Only 3 days left till I am certain Arsenal will finally get one over on a top side. I know you may say that perhaps it could be my heart ruling my head and you may be right, but I have a real positive feeling that with the players back, on top of the winning performance of last week, that we WILL win this.
On the transfer front, it still seems very little has happened in terms of being close to signing anyone. However, again last night a good friend of mine who is an ex-West Ham legend said he was ‘certain’ Winston Reid would be joining Arsenal. I see that already this morning there are talks of Spurs being in the running too.
If that move does happen I think we all should be pretty happy about it. Reid has been at West Ham a few years, and he is very well thought of among the West Ham fans and whenever I have watched him I always think he does the easy stuff very well as well as being quick, good in the air and strong. At 26 he would certainly be a good option to have and certainly the best of any defender that has been touted for that sort of money. Also, the fact that it would piss off Fat Sam is always a bonus.
My next point is the Premier League race for 3rd and 4th. I can’t remember a time when there were so many clubs vying for the positions with 17 games left to go. Everyone, including myself, is waiting for the wheels to fall off at Southampton but they look stronger than most if we are honest. United have been on a fantastic winning run (apart from Southampton) where they have not really even played that well but now have the confidence to push on. Then we have Liverpool, who if you look at last season will also fancy themselves to go on a run especially with players returning. Spurs who after a pretty indifferent start to the season have slowly slowly brought themselves into contention. And us. I can’t honestly put West Ham in it without laughing.
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I think experience normally has always helped us in these positions in seasons past but usually that is if we are up against 1 or possibly 2 clubs. A couple of defeats here and there and a club could pretty much be out of the chase. That’s why this City game has been as big a game as we have ever had against them in recent seasons. Normally, we have always gone there expecting very little but this week regardless of how we think the outcome will be, we must ensure that we get a point at a minimum.
At the moment we do have the luxury of being 2 points ahead of the chasing pack behind us, but we cannot afford to go 6 points behind Southampton and 4 behind Utd if they were to both get full points in their winnable games.
Debuchy and possibly Wilshere aside and I would say that we have our strongest players available for selection, and City will be without their most in-form player in Toure.
The team for me will most likely go back to Szczesny in goal. I would like to see Ospina keep his place but I think the Boss will go back to experience for this. The defence will be made up of our best centre backs, and we then have choices between Monreal and Gibbs on the left and Chambers and Bellerin on the right. My gut says he will go with Gibbs and Chambers.
Midfield is a lot harder. Cazorla probably is a certainty with his recent form and then I’d have to say Ramsey and Coquelin. The wings would be taken up with The Ox and Alexis. Rosicky has also played well but may be given a break, and obviously we have Ozil and Walcott fit and who will be expecting to start, and the woeful Flamini. So you can see the choices are endless.
Up top it will be Giroud.
This game will be won in midfield and I would be worried if we began the game with too many of our creative players rather than players who are more physical. Wilshere is a huge loss for this match. We need to make sure that we don’t allow them to boss us around and get an early goal as then they will just pick us off and the scoreline could be heavy. If we win the midfield battle we win the game.