It’s been one hell of an interlull hasn’t it? What a daft time of the season for it too. We are barrelling towards the business end of the season, Wigan are on their end of season survival charge and Arsenal have the top four spot within their reach once again.

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We play Reading today in a game that could offer a serious amount of consternation. Given our previous results against Reading I would be seriously confident, but the shock departure of Brian McDermott and the subsequent installation of Nigel Adkins has changed the landscape for this game. In a bizarre tale of two manager that both did extremely well to get their sides promoted, both were let down by bizarre club management. I am pleased that Nigel Adkins got another shot at top-class management, he’s a likeable, honest guy and he deserved much better than the treatment he received at Southampton.

Adkins recorded some shock results this season, he’s tactically astute and knows how to get the best out of his players. Looking at the Southampton squad, it’s hardly packed with superstars but they were set up well and competed well. I expect more of the same from Reading. Adkins has had the international break to bed in and work with the players available to him.

Defensively this season we have been massively consistent, but in recent fixtures there has been a marked improvement and I hope we can carry this on today. Reading are a team that will fight and fight until the last whistle and we need to be prepared for that. We need to be strong, believe in our football and show that same fight from now until the end of the season

I expect us to line up a bit like this

21
Fabianski
17
Nacho Monreal
6
Koscielny
4
BFG
3
Sagna
8
Arteta
16
Ramsey
19
Cazorla
9
Podolski
12
Giroud
14
Walcott

 

This is the first of a run of winnable games if we apply the correct focus and fight in the same way we did against Bayern and Swansea. Three points is the basic requirement today.

My thoughts go out to Abou Diaby who has suffered a Cruciate Ligament injury and will be out for 9 months. It seems the player just cannot stay fit. A massive shame for a player who clearly has talent, but his body is letting him down at the moment. I just hope that he can recover his fitness and work out a regime that will allow him to keep playing football. It irks me no end that this all goes back to that daft, violent challenge by Dan Smith. I wonder if he even cares what he did.

Come on you Gooners, do it for Abou.

WG