Well, well, well Mr Terry and co, here we are. Welly, welly, welly. Wellington, Wellington, Wellington….
If you believe Marko Marin (sounds like a crap eighties rapper, by the way), the Chelski midfielder, today’s game will be the first time that we are really tested in the Premier League. So said the Serbian “I am not sure that Arsenal have played a good team like us”, shortly after asserting that Lukas Podolski may have a tough time against a good Chelski defence. I’m sure Falcao can be contacted as a case for the prosecution in that regard, for it was he that tore the Chelski defence a new one only a month or so ago. The mind games are certainly interesting from a player that only made his first competitive start in midweek, but hopefully the Arsenal players can brush aside said comments and focus purely on proving the opposite to Marin’s statement – I.e. we’ve had harder games already. Certainly I wouldn’t count the Champions of England on their home turf as a stroll in Hyde Park.
John Terry will most likely be leading the Chelski team out at 12.45pm to know doubt what will be a chorus of boos. Of course the fact that he has the moral fibre of a toothpick has nothing to do with the howls of derision he clearly doesn’t deserve with an on and off-field CV that reads like a saint. We’re just mean fans that dig the knife in on a player when he doesn’t deserve it (*snigger*).
The captain of the opposition will also probably be leading out such wonderfully ‘nice’ chaps like Ashley ‘£55k swerve’ Cole and Frank ‘Gangbang in an England shirt’ Lampard, not to mention the very honest Eden ‘sack of potatoes in the box’ Hazard; it’s an eclectic mix of tossers, that’s for sure.
But low, let me not stoop down to the low levels of name-calling and instead focus on the most purest of things to wish for: three valuable points today. I think it’s fair to say that this season has started in a well enough fashion for us; when I looked at the opening six games of the season back in June I must admit to a slight quiver of apprehension at the prospect of another start like last year. Getting off to a good start is important if you don’t want to be playing catch up for nine months, and seeing some of the games that both Spurs and Chelski had to start made me think we could be looking at some distance in points by the time that benchmark ten game period is upon us. In fact, it makes Marin’s comments about the teams we’ve played all the more strange when you look at their start to the season. I shouldn’t have worried as much about our start however, as Arsene has instilled a sense of unity and belief in the current crop of players that ply their trade in red and white, so much so that tomorrow’s game is being greeted with anticipation rather than trepidation. As for me, I swing dangerously between the two – such is my way as a nervous gooner – so will not take to crowing too much either before, during, or after the game.
It will be vital for us to start like we have done in thee last few home meetings against Chelski. We’ve pressed high up the pitch, denied them space and two seasons ago it paid off with a superb performance and a 3-1 scoreline. I think i’m right in thinking it was the only time we beat Chelski with Drogba in the side. Theo Walcott starred that day, but i’d be surprised if he is promoted to the first team today. He played well against Coventry, but the manager has so many options all over the park that I think he’ll opt for a change to some of the players that played in midwek, including the Ox as well. I think we’ll line up with:
Jenkinson – Koscienly – Vermaelen – Gibbs
Arteta – Diaby
Gervhino – Giroud – Podolski
Of course this season it’s a lot harder to pick the Arsenal attack and defence, but i’ve plumped for Koscienly rather than The Big Friendly German purely because of Laurent’s mobility and pace up against one of Hazard, Mata, Oscar or Moses. I could be wrong, but I just wonder if the central defensive pairing i’ve chosen will provide a more solid barrier than Per – and I mean that in no way to underestimate or downplay his brilliant performances this season.
At the top of the formation i’ve opted to shuffle the team slightly from last weekend’s draw against Moneychester City. I just wonder whether the strength of Giroud, coupled by the confidence of his midweek goal will give Chelski’s defence more to worry about than Gervhino. But i’ve still opted to keep Gervhino in the team because I think his trickery at times can be a real pain for defenders and I hope he can be dazzling up against Cole on the right hand side.
As for Chelski, i’m equally not sure who they will field in their side. They have so many attcking options that picking two to play alongside lone striker Torres is a real challenge. I think they’ll opt for the diveiness of Hazard to see if they can win themselves some pens, and probably reward the recent goalscoring Brazillian Oscar, but whoever plays will prove to be a real challenge for our defence. Their midfield will probably have the physical strength of Mikel and Ramirez, possibly Lampard. We need Jenks and Gibbs to continue their good form from last week again today. Chelski will be up for this today, so we have to be doubly up for it to ensure success.
This is it people. This is a big one that will test how far we’ve come aand whether we’re in the right shape to compete with the other big teams for the title. Come on you gunners!