Crisis!! We drew 0-0 again! OMG! WENGER OUT! No. Don’t panic. Yes, the climax of the transfer window was…well…an anti-climax BUT there is plenty to be excited about. I do wonder how much of this over-reaction would have been eradicated if the signings we made, earlier in the window, were made on Friday night. It’s almost as if Gooners are feeling like a poor kid at Christmas, seeing kids open their presents on the big day. Moral of the story? Don’t open your presents early? Maybe not, but you know where I’m coming from. People forget so quickly. We have talent in this squad and I, for one, keep the faith! Someone has to, right?
As mentioned, last week’s result at the Britannina may not have been what we craved but a hard-earned point, away to Stoke, is never to be scoffed at. Let’s hope we find the net at Anfield!
Liverpool – Arsenal
My Prediction 1-1
Gameweek 3 and the Gunners are off to a place that is bathed in footballing history (that’s what the Liverpool fans keep telling us) and are up against a team who were able to take a point away from the Champions, last weekend.
As ever, I will be taking into consideration the fitness of players, taken from both www.physioroom.com and Arsene’s press conference. So, yeah, here we go…
Arsenal Starting XI and Formation
Between the sticks, it still seems that Wojciech Szczesny is still trying to shake off a rib injury and he will face a late fitness test before the game. If he isn’t fit, I expect Mannone to be back in goal. I think he performed really well against Stoke, with what he was faced with. Held the ball well and good distribution, I am a lot less nervous than I was about the prospect of Vito before the Stoke game. We’ll be alright!
Defensively, with Koscielny coming back from injury, Arsenal fans are split. Big Per Mertesacker has started the season very well and has seemed to have built a partnership with Tommy V. This being said, Tommy V and Kosh were brilliant last season and they would have both been everyone’s choice as our CB partnership at the start of the season. My idea, to accommodate both players, would be to play Kosh at RB and drop Jenko to the bench. Although he has been solid, he still seems to have a mistake in him and I feel that Kosh has a yard of pace on him too, which could be valuable against Suarez or Sterling. Obviously, we will stick with Gibbs at LB.
I think that Wenger will look to stick with the same system, in the midfield. I do think there will be a change of personnel or, at least, there should be. Arteta, again, was simply faultless against Stoke last week. His distribution coupled with a bite in the tackle is making Mikel a brilliant anchor man to have. I do, still, have concerns about Diaby in the midfield and wouldn’t be surprised if he was left out on Sunday for Ramsey or Coquelin. In last week’s report, I voiced my concern on Diaby’s inability to release the ball quick enough, this was evident against Stoke. Although he does have his weaknesses, he is a tremendous athlete and will do a job in the centre of midfield, if chosen, on Sunday.
There isn’t much more to be said about Santi Cazorla. He’s been here for 2 competitive games and he is, already, our best player. A fabulous find from Wenger at such a bargain price. Creativity, vision and movement, Santi has all the qualities needed to demand a starting place in the Arsenal set up. Sure to be involved if we are to go and snatch 3 points at Anfield.
Out wide is where I hope to see another change. Gervinho, a man who divides opinion, is someone I think could be left out Sunday. Although he has all the qualities to be a top-class player, he, often, lacks the composure and vision at the final moment. There were a number of times last week where he persisted on taking on his man, instead of making a simple pass inside. The key to Arsenal’s success will be to keep the ball moving quickly, in order to break down stubborn defences. I’d like to see Walcott or the Ox come in from the start today and see how they do. Over on the other side, I look forward to seeing Podolski’s progression as an Arsenal player. Strong and powerful, he has the directness that we have been craving, at Arsenal, for a while. I think Poldi may be the guy that gets our first goal of the season, hopefully it’s Sunday!
Although he’s yet to score, Giroud looked very positive on Sunday. He continues to show brilliant movement and it won’t be long until he is scoring his first goal in Arsenal colours (no, I won’t be saying this each week *touch wood*). There isn’t a lack of want to score, that’s for sure, after seeing his audacious effort last week. Yes, he should have squared it to Ramsey, who was clean through, but that want to score shows a striker’s instinct that we need.
Possible Liverpool Starting XI and Formation
Liverpool will be at full strength, barring the absence of Lucas, who has been ruled out for a few months with a thigh injury. Although Lucas will be a massive loss, Liverpool fans will be buoyed by the arrival of Nuri Sahin. The Turkish midfielder was close to signing for Arsenal, on a season long loan from Real Madrid, but Arsenal decided to pull out of the deal. He’s a real class act and will look to be battling the Arsenal midfield along with pass-master Joe Allen and, the general, Steven Gerrard. Suarez will always be dangerous going forward and the rise to fame of pacey winger Raheem Sterling is one in which has taken many fans aback. Lightning speed and great ability in front of goal, Sterling has forced himself into Rodgers’ starting eleven. We will be sure to see a glimpse of Liverpool’s new signing Oussama Assaidi, whether it be in place of Borini from the start or from the bench. The exciting Moroccan is one that many will be keeping a keen eye on.
There is some top quality in this side and, on their day, they can match any team in the league (proven last weekend). The problem with this current Liverpool side is its consistency. Starting the season beaten, convincingly, by West Bromich Albion and then taking a point from the Champions, what Liverpool will turn up to face Arsenal on Sunday?
I think it will be a tight affair and one in which both sides will settle for a point. Hoping that I’m proved wrong (once again) and we are able to snatch all three.
I have got myself a week off, with the international break next week, but I will be back in a fortnight to evaluate Arsenal’s chances against newly promoted Southampton. Back to the Emirates for, what I expect to be, a frosty reception from some fans. Needs to be a good performance this week!
Finally, up the Arsenal and let’s get behind the team on Sunday! COME ON YOU GUNNERS!