Back to the bread and butter of domestic football this afternoon with the visit of West Ham to the classy and respectable side of North London.
The Hammers shouldn't have anywhere near the same level of confidence as ourselves at the moment as they are going through a bit of a funky phase of late. In fact they have not registered a victory since January, not only that but they have a few injuries to contend with. Oh and the best defender to ever wear a West Ham shirt; Carl Jenkinson is unable to play against his parent club. I think a few of the injuries they are dealing with are in the back four so they may have to reshuffle somewhat.
Injuries at the back are not their only concern though, as Andy Carroll and Valencia are sidelined so they may well have a somewhat blunted attack. Injury crisis at both ends of the pitch at this time of year sounds remarkably Arsenal-esque.
Just flicking through the results and West Ham have not won away from home since 2nd December, a 2-1 victory against West Brom. That was at a time when they were fighting to for a top four place.
So what about the Arsenal? Well Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is hamstrung and will be unavailable. Mikel Arteta is back in training for the first time in a while but will obviously not be available for a few weeks. Gabriel is back on Sunday which is excellent news and sounds a little unArsenal for my liking. Well I should say it was unArsenal until players like Ramsey and Giroud started coming back way before their due dates.
Arsène's selection will be very interesting as he mentioned pre match about the need for rotation. Many people are throwing in the towel prior to the Monaco game but I'm certain that neither manager or players would agree, but that match aside, we put a lot into the cup game in Manchester and we have plenty of players fully capable of stepping in and continuing our good run of form.
I was attempting to do my usual match line up prediction thingy and I didn't have much luck. I think Arsène will start Aaron Ramsey and with the Ox out will he go with Theo Walcott? It would be a rare start for a player who has been instrumental to us when fit in the past, it is difficult to know how much is down to what he lacks as a player or how much his contract negotiations have to do with everything. Either way, if he is to start in any game of our run in, you'd imagine West Ham at home would be a pretty good choice.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
I started doing that by considering game time then after a while I was just making guesses. Which goes to show just how far we've come on as a squad. We could potentially make 5-6 changes and still be by far the better team to our opponents on paper. But the quality of each and every individual means very little compared to the quality of the collective, it is that balance that Arsène Wenger will have to find when considering his selection this afternoon.
Alex Song will be back on his old stomping ground so it will be interesting to see how he is received by the Arsenal support. Personally I am not that bothered either way and I suspect that is the general consensus amongst Arsenal fans. I hope we press him hard and not allow him time on the ball, he used to struggle with that when he played for us. Always liked taking a touch too many and if Alexis and Welbeck get around him then we could create some good chances.
Manchester City are the only team near us that are playing today, they have Burnley away so it's a good chance to cut Chelsea's lead a little and who can begrudge them that.
Tomorrow Tottenham travel to Old Trafford to play Manchester United, a game where I expect the away team to take all three points and in the earlier game Chelsea face Southampton at the Bridge so tomorrow we will be able to laugh at someone I reckon. Well, as long as there is no laughing at ourselves this afternoon.
Let's do the job without much fuss and dispose of an out of sorts West Ham. That would be the most enjoyable way of doing it but I suspect we may have to work for anything we get today.
Post match Q&A and Podcast tonight. My match thoughts tomorrow.