Tommy Guns For Long Arsenal Future & Marseille Preview
English football’s navel must be very interesting since so much time is spent contemplating it. Whether it be the ill-advised appeal against Wayne Rooney’s recent red card or the folly of abandoning relegation and promotion, there is much to see in the bloated belly.
It is hard to see why the LMA were so upset with the thought of a closed shop. After all, is it not the case that a number of managers lose their employment because of the threat – real or perceived – of relegation? It would, I suggest, be the only thing other than winning silverware to give some stability in the profession.
Personally, I find the thought of being stuck with likes of Bolton and Stoke most horrifying of all.
As for Arsenal, well, tonight they meet Olympique Marseille for the first time in any match, as far as I can find, which is surprising given the history of the two sides. That they have not met during Wenger‘s reign is not surprising given his personal history with the French side and it would be of little surprise for him to desire a win even more than normal, no matter how much he may protest otherwise.
He received a boost in the form of Thomas Vermaelen extending his contract. Of the four key players whose contracts expire in the next season and a half, his renewal is least surprising. Having missed a season of football, I feel that the Belgian believes he has something to prove, perhaps sub-consciously he feels he owes the club a debt in view of the absences since his arrival.
As key as his signing is, there is more to it than just ink on paper. It changes the atmosphere, slightly but tangibly. Instead of gloom, there is a shaft of light breaking through the swirling clouds overhead, clouds that became a little less grey at the weekend with a win. Players are, as the manager put it, no longer perceived as wanting to be out of the door.
Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott would nail that lie completely if they followed the same contractual path as Vermaelen. The only one of the quartet whom I would have reservations about extending their stay is Andrey Arshavin.
He is of an age and calibre that demands first team football. Obviously that needs to be translated into consistent performances on the pitch for the outcome to be realised and yet he seems to be second choice for the wide left attacking role behind Gervinho. With time to rectify that situation, there is no immediate concern, just a nagging doubt.
Wenger is certain that the event is a clear signal of the club’s unity,
When you listen to people it looks like an exodus with everybody leaving the Club but we are a happy club. We did not have the start of the season that we wanted but the atmosphere inside the Club is very solid, very united and very positive.
We want to turn the results round and the fact that some players extend their contract at the moment is a positive sign for us.
We are unified and that is down to our mental strengths. This club has traditionally shown mental strength under pressure and I would just like to say that we have been under pressure since the start of the season but in the big games we always managed to find the resources to respond well
Tonight is just that. Marseille have a good record against English clubs at home, only Liverpool have won there whilst Chelsea and United returned with one point and no goals scored between them last season. It won’t be easy but their domestic form is of more concern than Arsenal’s, one win and six draws from their ten Ligue Un fixtures is poor. That win incidentally was a month ago.
I would not expect too many changes from Sunday’s victory over Sunderland. Andre Santos will replace Kieran Gibbs but that may be it. Perhaps Tomas Rosicky will step aside for Aaron Ramsey with the Czech being a second half substitute but even that change is not certain, nor entirely necessary.
Indeed, the only justification would be that Rosicky is not capable of three games a week at this stage of his career, something that is at once hard and easy to believe. He was pivotal in the second half dominance of the Wearsiders and I would certainly start with him for tonight’s game.
The line-up I would go with is:
Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Santos; Song, Arteta, Rosicky; Walcott, van Persie, Gervinho
Whilst Arshavin was lively as a substitute, Gervinho is more direct in style and may feel more comfortable with his Ligue Un experience. Whatever the case, a win would be a boost to the confidence. Consecutive wins is not a familiar feeling in 2011 for Arsenal and such an occurrence would be a welcome boost in this match.
Recent seasons have seen Arsenal struggle on their travels in Europe. A good draw in Dortmund is something to build upon, especially since six points against Marseille would put Arsenal into the driving seat as far as qualifying at the top of the group is concerned.
Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.
Posted on October 19, 2011, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 388 Comments.