way we did a few years ago when we won 1-0. One of my favourite performances in recent years. This said, both Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey have both hinted at playing a little more conservatively in these matches so we'll see what happens.
Should Welbeck start then you'd expect him to give his all and try and claim that centre forward spot. A spot that has yet to be claimed this season especially with Oliver Giroud out until the new year. Fingers crossed he hits the ground running.
I've had a good feeling about this game for a week now but the usual match nerves are kicking in but I'm going with an Arsenal victory. Danny Welbeck scoring the opener on his Arsenal debut and Arsenal winning the game 2-1 or 3-1.
I'd take that. Enjoy the game Gooners.