Arsenal need to show more desire against Blackpool. Oh, and get three points too.

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It’s Blackpool and a trip to Bloomfield Road tomorrow as our boys attempt to get their title challenge back on track after the disappointing stalemate with Blackburn at the Emirates a week ago.

Much perspective of the task at hand will be given by Manchester United’s result at home to Fulham. Should the current league leaders win which, in all likeliness they should, they will go a massive 10 points clear at the top of the table. It will put immense pressure on us to get the three points required to keep our league title hopes alive.

Should they slip up — though I am no way inclined to believe that they will — it will offer us an opportunity to make up for last week’s stumble and shoot ourselves right back into the mix.

Regardless of their result though, the objective is the same: win. Just win. Score more goals than we concede. Get three points. I care nothing about the performance, only about the result. It’s that time of the season.

Injury news going into the game is rather mixed. Cesc Fabregas will return to the starting line-up after a substitute  appearance whilst Theo Walcott and Alex Song, both only back for one game from injury, are unavailable again. Quite why the manager did not remove Song from the pitch last week when he was hobbling early in the second half I will never know, but that’s Arsene Wenger for you.

Bacary Sagna disappointingly misses out too, with a knee problem blamed for his absence.

Although unrelated to this match it is delightful that both Wojciech Szczesny and Johan Djourou are on the mend and should both return to the squad in a week’s time against Liverpool. Both players will surely boost our chances of a strong finish, as long as we can get through tomorrow’s encounter unscathed.

I have a feeling that with three points absolutely imperative and Song absent the manager may opt for an extra striker tomorrow.

Defensively we should shape up as usual: Manuel Almunia may well play his last game for Arsenal this season (forever?) behind a back four of Emmanuel Eboué, Sebastien Squillaci, Laurent Koscielny and Gäel Clichy. Fabregas and Jack Wilshere will undoubtedly get starts in the centre of the pitch, with a quartet of Samir Nasri, Andrey Arshavin, Robin van Persie and perhaps Nicklas Bendtner making up the more attacking positions.

It would be a bold move, but with the title on the line and Blackpool one of the least defensive sides in the country, an aggressive approach may be exactly what is required.

One thing that seemed desperately lacking in last week’s stalemate with Blackburn — a game I traveled to London to see at the Emirates — was a criminal lack of urgency and dare I say it, effort. You will rarely meet an Arsenal supporter who cares less about winning trophies and more about values as a club, but it did make me wonder whether some of the players even knew that there is a league title to play for.

We need to see more from them tomorrow. Oh, and three points.

Right then, I’m off to watch United play. Speak to you soon.

PS. If I had to make a prediction it would be 2-0 to Arsenal. Let’s hope it works out.

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  1. when a manager (arsene) believes finishing second or in top four is enough for club of the stature of arsenal then the diehard gooners should say goodbye and hope for trophy next season, a promise made for the last six years. Such remarks are smack on the faces of
    gunners and hope the demented and disillusioned arsene be back to his native france. He seems to have no ambition and makes self-praise leaves one wonder what to expect from him in future if he remains in the saddle.

  2. Welcome back Andrew,

    Regarding the game, if the team can show any of the fight that Wenger did at his press conference yesterday, then we should win without any problem.. I don’t think we’ll see an extra striker from the start, even though I hope I’m wrong there. For the rest, I do think playing away from home will actually suit us right now. I’m hoping for a win, but it would be nice to get a big win, if nothing else then to stop the cynicism from the fans..But as you say, the most important thing is to WIN (Cue tolling bells and the Rocky theme)..

  3. I think Wenger took it so far. I guess he must learn from his mistakes and not just brush off genuine criticisms. For a team like Arsenal, seven years without a trouphy is tantamount to disaster to say the least. He has said Arsenal defends better than Man U, but thats not so important to my understanding. What Arsenal needs are trophies period not promoses for a futire which seems no where soon. Please Wenger their needs to be a paradigm shift in your strategies. We all love Arsenal FC and we wish our club well

  4. Think how much pressure he may have taken off his players by making that statement, which we must consider in context of what the press has been insinuating all week long, about our efforts this season. Very good press conference by the Manager, in my view.

