I came across some Hull City vs Arsenal clips on the old Arsenal player and we’ve had some pretty nice memories in recent years against that lot haven’t we? I know our record against the newly promoted teams is especially strong so maybe it’s a broader thing at work here, but matches against Hull have been most enjoyable.
There was the obvious FA Cup final that was so very special and important given the length of time without a trophy. That game was full of some incredible events. Gibbs clearing off the line, Gibbs blasting over the bar from close range, Santi’s wonderful free kick and of course Giroud’s back heal to Ramsey to poke in for the winner. Not to mention Ozil's Ya Gunners Ya!
Speaking of Mesut, what about Ozil’s back heal on the 4th May 2015 at KC Stadium or is it KCOM stadium? Who cares. Anyway we produced some of our best football of the season in that game, it was one of the few games in which we produced a fluid attacking performance. I’d be well up for another performance like that again.
The year before that we beat them 3-0 at their gaff, two goals from Lucas Podolski. LP9! Maybe that’s an omen. Stick some money on new boy Lucas grabbing a brace and send me half of your winnings once it comes through, it’s only fair really.
There was also that cup game at their place, a game in which Giroud and Walcott banged in two each I think.
I keep thinking of new games but this will turn into a list of old matches and I think I’ve done enough of that already.
*Cough* The Alexis curler in the cup at home *Cough*
So Granit Xhaka is supposed to be starting today according to ITKFFT (In the know folk from Twitter) which is good news. On that, did you find Arsene Wenger’s comments about Xhaka rather interesting? I sure did.
In short, he is still adjusting, it’s about partnerships so I wonder who suits him the most and also that he sees Xhaka as a box to box player. Now I am no manager and I’m one of those weird people who actually thinks the Arsenal manager has a better grasp of the game than I do, but I really don’t see Xhaka in any other position than deep midfield, sitting distributing and making tackles. So if Xhaka is starting in the midfield, who is the best partner for him given that Arsene apparently wants him to play as a number 8 or maybe that is further down the line in the future.
Perhaps Santi Cazorla is in line for a rest given his age, not that he is a pensioner or anything but Coquelin is certainly a guy with a better engine and the legs to cope with more football. I really would like to see us use Elneny but the poor guy has not had much of a sniff since the second half shambles against Liverpool on the first day of the season.
In attack I’d definitely like to see a trio of Alexis, Iwobi and Perez..
Ok scrap all that, I’m not deleting and re-writing this again as I have a bed to get to but I have just had an interesting chat with @Poznaninmypants from the Arsenal Vision Podcast and we’ve painstakingly gone through all the data and evidence and have decided to select the line up based on the orange bibs (excluding Alexis Sanchez) on the Arsenal.com. Yeah, that's the kind of technical excellence you are getting in your life.
Mean Lean’s Predicted Line Up:
Love the idea of a Xhaka/Elneny partnership even if it perhaps lacks an offensive runner. It has a nice combination of possession, power and legs oh and did I mention possession? The team has a good blend of everything in there. Iwobi's ability to drift inside and add control to the midfield, Ozil's incisive passing and Theo and Alexis interchanging from flank to centre forward. Both able to run in behind from both positions, Alexis dropping deep to pull centre backs for Theo to run into what is hopefully lovely empty green grass. I like, I like.
Now I must stress that this bib theory is not always correct so don't come crying for your money back when Arsene starts Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi.
I say this almost every preview but as important as the points are we really need to have a think about clicking good and proper now. Let’s get back to the Watford performance and build on that. Our two games since then have had some ropey moments, slightly more than moments in Paris. So let's get closer to our full potiential and stop letting strikers have loads of chances against us, that and scoring some goals ourselves. Easy peasy really.
Back post match with post match goodness.