Arsenal fans, even those with the poorest of memories, will struggle to forget that fateful day at St. Andrews. Life though, has come a full circle and while that was a day to forget, this Saturday could well turn out to be a day to remember. All three title chasers have tricky fixtures. Will this be the day when Arsenal bury the ghost of Birmingham as United and Chelsea falter!?
Focusing on the game at hand, despite the obvious negative images associated with Brum, I do feel Alex Mcleish’s team is a decent footballing side. They have done well at home and will provide a stern test of our credentials.
- Of the 15 teams that have visited St. Andrews, only Villa and Bolton have won. Both victories came in Sept 2009. Birmingham are unbeaten in 11 at home.
- The hosts have conceded 10 goals at home, a record bettered only by Manchester United. Even Chelsea and Villa have conceded more at home.
- A seventh straight League victory for Arsenal would be the best run this season by any team. It will also equal our best in the last three campaigns from the early part of the 07-08 season.
Birmingham have the ability to mix things up. They have a strong defence but they don’t always park the bus. At least against other smaller teams they have dominated possession. The Blues can attack from the wings and even through the centre plus they are good on set pieces. In spite of all this they still have a negative goal difference and I feel it’s down to the quality of their strikers.
If we avoid conceding many set pieces and restrict them to counter attacks, our defence should be quite comfortable irrespective of who plays.
On the offensive front we will need all our trickery to score at St. Andrews. Once again our biggest strength would be the speed of passing and movement. Against Hull and West Ham we weren’t in top form and such a performance could see us dropping points in this game.
I’m hoping Bendtner is fit for this game because we will need a central striker who is match fit and full of confidence. It’s an extremely critical position for our attack and we need to be at our best against this defence.
I also feel playing Rosicky down the right would be a better idea instead of Nasri. The Frenchman has been playing constantly while Little Mozart has had a good break. I think Rosicky offers better creativity than Nasri and we will need his incisiveness if we want to break a resolute Birmingham.
Many people have been negative about Arshavin and I can see their point, but the Russian offers an attacking threat like no one else. If he is fit, he should start.
In the middle we might see the trio that finished the West Ham game – Denilson, Cesc, Diaby. This is with the assumption that Song will continue in his role as centre back. If Le Boss chooses Silvestre and Campbell at the back we could see Song in the middle instead of Denilson or Diaby.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’d like to see Sagna at Center Back but Arsene might think that’s a little far fetched at this point in the season. If Sagna doesn’t play CB, he might come in at Right Back.
The team I’d like to see is,
Almunia; Eboue, Sagna, Campbell, Clichy; Song, Cesc, Diaby; Rosicky, Bendtner, Arshavin.
We should still have a very strong bench and Nasri, Vela, Eduardo or Theo can come in to make a difference later on.
Wenger has a knack for hitting the nail on the head,
The best way to prepare for Barcelona is to win the game before.