  5. i think its a shame, we give best football always, but we are lacking a winning mentality. About, the manager, its true, we are a young side…but why dön’t he bring in player like felipe melo and the young Nemayar….2 or 3 players and a back up goalkeeper, and offload some of our current players….i do belive we have a great talent more even manchester…

  6. @gkupox
    Felipe Melo in an Arsenal jersey is my second most often re-occuring dream.
    my first has me beating Alex MaCleish senseless with a pitching wedge.
    Dream on Lover…

  7. @ danny and rehan not winning a trophy in six years finishing 2nd or in the top 4 is a disaster get Real you guys 99% of ALL team dont win trophy’s during a year worth of games played .Arsene right the supporters who have criticise the team and himself have no idea and no professional back ground off what they are talking about. Look Arsenal give me more joy then not ,yes it hurts when we lose but no team is perfect we cant win every game no team can so lay off the team and the boss they need support do you no the meaning support (diehart gooners) .

  8. At this stage I just hope Arsenal can show something for us. For their very patient fans. Hopefully they become more mature as this kind of situations happened for every seasons.

    p/s: As a fan, I hope we are not breaking up. Don’t make a silly fight about replacing Wenger, not winning the league etc. Just pray and support our team. People have different opinions, but its the nature of human.

  9. Had THE worst nightmare in my whole life. I dreamt of Arsene Wenger. Why can’t I be like other guys who have sexy dreams. I’m utterly depressed now.

  10. Neymar? Ney way! Overpriced diver, who is yet to show anything outside the Brazillian league. Plus, Santos want 20m+ for him.

    The acquisition of any new midfielder/s would ultimately and obviously result in Song being moved to the bench. Would we, the supporters be content with that? More so, would Alex be? Especially considering that a player like Melo (for example) would play a full game, limiting Alex’s role to a rotational one.

    I don’t know what the answers are, except that it’s unanimous that a new Goalkeeper is required. Someone who can warm the posts for Wojech.

    Looking forward to this game; it’s a rare 10:30PM kickoff here in Oz, compared to the usual 2-4AM, which makes for more perceptive and enthusiastic viewing.

  11. We desperately need to win otherwise title chase may be over.my11
    almunia-eboue-squillaci-koscielny-clichy-cesc-wilshere-nasri-arshavin-chamakh-vanpersie(4-4-2),we desperately need to change something may be formation.come on gunners.IN ARSENE WE TRUST

  12. Man Utd are 10 points ahead of us already. Now, to even have hope for finishing 1st we need to acomplish a couple of tasks, one more difficult than the other: we need to win today, to win the extra game, to beat Man Utd when we meet them at home, to win everything from this point on, which includes victories over Tottenham and Liverpool AND to hope Utd will lose at least one game. For me, this whole combination borders the impossible and this isn’t about losing hope, it’s about not dreaming with eyes wide open. There’s that old saying in latin, fortes fortuna adiuvat, in that fortune smiles upon the brave or the bold, and maybe, just maybe, if we fight like hell and win everything we might also be lucky at some point. As is stands now, I really, really want to see the fighting spirit of this team, since it was lacking for the past… what, 5 matches or so?

    Still a fan, still support this team until the very last minute, still support Wenger, but at the same time I want to see a change because this is really our last train for winning the title.

  13. if we win all the games starting from today, till the end of the season; i am confident we will win the league.
    but the question is do we have the mettle do it?

  14. I find it hard to get excited about Arsenal games after the events of the past 6 weeks. Clearly some of the squad have all but chucked in the towel. I hope we finish in the top 3 because its time to start looking over our shoulder.
    Roll on 2011-12.

  15. Jens is starting..

    Oh my god..

    His curly hair is more effective in goals than Almunia.

  16. @gruggy
    Yep Crazy Jens started and won.
    I noticed the Blackpool players didn’t seem too keen to run into him.
    A little different proposition than Almunia or Fabianski.
    Fear is indeed the beginnig of wisdom.

  17. Watching this game I realised what’s going to kill me this season. It won’t be Denilson, it won’t be Bendtner, our endless passing in front of goal or bad tactics, no, those things will only anger me. But what’s going to kill me will be hope. Hope, as is rises just now, when we won, when I tell myself, come on, it’s not impossible, it’s NEARLY impossible, that margin of error in an otherwise solid judgement based on facts, the irrationality behind it, the fact that right now I am happy for this victory and I’m already starting to build up hype for the next game, and put pressure on myself so I can utterly be even more disappointed when the lads screw it up. However, I’ve always followed my heart despite all the reasonable arguments my mind offered, so right now I fell like shouting COME ON GUNNERS! Don’t let us down, god dammit, FIGHT, WIN the next matches, overcome all that stands between us and the title and make us all happy (’cause you’ve already caused some of us a borderline personality disorder!)

