Yesterday Arsène spoke to the assembled media to give a bit of an update on the team news and I suppose the good stuff is that nobody has been maimed enough to be sitting out that we didn’t already know about. Mustafi and Welbeck look to be back, Giroud is our, whilst the sword of Damocles still swings precariously over Koscielny’s Achilles. At least Deschamps had enough sense to rest him against Germany and so it looks like we’ll be able to see the Frenchman start tomorrow.
Giroud however is the one that, as we expected, isn’t available. That’s a blow because he has chipped in with the odd goal against the scummers and so having him able to come on from the bench would be a great option if we need it. But we’ll have to make do with other options for the time being.
It certainly should force the managers hand on Lacazette and after the Frenchman bagged another two goals for France in midweek, he’ll surely be raring to go. So it’s just as well that Arsène has been steadfast in saying that he definitely does trust Lacazette in the big games. I’m sure we’re all glad to hear it because we’ll need him on Saturday if we’re to get anything from this game.
The Totts have a very good defence and they won’t give us an inch, whilst defensively we’re always giving away chances, so I think that this might be a game in which goals go in at both ends for both teams. So we need our best three offensive players and guess what? That’s Alexis, Özil and Lacazette. No more placating Wenger. No more messing around. This is the Derby and we need to see that trio starting.
We need our best players playing in their best positions because, frankly, this is the first time where I’ve agreed that there would be more Spurs players in a combined XI than there should be Arsenal players. And that depresses me. It depresses me because we’ve had it good against them for literally decades and now they have the better players, a more tactically astute manager and more of a team structure than we do. So when I write my match preview tomorrow there will be genuine fear in my words as I tap away in my iPhone.
Arsène doesn’t feel like we’re underdogs and perhaps home comforts should preclude that, but on all other metrics you’d say we were. We’re just hoping that the Totts don’t show up. That’s what’s different now. Every year it’s been a case where I’ve thought that if we play to our best at home then we’ll beat that lot. But now I don’t feel like that. Even last season I thought we’d have the measure of them on home soil. Not tomorrow though. It’s not a fun feeling either.
But I guess we’ve just got to deal with it and hope the players have enough in them to respond to the day. They’ll certainly have the fans behind them from the off and Wenger once again called for unity amongst us all. On derby day you get that without question from the start, but the players have to respond quickly to show they’re ready for a fight, because if we see Tottenham popping the ball around and showing us that they have the measure of us early on that is when the atmosphere will turn sour. And it’ll happen quickly.
So let’s keep our fingers crossed that tomorrow will see an Arsenal team ready, willing and able.