Once a team is in the title race, must win game is just another cliché. It’s best to avoid talking in those terms as we all know the significance of three points.
Will the absence of one man turn out to be much more significant in this game than the presence of twenty two others? I hope not. We have to show that we can win home games even without key players like Cesc and RvP, especially against the likes of Hull.
To be honest, I am a little worried. The four 0-0 draws last year and the performance against Burnley after Cesc limped off showed that we can dominate possession in his absence but we lack the cutting edge in the final third. These are the kind of things that critics hold against Arsenal and Wenger and his squad have to show that they have developed the ability to adapt and respond.
Will we see Rambo get a chance in El Capitan’s role or will we see Wenger play his favorites Denilson and Diaby along with Song. I would love to see Ramsey get a game. He is the most creative midfielder amongst our fit players. The young Welshman also brings some freshness with his willingness to shoot and to run at the opposition defense.
The only other changes could be if Silvestre is dropped or Walcott given a rest. Neither seems very likely. I don’t mind big-head playing at left back as long as we provide some cover for him. Denilson will have to play more like a left sided midfielder than a central one. Silvestre has the best crossing ability in the team and we should try and use it more often. Walcott has to do more of what he did at Anfield. Make those lung bursting runs into the opposition box even if he doesn’t get the final pass.
Wenger might also put Nasri in the middle and Diaby in the left attacking role. I am not in favor of that as it would mean changing the positions of the players once again. I am not convinced these players can adjust to positional changes on a regular basis.
Hull have been poor after their initial 9 games in the league last year. But they have a team capable of putting up a fight. I think most of their games against big teams are characterized by a fighting spirit that lasts till someone scores against them. After that they tend to come out more and lose discipline. We have to score early otherwise we run the risk of the opposition gaining confidence and our players losing it. Of course, the Burnley game showed the risk of scoring early! That means we have to score early and then keep looking for the second goal.
The visitors are coming into this game on the back of some decent performances but their away form remains a concern. 2 points from 8 games with 5 goals for and 21 against should give us enough confidence, if we needed any.
I would like to see this team,
Almunia; Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Silvestre; Song, Ramsey, Denilson; Walcott, Arshavin, Nasri;
I think we are going to nick this one 2-1 with Vermaelen scoring the first goal. That brings me to the competition I am running. You can predict the correct score and first goal scorer for a chance to win Arsenal merchandise. Details on this post. The contest closes one hour before kick-off time.