Start with today’s gossip:
Arsenal are ‘exploring an audacious swoop for Barcelona striker David Villa’ according to The Daily Mail. The cunning plan is a loan until the end of the season and if all goes well, we’re going to try for a permanent deal. Apparently Villa is getting fed up with warming the bench at his ripe old age.
Would that be the kind of signing you’d love to see?
It sure would me, add him to Henry, who is sure to join us again and we should score a few goals..
The same paper suggests that the manager is not happy with the level of competition for Wojciech Szczesny and link us to another goalkeeper, this morning it’s the Sunderland custodian, Simon Mignolet!
Most newspapers suggest that the race for Wilfried Zaha is a two-horse one between Wenger and Fergie next month – yawn!
Onto some real news:
Arsenal Ladies manager Laura Harvey has confirmed she will be leaving the club in January to take up a new role with American side Seattle Reign FC, in the newly formed National Women’s Soccer League.
Laura first joined the Arsenal Ladies set-up in summer 2008 as first-team coach, and was appointed manager midway through the 2009/10 campaign. Under Harvey, the Ladies have won three consecutive league titles, two Continental Cups and one FA Women’s Cup,.
They have also made it to the last four of the UEFA Women’s Champions League on two occasions.
Not a bad record in short period of time. I guess America is too big an opportunity to turn down.
If only the men could achieve what the Ladies have….
Talking of which, another tough test up the Northern part of the country today as we face Wigan Athletic.
Here are a few statistics courtesy of the BBC:
- Wigan have won just one home Premier League game against Arsenal (W1, D2, L4) – a 3-2 victory in April 2010.
- The away side won both fixtures last season – Arsenal 4-0 at the DW Stadium and Wigan 2-1 at the Emirates.
- The Latics have won just one of their last seven Premier League games (W1, D1, L5).
- Roberto Martinez’s men have kept just two clean sheets in the league this season.
- Wigan have lost 10 out of their 17 Premier League matches this season. They have only lost more matches at this stage in a top-flight season in 2007-08, when they had lost 11. They finished that season in 14th place.
- Ali Al Habsi is on the brink of his 100th Wigan appearance, and his 100th Premier League appearance.
- Victory against Reading gave Arsenal back-to-back league wins for only the second time this season – they have not won three consecutive Premier League games since a seven-match winning streak in February-March.
- The Gunners have won just one of their last five Premier League away games (W1, D2, L2).
- Only Manchester City (6) have conceded fewer goals away from home in the Premier League than Arsenal (8) this season.
- Theo Walcott has scored 11 goals in all competitions for the club this season, leaving him just two short of equalling his most prolific season, when he netted 13 in 2010-11.
Wigan: Caldwell (doubt – hamstring), Alcaraz (doubt – groin), Ramis (hamstring), Lopez (hamstring), McCarthy (ankle), Crusat (knee), Ryo (ankle, ineligible anyway) Watson (broken leg).
Arsenal: We don’t have any players keen to join Diaby, Fabianski or Santos.
Wigan are in a horrid position, they sit 3rd from bottom in the league and they have suffered five defeats in the last seven league matches and they will be desperate to put a halt to that, especially in front of their home fans. They have been conceding goals at an average or two or more in each of their last seven fixtures!!
Last season we won this fixture with ease, with Arteta, Vermaelen, Gervinho and Van Persie sealing a 4-0 victory and today we need to to do something similar.
We all know that Roberto Martinez likes to play the game in a similar style to what we used to play, so no doubt that will make for an open, attacking game, one in which we should create enough chances to win.
Will Giroud come back into the side with Walcott on the right, or will Wenger stick to playing the side which put five past Reading on Monday night?
I don’t know but I hope it’s the latter as we looked so much better with pace and width in the side and why change a winning team?
With the Boxing Day fixture postponed, these players won’t play again until next Saturday, so plenty of time to rest their little legs!
Wigan will want to win this game. They will be up for this from start to finish and we need to match them.
We need commitment from each and every player, a good strong performance as a team and above all, we need three points!
All our fans who are travelling to the DW Stadium in this awful weather deserve that don’t they?
That’s about it for another day…
Let’s hope it’s a good one…..