Toon-ight We Need A Win

The Champions League draw has for once been quite favourable for Arsenal. Whilst a few believe that United has the easier draw, I am not sure that there was an easy draw in the round; certainly there could have been much tougher ones. Defensively, they are not particularly strong, clean sheets not a regular feature to their game since the Spanish season restarted after the winter break. In that respect, Arsenal need to make sure that they take advantage of opportunities which arise. It will not be as straightforward though, as some would have you lead you to think. I believe we will triumph over the two legs and face United in the Semi-Finals.

So the business of the Day. Newcastle entertains the resurgent Arsenal, three points vital for both sides with the hosts looking to clear the relegation fight and the visitors looking to heap pressure on Aston Villa ahead of their visit to Anfield tomorrow.

The corresponding fixture last season saw the best and the worst of Arsenal. Adebayor’s goal was sublime but the defending for the equaliser was ridiculous. A repeat of the former would be most welcome, a repeat of the latter an unwelcome intervention.

Newcastle are in a run of poor form but that has never previously stopped Arsenal from underperforming on their travels. However, the current run that the team are in is embedded in them, confidence drawn that even a goal conceded can be overturned and a win extracted from a seemingly wretched situation as Hull found out in the week.

Having rotated for the cup game, Wenger looks to have his strongest available squad for the trip. Almunia is fit following the assault perpetrated by Diouf whilst Clichy should be reinstated ahead of Gibbs. In the centre of the defence, I would expect Toure and Gallas to return as a pair , hopefully with the solidity that they have shown in recent games as well.

The midfield is Wenger’s problem area except this time, he has nice headaches. Aside from Fabregas and Rosicky, everyone else is fit. Song has been showing the sort of form that many doubters believed was not possible from him in midfield. Indeed, I thought some time ago that his future lay in the centre of defence rather than his preferred midfield role. However, for the first time on a consistent basis, he has been performing as he did for his country at the last African Cup of Nations.

Song certainly deserves some recognition for them as he admitted:

My job is to work for the team but people don’t realise this. When I made those two goals against Burnley people noticed me but I always try to do my job and when the opposition don’t score, I think I’ve done well. I know I’m not the guy in the team who has to be offensive – I can do it but it’s not my main role. We have players who can do that and when Denilson or whoever goes forward, I stay back. But that doesn’t mean I don’t go forward when I get the opportunity to. My job in the team is a more defensive one than that of Abou, Denilson and Cesc.

His situation reminds me of Gilberto’s early seasons at the club. He was overshadowed by Vieira for a time but it was not until the Brazilian was missing that you realised how well he gelled the team together. It took him some time to win everyone over but he did just that. Song needs to apply himself in the same way to achieve the same result with supporters.

I suspect that he will get the nod ahead of Diaby to partner Denilson in the centre, Wenger probably preferring to hold steadier with the attacking options available through others. Walcott‘s injury in training changes matters a little. Personally, I would move Arshavin to the right rather than centrally as he might well have done if Theo had been fit. He could put Eboue in but my guess is that Wenger might consider that to be overly-defensive, despite the need to keep things tighter than in a home game.

Up front, that would mean Bendtner continuing to lead the line rather than the more dynamic Arshavin / van Persie pairing that might have been preferential had Walcott played. The directness of Theo will be greatly missed and the Russian on the right would compensate for that. Eduardo has been included in the squad but it would be a surprise if he started. Even so, the prospect of him and Arshavin in the same team is mouth-watering, the Croat will surely benefit from the supply that the Russian provides.

The team I would expect is:

Almunia; Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy; Arshavin, Denilson, Song, Nasri; Bendtner, van Persie

The season is coming into focus swiftly now. Time for the oft-derided ‘boys‘ to don their hoodies, stick their middle fingers up to the media and prove that they are a team that has been under-estimated and over-criticised.

To round off today, something from When Saturday Comes Friday email, WSC Weekly Howl, an item that will bring a smile to all Setanta-haters:

Craig Burley‘s Wikipedia entry includes a forthright analysis of his media career to date.

burley

Finally, a reminder that your daily dose of ACLF can be delivered via email by clicking here and ACLF is on Twitter.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

426 thoughts on “Toon-ight We Need A Win

  1. And that prick Dunn from the sun..alright news of the world, says liverpool will have to beat chelsea then barcelona then man utd to win the cl!!! what a first class c*nt.

  2. “King suffers from a debilitating problem in his right knee that prevents him from doing any training sessions with his Spurs team-mates during the week.

    “The only contact he has with them is on the day before a game when King watches training to learn the moves he will be part of on match day.”

