Ox - surely back tomorrow?
After the awful display last week the pressure is now back on Arsenal. Tottenham were held today at Sunderland, but Chelsea scraped a late win over Wigan to get within striking distance (though I understand Chelsea's first goal was one of the worst offside decisions in history). A win over QPR last week would have meant that dropped points tomorrow would not have been such an issue. With second-placed Manchester City the visitors it just underlines the importance of dispatching the rubbish when you have the opportunity.
As with last week Arsene Wenger is choosing from the same group of players. I hope that he doesn't continue this nonsense of playing Aaron Ramsey from the left. It is never going to work, just as it didn't when he insisted on playing Diaby out there. All it achieves is the player getting the bird from the stands which is no good to anybody. With that in mind I believe it is imperative that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returns to the starting eleven. I can understand why Wenger is not playing him in every game, especially in light of Wilshere's injury problems, but there surely comes a time when you pick your best available team. I would suggest that a game like tomorrow is one such occasion.
Last week we saw Thomas Vermaelen turn in a terrible display. If Johan Djourou had made the errors that the Belgian did at Loftus Road then I hate to think what sort of stick he would have got from people. We all know that Vermaelen is a very determined individual and I'm sure he will be very keen to try and make amends tomorrow. If I had to put a bet on an Arsenal player scoring a goal then he would near the top of the list.
Apart from that I can see Arsenal being pretty much "as you were." There could be a change at left-back with Santos possibly replacing Gibbs, but I wouldn't necessarily see the need for that based on Gibbs' form in recent weeks.
Man City's team is always liable to change. Apparently that idiot Nasri is fit again, but hopefully he'll meet Frimpong in the tunnel before the game and be shown to his seat on the bench. We all know that their strikers have the ability to destroy teams if they're in the mood. A lot has been made of the loss of form of City's goalscorers, but I think their results are more a symptom of David Silva going off the boil. At the start of the season he seemed irresistible but, since Christmas, has had a touch of "the Nasri's." I hope he doesn't get a touch of "the Fabrgas'" tomorrow and turn it on against Arsenal.
When we played in Manchester earlier in the season it was widely noted that Arsenal had played well and deserved something from the game. If we can play as well tomorrow then we will surely win the match. After the debacle of last week it is certainly a very important three points up for grabs.
I'll post a match review on Monday.