A guest post from @Labo_Goon
Good day Positivistas!
We all know how pundits just love their top 6 mini-league tables,
because for them this is where Premier League titles are won
and where the divide between Champions League qualification and Europa
They have a point you know, but……
The other side of the coin is that many games vs teams in the
“also-run” category aren’t exactly cakewalks. How many times in the
past did teams fall a mere few points shorts from being crown PL Kings
or even making CL qualification because of slip-ups against the also-rans ?
This is what make these games so vital. If you drop too many
unnessacary points here, it’s irrelevent how well you did in the top 6
mini-league come May. Something we as Gooners know all too well.
Against the top 6 teams you know exactly what to expect, they have a
certain style, some cracking players that will punish you if you lose
focus for even a second. But this… this damn also-runs are the
banana skins man. Complacency can set in, Ben Foster can turn up like
a man auditioning for a ‘top 6 call-up’, and one or two of their
attacking players can get bloody slippery as hell. Don’t even dare
give them a set-piece anywhere close to goal, training ground stuff
can suddenly just fall in place.
Don’t forget the refs man. How many times did they become the subject of
discussion – for sucker punching us to create distance between
ourselves and sweetheart clubs at the top of log? A legitimate goal
being disallowed, a few of the most straightforward penalties not given,
a player getting stopped via chokehold being waved on, penalties given
against us from only god knows where? Match officials love stealing
Now today! With the expectation that WBA will play from deep, Arsenal
need to be on their A game and not too adventurous, the opposition
will be very patient as their primary aim will be not to lose. If we
over commit too much, a misplaced pass could lead to… … Let me
just say, whatever scenario, Arsenal twitter refers to it as: “typical
Arsenal”. So that is not needed tonight.
After an initial poor start to our season we seem to have pulled
ourselves up and are WWDW in our last 4 games. Most pleasing for me
about this is that we kept 3 clean sheets, conceding a solitary fluke
goal. So more of that defensive discipline wouldn’t be asking too
On our opponents: Just last Wednesday they pushed a strong Man City
team to their limits. In Evans and McAuley they got one of the better
CB pairings of teams in the mid to bottom half, so chances will be
few, and we need to bury one as soon as it comes. Allowing them to
become too comfortable as the game moves along, could be very
frustrating for us.
Tony Pulis has been a long time admirer of Arsène Wenger and in the
very articulate Kieran Gibbs he found himself a gateway to the Arsenal
way. So no doubt our ex player has become the de facto technical
adviser leading up to the game all week. That should tell us they know
our weaknesses and our strengths, to the man.
If we play with the same discipline and care we did Bournemouth and
Chelsea, there’s no reason why we wouldn’t have joy at the end
On team selection: I think we’ve reached the point where we can refer
to a predicted line-up as “the usual suspects”, with them one can
expect the distinguished Mesut Özil back after missing out last
Sunday, as well as Alexis Sánchez the obvious replacement for Danny
Saed Kolašinac is a player that excites me, very compact and
disciplined, so it will be interesting to see the chemistry building
up between him and Alexis on the left side of the pitch. This is a
fixture for the Chilean to get back to his best, so stay in the
attacking half of the field and trust your team mates, there’s no need
to play fetch. If he can try more of those passes he gave Theo vs the
Donny’s, he’ll become a treat to even those he frustrates so much.
Ramsey and Xhaka were the ones pulling the strings last 2 PL fixtures.
If they win the midfield battle, it will make the job of the rest so
As the boss always say, our most important game is the next one. This
is that game! And my buzz phrase is: play as individuals and we’ll be
left biting our nails, play as a team and we are in for a treat.
We are favourites to win this game but we also shouldn’t take anything
for granted, fans and players alike. Let’s keep the faith and trust
Arsenal to colour Monday RED.
Good luck to all watching the game from wherever and don’t forget
keeping them fingers crossed. Our boys need all the help they can get
and Arsenal supporters… know your role, we got one job!