Are Wigan-er Win The League Or Just Forget About It?
Arsène takes the team to the DW Stadium knowing that a win will keep a mathematical chance of winning the title alive. Tottenham winning over Chelsea has done that but for the dream to be realised, Arsenal need to win their matches with a positive goal difference over the results of the top two by fourteen goals or more, as things currently stand.
Matching the five without reply that United scored at Wigan earlier in the season would be a good start, sending a message to the top two that the fight is not over yet. A tall order for a patched up side.
Robin van Persie has been criticised in some quarters for being injury-prone, his manager defending him over the absence this season which was not his fault, acknowledging the Dutchman’s absence has been costly.
Too frequently, players are cast aside because of injury but most when they reach ‘footballing’ maturity find the non-contact injuries diminish in frequency, Steven Gerrard the most obvious example in the Premier League. His early career at Liverpool was marred by frequent absences but many of their recent seasons have been driven on primarily by him.
The papers this morning are full of transfer talk. Cesc is staying according to Alex Song; Hugo Rodallega thinks that Arsène has been stalking him but still wants to sign for Arsenal; Eduardo is off to Lyon in the summer for £7.5m – soon to be adjusted with the Croat a ‘makeweight’ in the ‘imminent’ signing of Lloris – as Arsène rates Carlos Vela more. All of which is to funded by a transfer budget of £35m – £60m depending on which media outlet you choose to believe.
The arrival of Chamakh was all but confirmed by the manager as something to be starting with. Leaving is Fran Merida, according to reports in Spain he has agreed to sign with Atletico de Madrid although the Spanish media is the least reliable of sources.
Much of the speculation has been caused by Peter Hill-Wood’s observations that there is a Co-op Bag for Life stuffed full of used twenties beneath Ivan Gazidis desk and a jar full of used coppers atop. Nobody knows how much Wenger really has to spend, save for a few at the club with the papers using a few loose words to boost their content.
Wenger railed against the wages paid by Chelsea, for once agreeing with aims of Uefa. Not that the introduction of so-called ‘financial doping’ controls will do much in this respect. Nearly forty years ago, Arsenal tried to sign Johan Cruyff and had a deal agreed with Pepsi or Coca-Cola (I cannot remember which) for them to cover off a portion of his wages themselves in return for ‘promotional activities’. This type of deal is simply going to be more prevalent for the exceptional players.
Back to this afternoon. Injuries have taken their toll and the defence is arguably Arsène’s biggest issue. Silvestre and Campbell is a less than ideal starting pair, age has diminished their pace and both have made mistakes which have cost goals. Campbell though has shown positional sense to compensate, something lacking in the Frenchman’s game centrally.
Whichever options Wenger has are flawed since it would involve moving a full back to the centre or playing an inexperienced defender. The former of those choices would seem to be the more preferable, with Sagna partnering Campbell and Eboue slotting in at right back.
There is not much scope for change further up the pitch. Having seen the impact of the attacking players on Wednesday, Wenger may decide to be adventurous. It would be a surprise if Robin van Persie did not start, forming an attacking trio with Walcott and Bendtner.
In midfield, Alex Song continues to be absent so the trio of Diaby, Nasri and Denilson would be favourites to start. If the latter does not recover in time, Craig Eastmond would probably start. Having performed reasonably well in his previous outings, there are calls from certain quarters for him to be pushed ahead of Denilson.
The Brazilian’s Arsenal career is definitely following the path trodden by Song, albeit from a higher starting point. No matter what he does, those who dislike him are always going to be complaining about his inclusion in the starting XI. How this attitude benefits the player(s) is beyond me, negativity towards one individual is picked up and in the same way as with the booing of Eboue, a little love is lost from the pitch to the stands.
The line-up I would like to see Wenger start with is:
Almunia; Eboue, Sagna, Campbell, Clichy; Denilson, Nasri, Diaby; Walcott, Bendtner, van Persie
The XI he will probably go for though is:
Almunia; Sagna, Campbell, Silvestre, Clichy; Denilson, Nasri, Diaby; Eboue, Bendtner, Rosicky
Attitude though is key this afternoon. The title is not entirely lost, winning made considerably harder by a lacklustre hour at White Hart Lane. This afternoon needs whichever of the likes of Diaby, Nasri, Denilson, Walcott and Rosicky who plays, to assert themselves individually and collectively, driving the ball forwards quickly. Wenger criticised the performance on Wednesday for moving the ball too slowly. That has to be rectified to see the effectiveness of the formation maximised.
For once, the pitch is reportedly in good shape. The campaign in 2007/08 buckled somewhat in a tepid goalless draw on a recently ploughed field, something which is unacceptable in the modern era of football. Wigan appears to have solved the problem and that can only be beneficial for Arsenal. It is up to the players to deliver, to show they desire the title and will capitalise on mistakes by those above them. Bringing the deficit down to three points puts pressure back on Chelsea and United.
Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ‘til Tomorrow.
Posted on April 18, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Rumours, Wigan Athletic. Bookmark the permalink. 564 Comments.