It has been a full seven days since the Arsenal were last in action, Southampton putting us to the sword in the league cup might have meant that we supporters have had to twiddle our thumbs this week but I am hoping that we could see the benefits of this afternoon.
A managers work is often done on the training ground, a chance for Arsène to improve the connections around the team, improve the speed of our passing and movement. When you are playing every three days this can be difficult to achieve. So I am hoping for the last few days Alexis has been tearing it up behind Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey is looking sharp once more.
Burney have yet to win a game this season and they will be largely unfancied to pick up anything today but looking at their results so far, the only real beating they got was at the hands of West Brom where they got beaten 4-0. The other defeats have been by 1 or 2 goals, one of those games being against Chelsea.
So I am in no mood to count any chickens just yet even if I know that we should have too much for them.
On the injury front it looks as if Jack Wilshere will miss the game due to a kick on his knee at Sunderland but Kieran Gibbs might be available. I might be in the minority here but in games where our opponent is likely to sit back and flood the middle of the pitch, I would prefer to start with Nacho Monreal who is better at keeping width and also running in behind his opposition full back where as Kieran Gibbs tends to dribble inside his man. He is better in individual duels so is better against stronger opponents. I suspect that Gibbs will play if he is completely fit but I'd be more than happy with the Spaniard.
In a game like this I'd also rather give Hector Bellerin a chance to attack down our right from full back rather than Calum Chambers who isn't as quick or mobile as Bellerin.
“We wanted to give a bit more freedom to Alexis, playing a bit behind Danny [Welbeck], more like a 4-4-2, which we haven't played for a while. It worked - I think Alexis did very well today so we're happy for him."
Captain Mikel Arteta said that after the win at Sunderland and when you look at the players we had on the pitch that day. Cazorla left, Ox right, Flam and Arteta in the middle. With no wide strikers or playmakers he could go in that direction. We could play a similar way today but I guess it depends if he uses Aaron Ramsey and if he does, it then depends on whether he thinks he can play in a 4-4-2.
I'm not sure we will see a great deal of rotation for the game even if our opponents today as well as the venue represents probably the best chance of doing so but we haven't played since last weekend and Arsène doesn't tend to rotate if his players have not played for a week.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
Hopefully we will get to see Theo Walcott on the pitch at some point but hopefully not because we are desperate for a goal. That wouldn't be cool at all.
As ever, I hope for three points and a confidence building performance.
For further reading check out a couple of articles.
Arsène confirms surprise Gunner return & 1st choice injury comparisons
Ten Things We Can Learn From Arsène Wenger
Back later with the usual match day stuff.