  18. Today i feel a littel bit release but not realy convence , anyways 3 points is better than a drow.

  19. @Nicholas

    Your personality was suspect from the start. That’s how one becomes a gooner.
    The possibilty of a cure is not good but some of the symptoms are wonderful.
    Hang in there mate.

  20. @ leftcoastgooner – will do, mate, will do… I’m a hopeless case, damn glad to see I’m not the only one this way 🙂

    Oh, btw, the comentators in my country were saying something about players leaving this summer, like Asrhavin, B52, Rosicky, Clichy. They were saying the mass media in UK was writing about something like this, but didn’t cite a specific source. Is any of this true, or are they just idiots, picking every rumour and turning it into something spectacular just for the show? For what little I know, there’s absolutely no official word on it, but some rumours might have some solid background.

  21. @Nicholas

    Sorry Nick I took a bike ride.

    Yeah, here in the states (ESPN Soccernet Fox Soccer Channel at al.) There is big talk about mass exodus.
    Who knows what the trurh is. Some changes will be made for sure.Denilson is a sure gone by his own tweets if you follow that sort of thing and I think Rosicky is looking to play in a less physical league. I here Spain but who knows? Gael Clichy has made going back to France noises off and on since October and everyone picks on Bentdner and Diaby as must goes.
    I’ve folowed the club for the last 19 seasons and I personally think there will be less changes than many predict.
    Wenger is a very stubborn man. Some see it as a drawback some an admirable quality whatever it may be ( in truth it is both depending only on results if we win he’s brilliant and steadfast if we lose he’s pig-headed)But I think even he s percieves the need for different pieces to our puzzle. How many and which pieces only he and God knows and neither one of them “tweets”.

  22. Well.. three points today. Mad Jens in goal. Diaby looking like he had one of his good days to make up for one of Arshavin’s anonymous days. Cesc makes a huge difference. A fit Cesc I should say..

    Regarding the new items, Leftcoastgooner.. What tweets has Denilson been..uh..tweeting? It looks quite apparent that he will be gone though. Partly, I think that’s a result of the negative fans getting to him through their proclamations, of what becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.. But no complaints if he does go. He’s regressed horribly.

    Nicholas, there do seem to be a lot of rumours about people departing. Many of them will turn out to be just media chatter, but I do think there will be changes..

    And speaking of changes.. Have you guys seen this?,19528,11661_6864040,00.html?

  23. Well, two goals on the counter attack and a nice little one-two from Eboue and Happy Jack sandwiched in between. That’s the Arsenal football we all know and love. Now, the one we conceded was also a little too “Arsenal” for my liking, but Lehman did make a nice stop toward the last ten minutes, and he established a nice presence during the opening 15 minutes when Blackpool tried to assert themselves early.

    I was pleasantly surprised by Squillaci, who did nothing today to deserve the “Sebastian the Statue” tag I usually give him. In fact, I thought he played very well, especially tying down the attacker on the ball on the line that Cesc cleared. He also came back and made the tackle that sprung the third goal on the counter. Well done, indeed.

    We did have a ton of chances in the first half that weren’t converted but I thought it was a nice day overall. We haven’t lost in the league since December, but it’s amazing what a win can do to lift your spirits. Hopefully a bit of a mental edge was gained today, along with the three points, but, as per with this side, there’s no telling if one was.

    By the way, I thought the crowd was outstanding today up on the sea side. Can’t really think of any crowd of less than 20,000 that could create that atmosphere here in the States. Maybe a hockey game in Detroit or a NCAA basketball game at Duke University. Awesome to see.

    @leftcoastgooner- I follow Juventus, too, and let me tell ya, Felipe Melo is not someone you want anywhere near your team.

  24. @Ooh2BeAGooner I know Felipe is reckless and mean spirited.
    So was Patrick Viera in his prime.
    We need some one about to break Shawcross’s leg and whoever it was who broke Eduardo’s leg.
    No more free ones. An Eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
    If this leads to a blind soup sucking world so be it.

