Middlesbrough’s late equaliser at Manchester City yesterday afternoon gives the first NLD of the 2016/17 season a touch of extra spice, not that it needs any extra flavouring you understand, but an Arsenal victory at our home stadium would see us on our own at the top of the Premier League table. Now if the unthinkable happens and the poorer half of North London manage a win then they will be level of points with us. It is crazy tight at the top of the league right now, only 5 points separating Chelsea in first to unbeaten Tottenham in 5th.
Speaking of which and going back to additional spices, we really need to end this unbeaten run of theirs. They have 5 wins and 5 draws from their first 10 games and I’ve seen and heard plenty of their supporters feel rather smug about this even, if they are still sitting below us in the table. You know what they’re like, they will find anything in order to get one over us, even if it does appear rather backwards, perfect example being their record ‘home’ attendance in the Champions League…… at Wembley!
Anyway we have some players to add back to the squad after injury and knocks which is great. I think Arsene has been juggling his squad rather nicely in this regard. Holding players back until the right moment and I think he has done that this time with the likes of Theo Walcott, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal. He had done the same with Aaron Ramsey and Oliver Giroud before them, keeping them away for a little longer than perhaps they would have wanted but making sure they could (hopefully) make a lasting impact rather than break down trying to rush them back in.
Unfortunately the classy Santi Cazorla hasn’t been able to join the squad and that is a worry. It could well be that he has had a bit of a set back to his achilles injury but I suppose injuries like this is the reason why we have depth in that position. It may not give you another Santi but we have a few good options to choose from.
Ramsey will not be ready yet, at least according to Arsene and as discussed in length on the latest Arsenal Vision post match podcast, Granit Xhaka’s defensive qualities is a big concern. It looks like we may have to go again with the Coqneny partnership in the middle of the pitch.
I fully expect Arsene to revert back to the front line that has served as so well early on this season. We have played two games a week of late so we have needed to rotate with the likes of Gibbs, Giroud, Ox etc but now is a good time to reintroduce our first choice team once more and give their all over these next three games, all very very tough fixtures starting today.
Mean Lean’s Predicted Line Up:
Wouldn’t it be nice if we picked up three wins from three? I know I’m jumping the gun here and we don’t need to look beyond Tottenham but my word, beating Tottenham, Manchester United and then PSG to top the CL group would set this squad up nicely going forward. We will need to see full commitment, quality and concentration and that should start today.
Let’s kick a Tottenham side while they’re down, they have not been at their best in recent weeks and are still missing some big players for them but as we all know, derby games like this means that form is less important.
It's been too long since we last beat them in the league, that was back in 2014 when Rosicky blasted in after a minute of something so we really need to put that right.
I suggest now is the time.