    Am I alone in thinking this might (unfortunately) be the answer to Rosicky’s equally chronic problems? Whenever he trains he seems to have a setback. King doesn’t train, he only plays, and then has a week to recover from it. I wouldn’t like it to be the case, but perhaps Rosicky is going to have to be treated in the same way.

  3. Liverpool looked scarily efficient this afternoon, if not at all stylish, but their bench was constellated with:

    Cavalieri, Dossena, Agger, Hyypia, El Zhar, Lucas, Ngog

    What does that make them – a gold-plated turd?

  4. It’s good that Rosicky’s setbacks are becoming more short-term though. The latest one is just a couple of weeks on the sidelines, which is is a slight improvement on 54 weeks out.

  5. It’s a new injury, isn’t it? More worrying would be a relapse of the same injury that has kept him out for so long. Anyway, we don’t want all our presents at once.

  6. I am still booyed from yesterday’s game and villa and hulls loss 2 day….what week including the spat affair… very exciting couple weeks coming up for us. Hopefully the boys will show their new form cofidence and crush all that stand before them treble here we come…..looooooool

  7. He said that he understands his latest injury, or something like that.

    I’m sick of people saying that we can’t use injuries as an excuse for our delayed title-challenge this season…

    It’s like telling a farmer he can’t blame a drought for his late harvest. Ah, but if that farmer’s an expert, knows the soil and the conditions needed for young plants to flourish he…

    Nuts to this. Anyone got a better analogy?

  8. Excellent analogy, Iofus (ne Big Al); but I think the job of the farmer is easier. Scientists can of course predict the climate years, and even centuries, in advance, whereas it is difficult to predict injuries to football players. The farmer could be expected to plan for the drought that science had foreseen many years before, but for the manager it is not so.

  9. In the future, scientists will probably analyse DNA to calculate the day on which a particular player will suffer a particular injury.

  10. I didn’t see the Liverpool matches I must confess but from the highlights & the Real contingent comments many of their goals seems to be through the long ball route, it should make for a very tough game for us while playing them. We haven’t be particularly good against the long ball merchants hopefully we’ll be well prepared for it this time though.

    Not the best of times to have the international break (it never is a good of times is it) just when we are hitting top-form, hopefully our players will come back in working condition.

  11. Quite right, PZ. Back to the drawing board.

    Also, many of the injuries we suffer are inflicted by malicious opponents, while I suppose nature is more impartial – and doesn’t use headsets.

  12. What’s up with Martin Keown? I know he gets paid to talk rubbish on TV. He said he is confident Liverpool will beat Arsenal at home because Arsenal can’t play under the lights. Can anyone make sense of that drivel.Lee Dixon was sitting next to him he almost punched him.

  13. Let them say what they want, day by day they’re proven wrong and they still can’t get enough of it…For me, the more they say, the more I know we are doing good, and we will be doing better.

    It looks like we are leaving some people in our dust. Come on You gunners…

  14. we did ya a favour by beating the chavs. So go on and win it ! As for us, we’re safe ….won’t be relegated na ah ! Ya hooooooooooooooooooo !!!!!!!

  15. Difficult day yesterday. Had a house full of grandchildren and one of then read the post where FG sugested sacrificing my chickens. She then went and told them. Mayhem.

    Had to sit up all night with them singing nursery rhymes. Think the worst is over now but they are still a bit suspicious of sharp objects.

    Be a bit more careful FG. Squirrels are the answer I think, or rabbits. Lots of them about.

  16. We’ll do you another big favour by beating the manscum…while we’re at it, we’ll beat the Pool. See, i can see us finish maybe 10th, which is fair enuff. Yahooooooooooooooooooooo!!!! Thanks for Palacios by the way …..maybe we’ll sign flamini next season ! Henry? Vieira? Pires? They’re still available ? Cygan?

  17. 1989 all over again? Will Alan Hansen be able to cope with being mugged twice? Will he suffer a cardiac arrest on MOTD ?

    Truthfully, i can see u win it IF u win all of your games. Hate to say it, but yeah there u go.

  18. You are also welcome to all our old stuff when we have finished with it, BentleyThe Useless Tw*t. Just bring your van around the back of the NHOF and we will leave out all the empties.

  19. Bentley- Its about time you changed your name Bentley is finished he is a goner. I don’t think we need your favour we neve did and we never will. But I agree you will stay up and we will have the pleasure of beating you again and make you feel small.

  20. …well I would be very pleased if the Spuds beat the Mancs and Scousers…very pleased indeed..

    ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL

  21. I see man poo dropping more points. Liverpool could so easily lose 3 games (incl. one against us). Chelsea will drop points (most definitely in the game against us in Emirates).

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