Following a painful and damaging defeat in the Champions League in midweek a fixture against Manchester United at home could be one of the worst possible yet it could be just the pick me up the team need. While I accept that isn't ground breaking analysis there is a lot of truth to it.
The mood amongst the Arsenal fans after our 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Greeks in midweek was very low, frustrations boiling over online (shock horror) and the managers future being questioned by sections of the fan base. Yet victory this afternoon against Manchester United at the Emirates would put Arsenal only two points off the top of the table, that without Arsenal having found any consistency and it's fair to say, not anywhere near our best form. That is not exactly a bad position to be in at this moment in time, but you know that anything less than a victory today will more than likely see Arsenal fans venting at the final whistle and obviously that helps absolutely nobody at Arsenal football club. Especially the players who we are kinda hoping find some consistency and confidence. The age-old chicken and egg situation right there.
As Rory Smith said on the Arsecast on Friday, it is difficult to know what the real Manchester United team is like and I think the same could be said of Arsenal this season. We have lacked consistency so it is hard to know which Arsenal will show up.
I think the Arsenal line up will be pretty easy to predict today, lack of form in some and injuries to others have seen to that. I wonder if Petr Cech will come back into the team, I jest, I jest. Aaron Ramsey made an impact in midweek, who knows that might change what people think about his role in this team, maybe not. Unfortunately Laurent Koscielny has picked a bad time to join the hamstring crew and will be out for a few weeks. When a mobile in form striker comes into town we usually assign Kos to deal with the situation and 9 times out of 10 he does just that. Anthony Martial will be looking to run in behind our defenders as theUnitedPages points out in today's opposition view so we will have to be aware of that. Gabriel will more than likely be the one asked to stick close to Martial with Per alongside him sweeping up.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
Theo Walcott is in a good run of scoring form and is bedding into the centre forward position pretty well so it would be nice to see him continue this and produce a big performance in this role against a big club. How nice would it be to start well and take our first chance. The opposition have taken their first chance against us in these big games so often and then we end up chasing the game and getting caught on the break. I for one, do not want to see that movie anymore. The one where we win the game in the first half after some scintillating football is the one I want to see, failing that, I'd just like to see us win after 90 minutes.
This fixture last season still haunts me to this day. It was one of the first games in which the entire team clicked and we were all over Manchester United, pressing them high up the pitch and creating chance after chance but Wilshere, Welbeck and co missed fantastic opportunities to put us ahead before we ended up losing the game in typical Arsenal unfortunate fashion along with defensive naivety. In fact that actually describes our last game pretty well doesn't it?
Short one today, as I have a check list to tick off before I sit down to watch the game this afternoon.
Fingers crossed. The post match Q&A will be back after the game with the podcast more than likely to be available tomorrow.