Happy Friday folks. We travel to Swansea for a 3pm kick-off tomorrow of course, and I would say it’s a chance for Arsenal to get back on track after getting spanked by lower league opposition in midweek, but I won’t, because it wasn’t our first-choice selection who were derailed was it? It was ‘an Arsenal XI’ containing just a couple of players who are likely to play tomorrow.
So a far more appropriate opening to this post would be: We travel to Swansea for a 3pm kick-off tomorrow of course, as Arsenal look to secure their fifth consecutive Premier League win to ensure they remain at least level on points with Manchester City at the top of the table.
It won’t be easy, what with Swansea being a good side and us having to scour the deepest depths of our squad to find a player to play on the right, but I’m still pretty confident we can grab a win.
The vast majority of the team will have had a full week to prepare for the game following last Saturday’s win over Everton, and although we haven’t beaten Swansea in our last three meetings, having lost both league games last season and drawn the one before that, the side we field tomorrow, despite numerous injured absentees, should still be a very strong one.
It looks as though Joel Campbell will get the nod on the right and the way he chased back several times to win back possession against Sheffield Wednesday fills me with hope that even if he struggles with the attacking side of things, he’ll at least track back diligently. After all, providing Hector Bellerin with defensive support could well be crucial if Swansea’s Jefferson Montero is in the same kind of mood as he was in this fixture last season.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference earlier today, Arsene Wenger spoke about having a strong enough squad to cope with our current spate of injures, praised Campbell’s professionalism and challenged the Costa Rican international to follow in the footsteps of Bellerin and Francis Coquelin last season, by showing he has the quality to cement a first-team starting spot. He said:
It is always disappointing to lose players but we are equipped first of all with the quality of our squad and we are equipped mentally as well to deal with anything. My short-term option is [to play] Campbell or get one more defensive midfielder in like Flamini and put Cazorla on the flank. I haven’t decided yet. We will find solutions and I have to find the right one. I have been very impressed with Campbell, his attitude is outstanding and his daily dedication in training and his desire to improve is absolutely outstanding. I think he can be a big help for us, and he can play centre forward don’t forget that. In the coming two to three months he can be a very important player for us. This is a challenge for me and for the players who come in to show their quality. At the end you can find yourself with a bigger squad – that is what happened with Coquelin and Bellerin last season.
So Joel has to get in while he can, because when the walking wounded in our squad start filtering back to full fitness, he’ll find himself slipping back down the pecking order and out of contention unless he can show he has what it takes at this level over the next few weeks or so. In terms of his career at the club, it really could be be a case of now or never. No pressure then.
A very brief offering today because I’m afraid I’m as short on time tonight as Jose Mourinho will be as manager of Chelsea football club if they lose to Liverpool tomorrow. Come on Liverpool, put him out of his misery.
But more than that, COYG!