Arsenal Need To Avoid Coming Unstuck Against The Toffees

Arsenal travel to Everton on the back of Wednesday’s win knowing that victory must be repeated with Chelsea’s contest with Sunderland, surely adding three more points to their total. The squad has frequently talked of winning to ensure they can capitalise on any slips by rivals. Manchester United almost handed them that yesterday, recovering to take a point at Villa Park but still enabling Arsenal to leapfrog them into second with victory at Goodison Park.

Ahead of this fixture, Arsene has no new injury worries but will still tinker with the winning side. Not that he has much room for manoeuvre in defence with Laurent Koscielny serving the final match of his ban. It means the continuance of the Djourou / Squillaci partnership in the centre and whilst Keiran Gibbs has recovered and is included in the squad which travels, he surely will not be in the starting line-up for this fixture.

Any changes today are most likely in midfield. Tomas Rosicky rarely plays two games in a row these days but having been influential on Wednesday has put forward a good case for that to change. On this occasion though, I believe Nasri will be restored to the starting XI. His inclusion may well come at the expense of Jack Wilshere as Wenger seeks to rotate and also protect the precocity which has seen calls for him to be given a free role in next week’s friendly for England against France. Expectations at club level but when the weight of a nation devoid of consistently skilful midfielders for several decades, begins to be heaped on his shoulders, it’s time to think about pulling him out of the spotlight for a game.

Not that such things will overly influence Wenger. He will be more concerned with form and Wilshere dropped below the standards that he has set for himself on Wednesday night. Wenger may believe that a rest is due on that basis, and that basis alone.

Others though are more concerned with the form of the captain. The petulance displayed against Newcastle and manifested in a poor challenge at Wolves, signals that the player is frustrated by his own performance, hampered by an injury which had not entirely cleared up, restricting his mobility.

This was the focus of Arsene’s comments,

Stamina-wise, Cesc is there now. He has lost his restriction in his head and the fear of injury in his hamstring. He still lacks a little bit of zip in the decision-making and his acceleration in the final third. He is at 95 per cent.

But from game to game you will see the real Cesc. Maybe in the next game on Sunday…I felt we saw a different Cesc at Wolves – focused, motivated, wanted to give everything, no restriction. He was already a completely different player. That means in the next game he should be alright.

Wenger praised Fabregas for his professionalism, acknowledging that the Spaniard was frustrated in the failure of Barcelona to secure his signature. Fabregas reciprocated, noting Wenger is as motivated as he ever has been, an Arsenal love-in.

Today’s hosts are in better form than they had been earlier in the season, unbeaten since Newcastle won by a single goal at Goodison Park in September. Even so, they have drawn half of their games beating Liverpool and Stoke at home whilst recovering a two-goal deficit against Manchester United to salvage a point.

Arsenal has the style of play to breakdown the obdurate Everton defence. United and Blackpool are the only sides to score more than once against them, both matches resulting in a draw, a key reason for Chamakh and Arshavin to play. The former has broken his duck away from home and will draw confidence from that and his manager’s praise. The latter had a good game on Wednesday, providing a spark to the attack. With Walcott on the right, there is enough supply for Chamakh to feed from.

I would expect a starting line-up of:

Fabianksi; Sagna, Djourou, Squillaci, Clichy; Fabregas, Song, Nasri; Arshavin, Chamakh, Walcott

There is nothing to suggest that this will not be a tough encounter; recent seasons have meant Goodison Park has been a happy hunting ground with two wins and a draw in the last three seasons. A win today is required to keep the gap to Chelsea to a maximum of five points. Anything less is a bonus but winning needs to happen to ensure the rewards are reaped.

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

230 thoughts on “Arsenal Need To Avoid Coming Unstuck Against The Toffees

  1. The chelsea crowd didn’t like taking Malouda off for Kalou. Zhirkov wasn’t terrific but neither of the young players they brought on were improvements.

    I haven’t watched enough of Ancelotti’s games to comment, G69, but in many games with Chelsea, they haven’t had to make many changes or in the past have had better players to use as subs, like Ballack and so on.

