Ahh man I feel roughered this morning. That’s rough and knackered combined, kids.
I had many a drink last night and at 2am remembered that the broadcasting companies have ruined football with their ridiculous kick offs. And now I’m not appreciating the karaoke I did in my kitchen with my mates. Not even in the slightest.
It’s a 12pm kick off and my face hurts, but at least all I have to do is watch football and not play it, so hopefully the team are far more prepared for today’s game than I am. After all, we need the three points and as we all know in the Premier League, these are the types of game at home you can’t take for granted.
Brighton will come to the Emirates today with nothing to lose, which makes them dangerous, although I’d be stunned if they try to ‘have a go’. Chris Hughton is no mug. He’ll know that frustrated Arsenal and turning the crowd is a very achieveable fear and I suspect that’s just what he’ll aim for in the first 30 minutes. Try to turn the home crowd and then grow in to the game.
That’s why we need to not be sluggish from kick off. Quick movement of the ball, utilisation of forward-running wing-backs, as well as an assertiveness that looks like we’re about to be knocked out of a cup. That’s what I’d like to see today.
Or we can do what we’ve done for the last few home games in the Premier League and score early. That’d be nice. It would throw Brighton’s game plan out the window and force them on to us, opening the game and playing in to our hands, and also it would mean I have less stress to deal with on a day in which Saturday evening boozing is already hampering my match day experience.
I suspect we’ll be missing Koscielny today. This is the sort of game in which the manager should be able to play a Mertesacker or other squad central defender, because we’ll have far more of the ball than them and if the noises about Kos’ Achilles are true, then we need to be able to rest him and get him back to full fitness. But if we lose him today it could be a good enough reason for the French national team not to play him and therefore we could see him get some much needed rest. Guess we’ll have to see though.
Özil injury aside the team is probably quite predictable to pick. Cech in goal, Bellerin and Kolasinac at wing-back, Mustafi, Monreal and probably Mertesacker at centre half if Kos is injured, with Xhaka and Ramsey in front of them. Further forward in front of those two I’d expect to see Alexis and Lacazette, so it’s just about who takes that other position. Of course he could go with Elneny again and push Ramsey further forward, but given the Egyptian played on Thursday, I can’t see it happening. So my money would be on another start for Iwobi. He didn’t play on Thursday because of injury and Arsène loves him, so I can see him getting some minutes today.
Personally I’d prefer us to try the two up top we did against BATE and have Giroud and Lacazette up there. It would be interesting to see how they could combine and having seen them on the pitch sporadically already they look like they have a decent understanding together. Playing those two up top with Alexis just behind in a free role could certainly be an interesting change of formation and style.
I’m not a fan of Arsène’s “we just focus on ourselves and not the oppostion” approach to games normally, but this is the type of game in which if we do what we’re supposed to, it doesn’t matter how Brighton approach the game. So my hope is that the players are properly prepared for the game and take their chances.
Here’s to three points. Hopefully.