The close proximity of fixtures means there is no time to reflect on the previous game but we can certainly enjoy the transfer dealings on a hectic final day before the serious stuff starts with the visit by Everton.
Torres, Luiz to Chelsea; Carroll, Adam to Liverpool; there are plenty of potentially season defining deals going on. I’ll write a piece on that once the window closes and we know for sure who’s gone where. For now I’m looking at pictures of burning Torres shirts and trying to make sense of £35M+ for Carroll. In the words of a wise man named Keys, “The world has gone mad.”
I don’t expect any ins or outs at Arsenal. Bendtner to Newcastle is a funny one but can’t really be anything more.
Coming to the subject of the post, I believe the game against Everton will be a tough one. David Moyes’ side are slow starters and a bit inconsistent but have only lost one game this season out of nine played against Arsenal, United, City, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Liverpool. Of course that one defeat was against Arsenal. Last season we beat them convincingly away from home but drew at the Emirates. This season’s win at Goodison Park was a close fought encounter and Tuesday’s battle will not be easy by any stretch.
As far as the starting line-up goes I expect the first string to be in action with Nasri’s spot up for grabs. I have a feeling one of Arshavin, Bendtner, or Rosicky will get the nod. All three were involved on Sunday with the first two giving their all for the duration of the game. Rosicky on the other hand has just recovered from serious sickness so we can never be sure if he’s fit enough to start.
Some might want to pick Chamakh as the third attacker. I can’t argue against the fact that the Moroccan is likely to be the sharpest of all available personnel due to his lack of action recently but I don’t like the idea of either Chamakh or RvP playing on the wing.
Assuming he’s fit, my choice is Rosicky because he offers the best balance. I can see him supporting Clichy on the left, linking up well with RvP, Cesc, and Jack, and creating chances for Theo and other players in the box. Was his stoppage time equalizer against Everton in last season’s fixture the last he’s scored for Arsenal?
Preferred starting line-up,
Szczesny – Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy – Song, Cesc, Wilshere – Walcott, RvP, Rosicky.
Tactically, we will have to see how Everton approach the game. Broadly speaking I have seen two distinct styles used by David Moyes.
There are times when Everton use high tempo pressing. They just don’t give the opponents any time on the ball and force mistakes. This often creates openings for their attackers and they look for quick transitions to attack.
I don’t think they can use this tactic for the whole of 90 minutes. So we might see them starting on the front foot and looking for an early goal that they can defend. That means Arsenal will have to match their tempo and ensure there are no mistakes at the back or in the midfield.
Everton did play a tough FA Cup tie against Chelsea on Saturday so they might not be at their sharpest. Moreover, they might not be able to rotate as many players as Arsene can.The Gunners will have to make this physical advantage count.
More commonly, and quite understandably, we see a big blue bus parked in front of the goal. Everton put 9-11 men behind the ball based on the situation of the game and invite pressure on a very well organized defence.
They can be a threat on the counter attack if Arsenal give them space down the middle. The visitors will certainly be a big threat on set-pieces but I guess many of us already close our eyes and pray when any opponent gets the chance to put a ball in our penalty area.
One trick that works well against Everton, easier said than done of course, is to score the first goal. After that they are forced into being more expansive and gaps start opening up. With the likes of RvP and Walcott up front Arsenal can really exploit those openings.
I’m not sure if Cahill will be back in time for this game or not but even without the Australian the Toffees have plenty of bite up front. Their attackers might not be the most hyped players but the likes of Saha, Coleman, Arteta, and others can punish the opposition if given space and time around the penalty area. Walcott will also have a big role to play on both ends of the pitch against Baines.
I am looking forward to a fast paced, entertaining game tomorrow. There should be some goals and great football.