It’s Burnley at Turf Moor tonight in a contest that we really need to win. I really don’t care how we manage it, whether we put five past them or squeak home by the odd goal in seven, but failure to take maximum points would undoubtedly sour the sweet taste still lingering from the fantastic win at Anfield.
Team news going into the game is mixed. Denilson and Armand Traore will be missing with back and hamstring problems respectively, leaving us a little light in midfield and without our first three left-backs. The good news is that Emmanuel Eboue will be back and I expect him to slot back into the side in place of Traore ahead than Mikael Silvestre. Meanwhile Abou Diaby should get a start in Denilson’s spot.
The rest of the team should be the same side that beat Liverpool at the weekend, although Arsene Wenger may look to rotate one or two of the front three and/or give Lukasz Fabianski a start in goals. Manuel Almunia, a player I have backed to the nth degree this season, had a shocker against Liverpool and doesn’t look to have improved on his early showings. Wenger will probably stick with him but I think quite a few people would like to see the Polish pretty-boy get a chance, myself included.
Andrey Arshavin will undoubtedly lead the line after his stunning winner on Sunday, while the manager may look to rotate one or two of Eduardo and Carlos Vela for Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri. I think it’s imperative that Wenger picks one of Vela and Walcott to give us enough pace to get in behind Burnley. Both Eduardo and Nasri are more technical players and it is important the manager gets the balance of technique and pace right as he did against Liverpool.
With Manchester United thumping Wolves and Villa beating Sunderland last night the impetus is on our boys to in again to stay with the leading pack. Burnley are a notoriously threatening side to play at their home ground – winning 5 from 8 and losing just one – and with our tiny forward line will be even more difficult to break down. Time for the boys to dig extra-deep and get the sort of win that the English pundits constantly castigate us for failing to achieve.
To get in you in the mood for the game here is a hilarious article about the recent antics (and there is a lot of them!) of Jens Lehmann. God, how I miss him!
COME ON ARSENAL! COME ON ARSENAL! COME ON ARSENAL!
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