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It feels a lot longer than the five days since we last played. Maybe the manner of our 3-3 draw has slowed time down just to give us more opportunity to reflect on what turned into a bit of a joke after having impressed going forward for so long in that game.

Personal circumstances has meant that I have left a hole in the match reviews section for that particular game, and while the OCD side of me is shifting around uncomfortably in my seat, my mood at the final whistle might not have translated so well into words.

But football moves on and fortunately for all of us there is always another fixture on the horizon to occupy our thoughts. As Arseblog pointed out recently, I'd prefer we shot ourselves in the foot where dropped points were unlikely to make any difference to our qualification, the league however is a different story, especially given the fact that we have already dropped too many points in games we should have collected all three.

Swansea City away is always an unpredictable fixture, very much like our team at present I guess. The Swans have started the season in good form relatively speaking of course. They are two points behind us with ten games played and will be looking to secure themselves into the Europa league places.

The Swans will be missing Jonjo Shelvey after the midfielder received his marching orders against Everton. He will be a miss for them for sure. Jordi Amat and Leon Britton have been added to the squad after long-term injuries, that aside they are pretty much all fit. What a strange world they live in ey? I might place a bet in the bettingappstore.co.uk that we will never have an injury free season in our lives.
For Arsenal it's the usual game of one out with others returning or at least close to returning in some cases. Mikel Arteta's departure through injury midway through our midweek game may have sent a gentle reminder to those who deem him useless. Frenchman Mathieu Flamini will come back into the team after having been replaced by the returning Aaron Ramsey.

Jack Wilshere is also available to play after missing midweek through sickness.

So Arsène most certainly has his work cut out when it comes to team selection, so much so that I am not even going to attempt a predicted line up. Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey have usually started when fit this season and it has never been in a two man midfield so I expect Flamini to be in the middle of those two, slightly more defensively minded. This means that our system will more than likely have to change. If that is the case then it would mean a wide role for Alexis who has been head and shoulders our best player since moving centrally, behind Welbeck. A position that has had the manager waxing lyrical in recent weeks.

Something will have to give.

One option would be to drop Welbeck to the bench and play Alexis as the central striker in a 4-1-4-1 which would allow the Rambo, Jack and Flamini trio but I'm not sure the fixed position of central striker suits Alexis anywhere as much as his free role. I suspect that whatever team the manager selects this afternoon, we will hear disapproving voices from a corner of Arsenal supporters.

Regardless of the players on the pitch the one thing I want to see is a good team defensive effort. I noted during the game against Anderlecht that we were nowhere near as committed in winning the ball back as we had been in our previous two games. I wonder if this was instructions by the manager given the extra midweek fixture or if it had come from the players themselves. Our pressing was not as intense and that included Alexis who is a pressing machine.

There has been a lot of focus on our back four and in particular Nacho Monreal. I can't help but feel there is a little confirmation bias going on due to the lack of a fourth choice centre back signing. Firstly Monreal has put in better performances than Per Mertesacker since moving to centre back this season and Per was our best defender last campaign. When the midfield have done their jobs instead of focusing on scoring Ronaldo free kicks then the defence has been equal to that of our rivals. In fact Arsenal have conceded the same as table topping Chelsea. The team managed by bus parking specialist Jose Mourinho. Once the team shape and attitude of the players around the defence is correct then we will have little problems against most. In midweek it was wrong.

You may have noticed my little dig at Aaron Ramsey in the above paragraph and he is the last player I want to vent at given just how key he was last season and what he has had to put up with from people like me but Aaron Ramsey is probably our best tackler. A player with unbelievable tekkers energy. He had been reminded of his duties before that CL game and once more post match so I hope to see Aaron of a couple of years ago when he started his resurgence and was vital to our defensive strength in that second half of season. I want Aaron to go back to that, there will be occasions to make that burst forward and get in the box when the time is right and not during every attack.

I suspect that Ramsey will need no extra motivation given today's opposition. Arsène told Arsenal player that Theo Walcott is still not ready to start and could be a weapon from the bench.

It's been a mixed weekend thus far with Chelsea slowly wiping away any fading hopes of a late title challenge. Manchester United are also a point behind us as they squeezed past Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. But Liverpool and Manchester City lost and drew respectively.

Today we will see what the mentality of the team is like. There is no doubt that our capitulation would have harmed us so how we approach the game will be very interesting.

'till later.

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more