  2. what a bloody game!! proud of each and every player out there!! that was a tough game and we made it look easy!! now as wenger rightly said , we have to do something about teams coming to emirates and parking the bus!! thats the only problem we have now!! atleast spuds wont do that and get whacked for sure!!

  3. It’s been such a great weekend for me! I think i’m gonna ask my girlfriend to marry me!
    One word for all the ‘pundits’ and ‘commentators’: ARSENAL!

  4. Limestone, at Milan Ancelotti was a very stubborn manager and often wrecked his teams chances of winning by making poor substitutions. His stubbornness is exemplified by how he couldn’t get Pirlo, Seedorf and Ronaldinho to work because of his love for Ambrosini and the christmas tree formation. You watch, he’ll get Chelsea in a rut and he’ll keep making the same selction mistakes. And what was the whole situation with Ray Wilkins all about?

  5. Interesting observations on Ancelotti, G69. I hope you are right that he does get them out of form. He isn’t the best manager by record in domestic league competition, so there might be something to the issue, whereas he has a great record in the CL.

    I am bemused by the Ray Wilkins controversy too. Why really was he fired, why was he fired in half-time during a reserve game, and why should it matter so much–what’s the story? Is he responsible for much at Chelsea tactically or as the go between for Ancelotti with the players ? Would it be such a huge story outside of Arsenal circles if Pat Rice was let go from Arsenal? I don’t really know why this is being made so much of.

  6. Oh dear it didnt take long for sky sports to justify Chelseas defeatt to injurys to key players and lack of squad depth.Mmmm. Now why does that sound hypocitical…Arsenal who suffer the perennial curse of th injury are always described as being bullied of the week, too weak and spineless….Christ the commentators devoted more time to criticising why Arsenal players were wearing gloves and neck warmers as a measure of how hard the are. Rubbish. pathetic overpaid, overhyped…minus drogba and Cech might as well be bolton Thank you Sunderland for pissing on Chelseas parade.

  7. 4life, that is why we really need to win some silverware this season. CC and then the league, so that we can enjoy the sweet feeling of victory over the idiotic and superficial football culture of our day.

  8. Limestone, I watched a lot of Milan under Ancelotti and let’s just say I was rather chuffed that he came to Chelsea.

    Wilkins is like the Sammy Lee of Chelsea. He’s been there throughout the Abrahamovic era no matter what manager came through.

  9. Alan Hansen do your worst!

    Even at the peak of your evil powers you cannot ruin match of the day for me tonight!

  10. Mean Lean | November 14, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
    Yow ML. I’ve got to Big-you-up. Predicted a 2-1 victory to the Gunners in your blog earlier. (But you weren’t willing to bet – why did you wimp out?)
    Good man ML.

  11. Haha Shotta, I have made a terrible habit of predicting incorrect scores for far too long these days. I said that Song and Cesc would score our goals, I meant to say Sagna but the hair confused me.

    I am seriously buzzing about this performance, this and the Wolves displays. We look tough, controlled, technically superior to everyone else.

    As soon as I saw Chelsea’s midfield three, I knew they would struggle. Has anyone heard the phone in’s and post match sky crap? Ooh poor Chelsea are having injuries to deal with. Bless their little cotton socks.

    We have been dealing with mass injuries since before I can remember and nothing is said about it. If this is the start of injury problems for Chelsea then they can kiss the title goodbye.

    Like I have said, only Arsenal can beat Arsenal. Keep up this form and Chelsea and the Manc duo will have to do some serious improving to keep up with us.

    I have to doff my cap in the direction of Djourou and Fabianski who are taking steps forward in their development. Djourou looked shaky against Man City due to his long term absence last season, it would have been easy to come back after being pushed back to the bench and show nerves. Instead he has looked calm and confident, dealt with everything thrown at him in the air and on the deck. We are almost in the position where we could randomly pick two names out of a four man hat and pair any of our defenders together such is the quality.

