We all want a game, that much is established. Arsene wants to go ahead, the fans want one and I am sure the players want to play as well. The minor advantage of some players returning to fitness are far outweighed by building on the momentum and putting points on the board while avoiding a pile up at the later stages.
It all boils down to the battle between the Footballing Gods and the Snowballing Gods. For some strange reason beyond the realm of human understanding, these celestial sections have fallen out and thus far the the cold and gloomy ones are shading it. If only words could brighten up a day!
While the Gods make their peace, we can get some peace of mind just by just talking about the game. Here’s a piece off my mind (and no more attempts at word games I promise.)
Arsenal must be quite confident for this one having started the season in thumping fashion in the return fixture at Goodison Park. There is no reason to doubt that we cannot kick off the second half in a similar manner. Based on current form and our home form in general three points are the least we should expect.
In some ways the first game set a marker for both the sides. Arsenal surprised the doubters and moved from strength to strength. Everton have been below par and fighting at the wrong end of the table. The visitors might look at this game symbolically and think that a good result here could change the second half for them.
As Arsene said, “Everton are Everton and at some stage in the season they always come back on a good run. That is why we never discount them.” Clearly, the boss has enough respect for the opponents and the players must show the same on the field. We just cannot afford to drop points due to a lack of effort on our part. If Everton can turn up and perform at a level only Chelsea have so far at the Emirates then fair play to them.
The Toffee’s have an injury list that can compete with ours. However, they do have enough players to put out a squad that can fight for the points. The likes of Cahill and Fellaini are capable of some telling air strikes as Baines, Pienaar, Hibbert and Bilyaletdinov launch the supplies.
While the visitors are not a dirty team by any means, I am a little concerned by the injury potential of this game. Firstly, our players tend to slip a lot even on the best of days. Will they avoid injuries on an icy and damp surface? Secondly, even ordinary tackles could turn into dangerous ones if the players lose control of the slide, something that is quite likely in such circumstances. The only thing I can think of is that even the visitors will want to avoid any serious injuries and both teams might go a bit easy on the 50-50 balls.
There isn’t any real change in the team news from the previous game. Wilshere is out and it’s a little worrying to see him follow the path of senior stars like RvP and Walcott on the injury front. Hopefully it’s just down to his age and not something that will hold him back over the years. Rosicky is back but I don’t want to count him amongst the fit ones till he plays a few games on the trot.
It will be interesting to see whether it’s Ramsey or Diaby who takes on the job of supporting Denilson defensively. Given that Fellaini might be a little too strong for Rambo, it does make sense to hold Diaby back. Of course, that will affect our attacking threat a little. Once again it’s up to the team to show that we can do as well without Song as we have done without Cesc.
The line up is likely to be,
Almunia; Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Traore; Denilson, Ramsey, Diaby; Nasri, Eduardo, Arshavin;
Although Arsene might put Rosicky in place of Ramsey.
In the reverse fixture our performance and result matched the weather, let’s hope this time it’s the reverse.