It only seemed like yesterday when West Ham turned up at the Emirates and ripped up the script. 15 days later and a goalless draw against Liverpool was all the proof needed to write Arsenal off for the 2015/16 season. Fast forward to today and three victories against Manchester United, Watford and the exciting 2-0 victory against Bayern Munich in midweek has changed opinion somewhat. In fact victory this afternoon will see Arsenal sit pretty on top of the league at least before the Manchester derby on Sunday.
But just like it was ridiculously premature to write Arsenal off from having a successful season after only a couple of hours into the new campaign, it would be equally insane to get complacent after a good run of form as we are barely approaching the quarter mark in a long marathon. There will be plenty of tests ahead of us that we will need to overcome before we know our fate. One of those tests will be to shake off a physically grueling match in midweek to go again only a few days later, against a side who will be fresh and desperate for Premier League points.
Everton do not have a good record against us at the Emirates in recent years, and the 3-0 defeat to Manchester United at Goodison Park was unwanted for them on such an emotional afternoon. But we must not take them lightly as they are unbeaten away from Goodison this season.
With Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku at the sharp end of the pitch they have been causing teams a lot of problems on the counter attack, which would be rather interesting because I think we might well continue playing on the break for this game. I don't see Arsène telling our players to run around after Everton players and pressing after the 90 minutes against Bayern, I think that could well be too much, so I wonder if we will see two teams wanting the other to come out.
I wondered if Arsène would be tempted to rest Alexis for this game, but his comments at the press conference basically suggesting that he would leave it to Alexis kinda tells you all you need to know. As you know it is not possible to keep the same starting line up as Tuesday as we are Ramboless which is a bloody shame. He had been searching for that goal to open his account which he got late in the game at Watford and I thought the floodgates would open. Unfortunately for us that has now been put on hold due to a rather bad hamstring by all accounts.
So who replaces him? If you read between the lines in Arsène's presser it is unlikely to be Walcott on the right and Giroud as the centre forward as three forwards lack balance. So if that is the case then I suspect there will not be room for Oliver Giroud just yet, the Ramsey gig will more than likely be given to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has had an inconsistent time of things so far this season, which isn't really much of a surprise given that he has not had the needed run of games. With Ramsey out for the best part of 3-6 weeks or so it is a great chance for the Ox to iron out that rust and make Ramsey fight his way back into the team when he is fit and ready to do so.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
It will be interesting to see how Ox fits into the structure of this team. The Bellerin/Ramsey partnership worked so well since the end of last season until now, we have seen Bellerin become a very important attacking option but Hector will have a new partner who likes to take up a lot of Bellerin's space on the pitch. Maybe those two will strike up a great relationship that will allow us to overload opposition full backs on that side of the pitch or maybe Ox will look to drift inside much in the way Ramsey has done so well.
It is certainly something I will be keeping an eye on.
Hopefully we will have enough in the tank to take all three points, I think our defence will be important in this game yet again. If we defend with the focus that we have in recent weeks then I think even a tired Arsenal will find a way through the Everton back line. I hope. Maybe Gabriel will come back into the team to give someone like Koscielny a rest although he may well be pushed for one more 90 minutes before the all change at Sheffield Wednesday.
Anyway enjoy the game and the usual post match stuff will be here over the next few days.