    Fab is just Fab. He is almost becoming my favourite player due to all the stick he has received. He has made telling saves once again today. Whilst many were hanging him out to dry after the Newcastle error, you cannot count the amount of fantastic saves he has made since pulling on the number one gloves. I would gladly take his error to saves rate this season. I think any team would and that includes our rivals.

    All that is left is for us to stuff the inferiors next weekend, by that point Bendtner, Walcott and RVP may well be reaching peak fitness.

    November issue? what November issue? Onwards and upwards.

  12. Brilliant weekend all around!

    Great game today. We really put in a shift today. Chamakh ran his socks off and Fab was everywhere. Denilson deserves real propers for his effort. He’s excellent and his attitude even better.

    How about those black cats?

    I watched that game and they dominated Chelsea. The chavs looked like scoring only twice the whole match. Sunderland looked like the home side they were so comfortable. Anelka was frozen out entirely and Gyan’s movement was causing all manner of difficulties. Steve Bruce…Good for you. Well done.

    Two points off and moving…come on you gunners!!!!!

  13. Not long got in from a marathon voyage and Totally Ecstatic by the win today…We just got to do our thing and as Mean Lean said it Only Arsenal who can beat Arsenal…Grit,Determination,Stealth,Passion and a consistent goals will win it…Ninja We Ninja…..

  14. Just heard Cesc is one yellow away from a automatic suspension. Makes the yellow he got yesterday even more of a liberty!

    Bloody trainwreck Webb!!

    Anyway we can ensure it comes on a CC game?

  15. I’m really pleased that the Denilson haters can shut up now. Denilson’s introduction at Wilshere’s expense immediately payed dividends, brought balance to our midfield, and allowed us to keep possession longer.

    I hope that people realize not every player on a squad is a match-winner or big name. There are players who are needed to perform the less glamorous tasks, and Denilson does his well: win the ball back, make the simple pass and keep possession, and always be around the ball as an outlet.

    It’s a lot harder than it sounds, and if the people scorning Denilson could do it half as well as he could, they’d be professionals themselves.

  16. Mean Lean | November 14, 2010 at 8:45 pm |

    Agree 100%. Also, Fabianski has become my favorite player because of the same reason. He has received more stick than anyone I can remember. But now He is showing his talent and hope he goes a long way into becoming an Arsenal legend and we talk of him like we did of Seamen and Mad Jens.

  17. G4L and ML said it yesterday – thankfully we’ll never know what it’s like to lose 3 first team players to injury.

  18. What a beautiful morning. I could kiss Steve Bruce on the face. And it’s not every day you can say that.

    Arsenal, ARSENAL! We’re the famous Arsenal FC and we’re gonna win the league! Arsenal! ARSENAL!

  19. “Losers

    Chris Foy
    It’s a horrible question to have to ask but does he have the necessary bottle for the job?

    Foy is the referee who had the whistle to his lips when Stoke had the ball over the line against Tottenham, came clean in the week to admit that Tom Huddlestone’s unpunished stamp at Bolton had been seen, and was guilty of an indefensible, scandalous outrage on Sunday when he shied out of dismissing Branislav Ivanovic.

    Three strikes and you’re out? It’s a horrible thing to say but, for the good of the game and the refereeing profession, Foy has to be struck off.”
    http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,8742_6509245,00.html

    Posted for truth! Make an example out of him, show that referees must be at the top of their game and make fair and true decisions free from bias or fear every time.

    Speaking of which, I am still so very impressed by the weekend, especially Cashley. He may be the better crosser, but in terms of defensive output, Clichy take a bow. He was immense on Sunday, and how I’d hoped he’d follow suit and do a Sagna! He’ll get a goal this season though, the narrative is flowing in that direction!

  20. Mrs. Doubtfire! Yes, dups! Uncanny… He’d still get one on the kisser if he bumped into me today though. He could run all he liked, I’d catch him. Wonderful human being that man – I’ve always said so. He just opened the busstop up as a legitimate hunting ground for the rest of the league. Well done, that man, and about time too.

    Anyone else join in with Asamoah Gyan and Bolo Zenden’s little dance when it came on MotD?….Just me?

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