Well who’d have thought that on his return to Brighton, Graham Potter and his Chelsea team would get spanked 4-1. If that was a shock, how about Leeds beating Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield? Totts went 2-0 down before a second half revival saw them come back to win 3-2. Top four chasers Newcastle Utd, thumped Aston Villa 4-0.
No northern referee at The Emirates Stadium today, nope, it’s Simon Cooper, born and bred in Swindon. He’s a newbie for Arsenal too so it’ll be interesting to see what he’s like. Just fair I hope, and consistent. Andre Marriner and Darren Cann are in charge of VAR.
The game is a big one and Mikel Arteta needs a big performance, the players themselves need a big performance too. We need a good win to put the last two lacklustre performances behind us.
The players have had 60 hours to rest their weary bodies which is more than a tennis player gets after a five set battle in a big tournament. Or a cricketer who has batted for two days before fielding the next. Ok, there’s not the physical side of football for them to contend with but two games a week should be manageable for top athletes in peak physical condition. Am I being harsh? Probably, because footballers don’t get the days off many other sportspeople get.
In two weeks time, players will get a rest, some longer than others as their respective countries get knocked out of the World Cup. I doubt Ghana, Switzerland, England, Japan or Portugal will go to the end and Norway didn’t even qualify, nor did Scotland, Ukraine or Egypt. Forgive me if I’ve missed a country which an Arsenal player will be representing.
The three Premier League fixtures are important ones in my opinion because the only way Arsenal can improve on last season’s domestic campaign is to finish 4th or above. Nottingham Forest, Chelsea and Wolves matter most in my opinion. Starting with Forest today.
Arsenal have been good at home this season, very good. We’ve started fast and the fans have been buzzing. More of that today and I’m convinced we’ll win again as we have every game at The Emirates so far this campaign. Forest won’t make it easy for us, of course they won’t and who can forget what happened last season when the two clubs met, but that was then, this is now and only now matters.
100% commitment for 95 minutes and then the Arsenal players can put their feet up, get back into their cotton wool suits and have a breather. Tongue in cheek of course.
Forest manager Steve Cooper had a busy summer. 22 players signed and 18 out. Incredible really. But with so many changes, it was always likely that his squad would need time to get to know each other, their new managers style of football and the Premier League. After a dismal couple of months, they beat Liverpool last weekend which was a bit of a shock to say the least, especially as it was just their second win of this campaign. No disrespect meant but Liverpool weren’t particularly good.
Lewis O’Brien and Jack Colback are a doubt, but Moussa Niakhate, Omar Richards and Harry Toffolo ruled out.
For Arsenal, I’d imagine Mo Elneny will be on the bench at best, hopefully with a chance of getting a few minutes before Thursday. Oleksandr Zinchenko and ESR are ruled out.
If the last few fixtures are anything to go by, Forest are likely to sit back, defend deep and hit us on the break. Or at least try to. Surely we’ll be wise to that by now..
See you in the comments.