Category Archives: Match Previews
As Arsenal prepare for a crucial Champions League encounter in Italy, Wenger needs to throw away the blueprint for Arsenal games and get Arsenal to play ugly.
Arsenal’s cavalier style of football will not work in Italy, Udinese are team that will play on the counter-attack and from the first leg experience, and they have the ability to tear us apart. Wenger needs to set up a team that will be defensively minded, but unlike the capitulation against Barcelona, they need to have the ability to counter attack at pace.
Wenger needs to play Vermaelen at centre-back, any attempt at moving him out to the left-back slot will expose our weak middle. Both full-backs have to resist going forward, our priority is not to concede a goal.
It was no coincidence that against Udinese Arsenal looked more solid at the back and created more chances once Wenger introduced Frimpong. The Frimpong-Song axis is what is required from the outset. Young Frimpong has hopefully learnt from his rash challenges against Liverpool and could provide the steel and stability that is required. Both Frimpong and Song should sit back and protect the back four, which needs to be their prime duty. This is a departure for Arsene who always gives his plays licence to roam forward, even his so called defensive midfielders.
The third member of the midfield should be Ramsey. He has the engine to play box to box football and is creative. His last two games he has been anonymous, but today he needs to step up to the plate and be counted. Rosicky has been played in this role, but Tomas is one dimensional, has no peripheral vision and does not track back.
Going forward we have few options, van Persie, Walcott and Gervinho. That is it for today. Wenger will only play Bendtner or Arshavin as a last resort; he wants neither player to be cup-tied as I expect both to leave before the end of the transfer window.
The bench will consist of Bendtner and Arshavin, whom I have stated Wenger will be reluctant to play, out of form Chamakh. This player is an enigma, he started off well last season, then as van Persie came back from injury, Wenger intimated that Chamakh is burnt out, and Chamakh took that literally and has stopped playing. The other substitutes will consist of Oxlade-Chamberlain, whom Wenger, due to circumstances, has not been able to play and Rosicky, who in all honesty cannot be relied upon to play a whole game.
This is a game we cannot afford to lose, I know we can through on away goals if we lose by one goal, but who is prepared or even wants to take that chance. Arsenal need to change tactics, play more defensive and take any chances that fall to us. This game will define our season, it will determine what players Arsene will sign and will either destroy the morale of the players or give them the boost they need before the Manchester United game.
Arsene Wenger has announced the Samir Nasri is in the squad for tomorrow’s game against Liverpool. This will be a very interesting game for Nasri, he will play in the playmaker position that he has wanted to play in for some time, yet the fans will not forgive him nor will they greet him with the adulation that they showed last season.
I expect Nasri to play in a professional manner, but the fans will turn on him whenever a pass is misplaced, a shot missed and there will be many a cry of Judas directed at Nasri.
Nasri may think this to be unfair, but the fans also believe that Samir has not been fair to Arsenal, a club that took from French football and projected him onto the big scene.
Worryingly for Arsenal is Gibbs injury, Traore is also out injured, which means that Wenger either plays Jenkinson at left back of Vermaelen. If the latter then we have Squillaci at the back alongside Koscielny and that partnership will have Arsenal fans quaking in their boots.
Rosicky is out, being rested which will be a regular occurance as Tomas is unable to either last a full 90 minutes nor play twice in a week.
Ryo Miyachi is in the squad for tomorrow as is Oxlade-Chamberlain, but there is no news on Henri ~Lansbury.
The good news is that Robin van Persie will be back.
The first game is way to Newcastle followed by a home game with Liverpool sandwiched in between our Champions League qualifier, then just to round off August we travel to Old Trafford.
The away game to Newcaslte gives the opportunity to bury that nightmare game of last season when we let a 4 goal lead slip and the game that probably saw us start to slip away in the title race.
Liverpool and Kenny Dalglish’s team are next; we saw how devoid they were of attacking ideas when we managed to throw away a lead in the 105th minute of the game. Arsenal will be in between two crucial Champions League games which will add extra pressure on us, but hopefully Wenger has recruited sufficient quality by then that will help us through this game.
We then travel to Old Trafford. The last few seasons we have gone to Old Trafford with hope, only to be disappointed through a lack of performance. Last season we were beaten when the ball struck Park’s face, before that we went to Old Trafford buzzing and Arshavin gave us the lead and we were all looking forward to 3 points. The second half saw Almunia go kamikaze and give a penalty away, and then Diaby managed to head the ball into his own net.
It is a tough start, but there is no reason why we can’t win two and draw the other. Arsenal traditionally plays well early season and a good start would set us up nicely for September and October and hopefully an onward march to the title, the dream lives on.
Arsenal face Liverpool tonight in the Carling Cup, a competition that Wenger has religiously used to give reserves, youth players and first team squad players a run-out. We have had some success over the years, reaching one final and three semi-finals, so the policy has its merits. I would like Wenger to take the competition a little more seriously and start to use more experienced players the closer got to the final.
With players coming back from injury, tonight will see a stronger starting line up than in the previous round. Fabianski will start in goals whilst all Arsenal fans will be pleased to see Nasri make his first appearance of the season. Swiss international Senderos continues his rehabilitation at the centre of defence and Gibbs will give the left side of the defence some strength and power, whilst Kerrea Gilbert Arsenal’s forgotten right-back is given another chance to show Wenger that his “problems” are past him.
In midfield we will see Ramsey pushing claim for a start, whilst the much talked about Fran Merida has another chance to show the fans and the world that he truly is a genius just waiting to be given his chance. Absent from the game will be Jack Wilshere which is a shame as he is a favourite with the crowd.
Up front Wenger will player Bendtner, hopefully as the main striker and Eduardo out on the left drifting inwards. A notable absentee is Carlos Vela, an enigma if there ever was one, what do we do with him?
Tonight wil lbe an interesting challenge for the team to see how they cope with a fairly experienced Liverpool side.