Dropped points last weekend, a few injuries and suspensions building up, travelling away to a team who have been desperate for points just before we face some really tough November matches? I hope you allow me the slack to shift a little uncomfortably in my seat this morning.
Looking at Sunderland’s results this season and it’s pretty safe to say that we should be beating them home or away quite comfortably but I’m not being fooled here again.
Remember when Southampton had started the season poorly and were struggling to adjust to a new manager, new system etc. Well they found their groove against us alright and we did very well to snatch a late winner from the spot even though we were second best for certain spells in that game.
Middlesbrough last weekend is another example of opposition that everyone, including yours truly, expected to beat and beat well, especially after a rather exciting 6-0 midweek Champions League victory and look at how that turned out. It was a game we could have lost on another day.
So excuse me for not falling into that trap today.
I bet sprinting tests have been ongoing this week for the entire Sunderland squad, including youth players, coaches and catering staff. As the manager will look to emulate what Boro and Traore did to us down our left. They will sit everyone behind the ball and look to break when they can.
An Arsenal side full of freshness, confidence and full fitness can overcome that from the likes of Sunderland with a few quick passing combinations and movement from our front players which is why we beat these type of teams more often than not but when our football drops a little, it proves to be a little more difficult. I have a slight fear that without Santi and Xhaka on top of a few tired legs, we may struggle to find the heights of Chelsea and Basel but needless to say, I hope I am oh so completely wrong on that.
Arsene didn’t completely rule out Santi Cazorla which could be a good thing, unless he is just simply keeping Moyes guessing. Monreal and Walcott needed to have late fitness tests so we will see what happens there.
I wouldn’t mind Kieran Gibbs getting a run in the team once more but we need Theo and his goals, even if Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is scoring more goals than ever before. Alex just doesn’t make the runs that Theo does which is so important to how we play.
Lucas Perez is out for 6-8 weeks which is terrible news for him and for us. It is around this time where the games come thick and fast and rotation starts becoming a must for the manager rather than the early weeks when players are mostly fresh.
At least we have Oliver Giroud and Aaron Ramsey back on the bench, that is pretty huge news to be honest.
Mean Lean’s Predicted Line Up:
I think we are going to need a big performance from Mohamed Elneny today. If he is the player to replace Santi then he will need to get closer to his levels of last season, I don’t think we’ve seen that so far from him this season, partly because he hasn’t had many opportunities. Needless to say, it would be nice if Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were at their best to make the difference in the final third, an early bit of quality that leads to an early goal could make all the difference in a game like this.
So what are the rest of the fixtures like today?
West Brom vs Manchester City
Totteham vs Leicester City
Manchester United vs Burnley
Crystal Palace vs Liverpool
Southampton vs Chelsea
Quite tough to call those lot I reckon. Southampton are so beating Chelsea though. Unfortunately Jose Mourinho will probably win his second game in a row which is never pleasant but we can all but hope. Hopefully most of those will go our way but that will mean very little this week if we don’t take of business ourselves so..
Let’s take care of business.
Come on you Gunners!