With due respect to Barcelona, we do have a bigger game against West Ham tomorrow. Arsene knows this and I’m sure the players know the need to maintain focus on one game at a time. Speaking at his pre-match press conference Arsene said,
It [the Champions League] can be a distraction, yes, if we speak about Barcelona instead of speaking about West Ham. That is where we can show we have matured and that we are intelligent. Intelligence is in life to know what is important to you and your success. What is important to us is West Ham.
Right now we don’t have a conflict between the Premiership and the Champions League. The best preparation for Barcelona would be to win our two games in the League.
- In our last 4 home games against the Hammers we have only one win!
- If we win this game our winning sequence of six will be joint best for the season, equalling Chelsea in the early part of the season.
- The last time Arsenal won six on the bounce in the League was early in the 07-08 season.
West Ham will play with Carlton Cole up top and we all know he can be a handful for any defence. I want to see how Sol deals with his physical presence. Song will have to be very alert for the second ball, we cannot allow the visitors to push us in our half by using Cole as a target man.
We don’t really need any special tactics to win this game. If we can keep the ball on the ground and move it at speed, Zola’s team will eventually struggle to cope. I don’t believe the players should focus on winning by a big margin because we shouldn’t put any added pressure on ourselves. As long as we can play our game, the goals and result will come.
I feel the tempo of the game will decide the result. If we cannot keep the tempo high, West Ham will be able to frustrate us for long periods and given our defence they can always nick one from a set piece or a counter attack.
We have good news on the injury front and Arsene might have bit of a selection headache. Rosicky, Cesc and Song are all back and we haven’t got any casualties from the Hull game (despite their best efforts I must say!)
I’m quite keen to see the choices Arsene makes. My guess is he will pick a midfield of Song, Cesc and Diaby, although I’d prefer Nasri over Diaby. Arshavin and Bendtner should be certainties at the front so the choice might be between Rosicky and Walcott on the right. I’d start with Walcott and bring Rosicky on later if we need some attacking impetus. Another interesting choice will be between Sagna and Eboue at Right Back.
The starting line up I’d like to see is,
Almunia; Sagna, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy; Song, Nasri, Cesc; Walcott, Bendtner, Arshavin.
We will have a very strong starting line up and some serious fire power on the bench. No reason why this game should not extend our winning sequence. Anything less than three points will be a big disappointment.