  25. Leftcoastgooner

    LOL.. I do agree with the sentiment in a sense. If we do have players who respond that way, I’m willing to bet the cowards who masquerade as hard men would not dare to go in to tackles recklessly. But we will have to put up with more red cards.. I still don’t want that person to be Felipe Melo though. I think he’ll be a bad influence on our football, and on our dressing room. He doesn’t seem like he’s ever committed to a team’s cause either, despite the odd good performance.

  26. @shard
    I see your point about the commitment an agree. In that respect you’re right. Still during our winning years there was always a “discipline problem” with our club. 17 sending offs in 5 years.
    Lauren,Viera and Keown (the usual suspects) were known as hard men not to be trifled with.
    Who could be said to be an enforcer now? The game plan is to kick The Arsenal.
    This will only stop when the price gets too steep.If one of our small skill players (of which we may admittedly have a few too many) is injured because of poor and reckless tackling one of the oppositions players must be made to pay. And, if by some providetial accident Phil Dowd might also be disabled all the fecking better.

  27. @leftcoastgooner

    I agree with you on all of that, though I’m not sure there is a direct link between the red cards and success. All I disagree on is the choice of enforcer. I do not think Felipe Melo would be good for us. More than any factual basis for that, it’s just a feeling. I think we got lucky that he went to Juve instead of coming here. I don’t know who it should be though. De Rossi maybe??

  28. @leftcoastgooner

    Chiellini would be awesome. I just don’t see it happening though. I think we went in for him a few years ago (only newspaper reports mind you), and they turned us down. I would love it if it could happen, but as I said, I just don’t think it will.. Cristian Zapata is another defender from Italian football. Might be more realistic, though I haven’t been tracking his progress. he seemed good a year or so ago.

  29. He’s currently injured. I Like also Christian Chivu the Romanian international from Inter.
    He’s a fast,strong full-blooded tackler and he reads the play well. The problem is he’s already 30. Not the age to try the Premiership.

  30. @shard I don’t know if your watching but up a goal with 5 minutes to go Ibrahimovich just got sent off for kicking the ball at the linesman.
    How foolish is that?

  31. leftcoastgooner

    LOL..No I couldn’t watch today. My TV decided to conk out certain channels and unfortunately, most of them happen to be the sports channels.. Quite annoyed.. I’m sure THAT will end up on youtube though.. I wouldn’t mind if he came to England and kicked a ball right at Phil Dowd though.. Especially if he caught it someplace good..

  32. @leftcoast and Shard

    Now Giorgio Chiellini is the type of guy I’d like to see. Watching Juve this year there hasn’t been many bright spots, but its clear to me he has the kind of toughness that would do well in the EPL.

    For an example, check out the Juve game @ Lech Poznan in the snow during the group stage of this year’s Europa League. While all the other Italians were wrapped up head to toe (and all the guys on the Polish side in shorts and short sleeves), Chiellini was strutting around like it was the middle of July.

    In a game against Roma, he suffered a head injury and was bleeding but got his head wrapped and was back on the pitch in just a few minutes. Toward the end of the match, the ref tried to get him to go off for more attention when the blood started seeping through the bandage, but he barked at him to keep the game going. He plopped down on the field and wouldn’t budge til the official said play on.

    Now that’s the kind of guy I wouldn’t mind on the back line for the gunners. Or by my side in a bar fight.

  33. Two words : Mamadou Sakho.

    Chiellini would be fantastic; without doubt one of the top 3-4 CB’s in the world. But I can’t see Juve letting him go for less than 20; which is a ridiculous price for a CB.

    Denilson is as good as gone. He is now, in my opinion, our seventh choice CM. Considering the club would be able to sell him off for 3-5m, I think it’s highly probable he’ll be in different colours next season.

  34. @Gruggy
    That dude is baaaaad oh.
    talk about jens wearing #13 Sakho was born on a friday the 13th and acts like it.
    I think we would be lucky to sign him though.
    PSG seem to be playing Barca against us for a bidding war and you know how totally chincey
    Le Boss can be. But yea, he would be great.
    Who could we 4m for Denilson from? I mean besides Harry Rednapp.

  35. It’s time for a change, seen it all before. Wenger needs to go upstairs, David Dean needs to come after the club is taken over. A better balance is needed in the team, to many mentally and physically weak players promoted by arsene. Change is in the wind. A take over is about to happen.

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