RVP - back and fresh
A trip to South Wales awaits the boys tomorrow as they travel to face Swansea City. Aaron Ramsey can expect a pretty lukewarm reception, being an ex-Cardiff City player. I thought the boyo played well on Monday night, and he should be more keen than ever to finally add some end product to all the honest endeavour of recent weeks. Given that Ramsey has been playing in Cesc Fabregas' old position his number of goals is really quite poor this season. I was encouraged by the fact that he was actually prepared to have a shot at goal on Monday night. Throughout the season Ramsey is someone who has certainly been guilty of over playing in a promising position. Perhaps having Chamakh ahead of him, rather than Van Persie, on Monday made him a little more ambitious. Whatever it was, I want more of it tomorrow.
Robin Van Persie is back tomorrow having been sent away on holiday last week. I hope his time away has the effect of rejuvenating him once again for the second half of the season, rather than seeing him take his eye off the ball slightly. The press has been full of questions about whether he can play with Thierry Henry (of course he can, ridiculous question) and whether the Manager will play them both from the start. Personally I would rather see Henry from the start of the game, and not coming on when it may be too late. I can understand the school of thought that you want him coming on to make an impact, but I would rather see a motivated Thierry on the pitch than an insipid Arshavin. By the same token I would far rather see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain playing on the right than Theo Walcott, but that seems far less likely than a start for Henry.
At the back we might still be without Per Mertesacker. It seems that the big man has been a bit unwell this week. The press seem to think that Arsene would be forced to pair Koscielny with the hapless Squillaci if Mertesacker is injured. My view is that I would prefer to see Djourou alongside Koscielny with Yennaris playing right-back. There are two reasons for this. The first is that I believe Djourou is a far better player than Squillaci. The second is that I believe Yennaris would do a better job at right-back than Djourou can. That being the case I see it as a no-brainer, but I'm not the Manager so I expect Squillaci to play if Mertesacker is still out.
Swansea have been playing really well all season. They were unlucky when they played at our place as a rare mistake by their goalkeeper, Vorm, presented Arshavin with an equally rare goal. I caught glimpses of their home match with Tottenham a fortnight ago, and they dominated the second-half. Swansea play decent football. They haven't got too many goals in the team, but their defending is very good indeed. They also seem to have found a fine goalkeeper. For a team getting its first crack at the Premier League they have been outstanding. Tomorrow will be a tough game, make no mistake.
Arsenal dropped bad points over Christmas against Wolves and Fulham. That has left us playing catch-up once again when, really, we could have been right in the scrap at the top going in to tomorrow. Yet again we have a must-win game to play. I hope to see a far better attitude than we saw in the second-half at Craven Cottage the other week.