Welcome to the worst day of the season: the Annual Defeat to Chelski-a-thon, in which we all think that surely probability will eventually work in our favour and we might actually get a win, but then we realise that the same fate will befall us that has befallen us many times before.
It’s safe to assume that I’m not particularly confident about today. If I was a betting man I certainly wouldn’t be chucking the house on Arsenal, but if you do fancy some kind of flutter and are a bit of a betting person you can get your top free bets here so fill yer boots. There are a few decent ones to be had on there.
Sadly I can’t see how we win today. Chelski look good. We have looked shaky. The victory against Bournemouth was great but this is a whole different ball game. Chelski will press us all over the pitch. They will move the ball quicker than Bournemouth did. They have better players on the ball.
What I would love to see is the same level of pressure that we applied to Bournemouth’s team all over the pitch when they had possession. You know, like closing down the ‘keeper quickly, hassling the defenders on the ball, nicking the ball back off the toes of midfielders, that sort of stuff. If we did that for 90 minutes then we might stand a chance of picking up something, but my worry is that despite what Arsène has said about there being no difference between home and away, we all know that psychologically the Arsenal players are already one down as they take to the pitch.
In terms of who plays though, as I said yesterday, I would give Welbeck and Alexis the nod either side of Lacazette and see if the pace of that front three troubles Chelski’s defensive line. This game just never seems to be one in which we get the best out of Mesut Özil, so why not just leave him out, then bring him back for West Brom in a week?
So my preferred line up would Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Big Per, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Ramsey, Xhaka, Welbeck, Alexis, Lacazette. I think the BFG is better at marshalling our defence, he has cover either side of him that can negate his lack of pace, he could probably also give Ramsey and Xhaka a bit of a talking to about their positional discipline.
What will need to happen in midfield though, is that Xhaka is given options, because any Premier League worth their salt will know to press him hard and quick and I think Kante will do just that. He’ll be on Xhaka like a rash and if he wins the ball back in our half from Xhaka, you know we’ll be in trouble. So Ramsey’s role in being disciplined and supporting his midfield partner is key today. He needs to not be a dick and think he’s a number 10. He needs to get his head screwed on and when needed, sit and protect our back line, because Chelski will have times when they have a lot of the ball.
When we have the ball, we have to be better in using it, because in these types of games you get one or two key chances. The hope is that those chances fall to either Lacazette or Alexis, assuming the Chilean plays, which I hope he does because he will be itching to get out there having started his season off finally with a goal in midweek.
Chelski’s threat comes in Morata, but he’ll be fed by that man Fabregas and what I’ve noticed the last couple of times we’ve played them is that it’s the Fabregas/Costa diagonal that has undone us at times. What we need to do is to stop that from happening. So if Fabregas is sitting deep, one of the forward players neee to be on him to stop him from looking up and spraying those long passes.
I don’t hold too much hope on a victory today, but a draw would be a dream come true, so let’s hope that the team show up and give us something. After the Liverpool debacle I feel they owe us. Let’s hope they feel like they owe it to themselves too.
Catch you all tomorrow.