I’ll start with the transfer gossip and The Mirror report that as well as Morata, we are hoping to sign Casemiro, a Brazillian box-to-box midfielder. I’ll admit to knowing nothing about him but he’s being described as being the player who could take over from Mikel Arteta.
This is Jack Lang of The Mirrors view of him:
He has played a little deeper for Real, picking the ball up from the defence and starting attacks. While perhaps not a natural defender, he could perform a role similar to that of Arteta at Arsenal, anticipating danger rather than clattering into opposition players on a regular basis.
That made me chuckle…….
Seems like only hours ago that we were celebrating our penalty shoot-out victory in the FA Cup semi-final, maybe that’s because it was. Why this fixture has been scheduled for tonight goodness only knows, surely tomorrow would have been much more sensible.
Still, it is what it is and there’s nothing like playing again after what should be, a morale boosting victory…
We needed it too…..
Just like we need the return of a few players…
Team news from the manager:
We have plenty of uncertainties for muscular problems and fatigue. Who could be available who was not in the squad on Saturday? Maybe Rosicky and Koscielny – we’ll have to test him definitely today. There are plenty of uncertainties so I have to make up my mind late on.
The main uncertainties are Monreal who had to come off with a dead leg. Podolski had a little [muscle] problem but I think he will be alright. Then there is Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ramsey (both muscle tightness). They are the main problems.
Koscielny will be tested today (yesterday) and I have to decide after training if I take the risk or not to start him tomorrow (today).
Well I hope Laurent Koscielny passes his fitness test with flying colours because we need to get our defensive stability back again.
Same goes for Aaron Ramsey but considering he is only just back from a long-term injury and after playing for such a long period of time on Saturday, maybe it would be wise to rest him for this one and let Kim Kallstrom make his full debut, after all, that’s what we signed him for. If Serge Gnabry is fit, then play him too and let Oxlade-Chamberlain have a breather as he too struggled towards the end of Saturday’s game.
We have a squad and we seriously need to use it tonight. Zelalem, Akpom and Eisfeld are all options too although it does seem that Arsene Wenger is reluctant to call upon any of them right now…..
Nicklas Bendtner and Abou Diaby were both training yesterday, who knows, we could see either, we might even see both!!
- Arsenal have won six successive league matches against West Ham and are unbeaten in the last 12 meetings in all competitions since a 1-0 home defeat in April 2007.
- West Ham’s only goal in their last five visits to the Emirates Stadium was scored by Jack Collison in a 5-1 defeat last season.
- The Gunners have only taken two points from their last four matches. They have not gone five league games without a win since registering five successive draws in January and February 2009.
- Arsene Wenger’s side have gone 15 home games unbeaten in the league since the opening-day defeat by Aston Villa.
- They have earned more points than any other side this season after opening the scoring: 55 from 20 games.
Big Sam will no doubt head to The Emirates rubbing his hands together with joy, he’ll know there is no better time to be playing us. Not only because of recent form but playing 120 minutes of football just a couple of days ago will have taken a lot out of our players. Well some!
We have just six games left of this seasons campaign, six matches in which certain players need to step up and start playing the way we all know they can, the way they did before Christmas, the kind of dogged football which saw us rise to the top of the league and not the kind which saw us fall away so rapidly.
Arsene Wenger on the future:
We do make plans for next season, we are really focused and working very hard. Every day we spend time on that.
It’s vital to me to make the top four. I want this club to play in the Champions League.
What will be an advantage is our desire to play in this competition because we love the Champions League and just to imagine how much we love it will help us to achieve it. I would like them rather to concentrate on the pleasure to be in it rather than the pain of not being in it.
It is vital for the young players as well. You learn more by playing against Bayern or Barcelona or Real Madrid than if you play in the Europa League, that is for sure.
You don’t go backwards, but you want to play with the top teams.
On the other hand for many years I had to convince you it was important we were in the top four.
Now it is in a reverse position, you say to me, ‘you realise how important it is for us’.
A sure sign he’s staying?
Arsene Wenger wants that top four place and there’s no doubting that will have been drummed into the players minds.
Enough to see a better performance and a much needed league victory?
I think so…..
COYRRG’s, go blow away the bubbles and give us something to be cheerful about……..