Another terrible doomsday weekend has gone by, and Arsenal will now play their fourth game in 11 days, as they welcome West Ham to the Emirates.
Two defeats on the bounce sees us way off the leaders in the pack. So, surely the tiniest, minutest, littlest chances that we had of, erm, winning the league are gone out of the window. And, now we face an uphill battle even for what we consider our pre-requisite requirement at the start of the season, which is finishing in the top 4.
Chelsea have now created a huge gap between themselves and us, 11 points at the moment, while Sp*rs themselves are 7 points ahead of us. Everton move 4 points ahead of us, after their goalless draw at Southampton.
Liverpool and West Brom are breathing down our necks, having equaled our points tally, and it could be one of those seasons, where it could all come down to the wire. Tonight’s game brings with it even more importance, considering it is our game in hand, and a chance to stay in pace.
While there has been no lack of effort against Manchester City and Chelsea, costly errors have cost us. Whether it was Laurent Koscielny cuddling Edin Dzeko or the poor positional play against Chelsea, far too many individual errors are costing us dear.
Team news, then. Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta and now Francis Coquelin remain sidelined, meaning a shortage of personnel in midfield. Abou Diaby could be given a rest, for reasons you already know. I could see Aaron Ramsey starting tonight. Lukas Podolski returns after his illness, and should start in a front three comprising Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott. Sagna has looked fatigued in the past few weeks, but there will be no respite for him. Probably he will get a rest over the weekend, when Arsenal travel to Brighton.
Andy Carroll, James Collins and George McCartney are ruled out for the Hammers, while Modibo Maiga is sidelined. Arsenal will also probably have a closer look at *cough* Mohamed Diame *cough*. Marouane Chamakh will watch from the sidelines, yet again, at the Emirates Stadium.
Here is how I expect the teams to line up.
Don’t be surprised to see West Ham playing a defensive formation and trying to stifle out Arsenal, in an attempt to play long balls and utilize their target men Kevin Nolan and Carlton Cole. It could be another physically challenging game for Arsenal’s defence, and one they should be up for.
Arsenal could be overpowered in midfield, but should utilize Walcott’s pace to good effect to create goalscoring opportunities. 3 points, needless to say, is a must.
Enjoy the game wherever you are!
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