I’ll explain what I mean shortly but first things first today I must apologise for the absence of a post for yesterday. I had got home from work and was all ready to start writing when I was hit by a pretty bad bout of sushi-induced vomiting. It was a pretty awful part of my life and I hope you can accept my sincere apologies. And before anyone tries to tell me it wasn’t the sushi’s fault my also-vomiting girlfriend might want to have a word with you.
Anyway, I haven’t had any sushi today and I’m feeling quite good so I’ll get straight into it by explaining that confusing headline.
William Gallas has been talking about such things as his form and his credentials as captain of Arsenal. He reckons he’s been playing pretty well lately and went on to say that the only reason people haven’t picked up on it is because up until the Manchester United game we hadn’t been winning. Funny that. He also asked a question that every Arsenal supporter and his dog have been asking all season after providing the answer to his own question a sentence earlier.
Still confused? Observe:
“What I really liked about last Saturday (against Manchester United) was how hard everyone worked. We really put pressure on them for the whole game and you saw the result. Maybe we haven’t done that enough this season. We have shown we can do it against United, so why can’t we do it in every game from now?”
I personally don’t mind Gallas as a captain but I tend to agree with the general suggestion that he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. His reason for why we beat United – hard work – is precisely what has been lacking in the performances against Fulham, Sunderland and Stoke in particular. As a result, his question of why his side can’t do it in every game is a peculiar one given he has already provided the answer as to why or why not they can.
A lack of depth in the squad aside, it all comes down to effort. The team needs to treat games against Wigan, Middlesbrough and West Brom with as much important as games against Manchester United or Chelsea. Winning games against ‘smaller sides’ takes a unique type of motivation and at the moment it is Liverpool and Chelsea who have that motivation. And although this weekend’s game against Aston Villa hardly falls into the ‘smaller side’ category it is a good chance for our boys to show that last Saturday wasn’t a once-off and that they’re really up for this title fight.
Injury news ahead of the game is quite good. Robin van Persie continues his suspension while Eduardo, Tomas Rosicky and Emmanuel Eboue are definitely out. Manuel Almunia is 70:30 to play after his head knock against United while Emmanuel Adebayor is a shock 50:50 chance to line-up just two weeks after he injured his ankle.
Just reading the tone of the manager’s pre-game interview I personally think Almunia will get the nod while Adebayor won’t be risked. That could leave the team looking identical to the one that beat United which wouldn’t be too bad at all. They say you shouldn’t change a winning side and while I can imagine a few Arsenal fans would love to see Carlos Vela get a start tomorrow I tend to think the Nicklas Bendtner-Abou Diaby combination up front should be the way to go.
It’s a vital game against a club which I believe has the talent to beat any club in the league on their day. Villa are in a bit of a rut after strange losses to Fulham and Newcastle and they’ll want to get their Champions League assault back on track at the Emirates. Last season’s fixture was one of my favourites as Mathieu Flamini (*tear*) and Adebayor scored goals to cancel out Villa’s opener. We were on a real roll at that stage and it was probably the last time we played a really great game.
I should mention before I go that tomorrow is my birthday and as such, I might end up missing the game. I haven’t decided yet whether I’m going to drag all my non-football loving friends to the pub to watch the game with me or do something that’s a little more conducive to creating a more positive group dynamic so we’ll have to wait and see.
In the meantime all that’s left to say is come on you Gunners!
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