In last season’s corresponding fixture, Liverpool won their first game over Arsenal in eleven attempts over eleven and a half years. Needless to say it is critical that a repeat of that blip doesn’t happen tonight.
In terms of our squad we are looking pretty healthy. Available for selection tonight after resting at the weekend is Wilshire, Walcott, Cazorla as well as Vermaelen is fit following his ankle injury. I am excited to see how we get on tonight. Cazorla always seems to have a storming game after a good rest, so I am looking forward to him ripping them apart. It is a good time for our forwards to be hitting form and in Giroud and Walcott, we can certainly feel confident of a goal or two.
We are short of a couple of quality additions, more so as we have significantly weakened our squad by loaning out players who can do a job for us, especially Frimpong who I feel offers a bit of steel in our midfield and has been knocking on the door for a while. I totally understand sending him off on loan to play Premier League football, to learn and to grow. Stunting his growth by leaving him on the bench hurts us more than helps, but we need to replace him with a quality player.
I understand Arsène when he says he doesn’t want to stifle young players coming through. A large part of our ability to attract top, young talent is based on the fact that if you are good enough, age is irrelevant and Arsène will back you. Can there really be no one out there that we could get on loan for 6 months? Or a short-term contract? I admit, I’m feeling a tad uncomfortable about the current squad. I feel we lack a bit of experience in the middle which leaves us irresponsibly light at the back when the opposition are counter-attacking.
Liverpool are a side that likes to control possession, to play the ball on the ground and play through teams. The type of side that plays to our strengths too. They aren’t formidable through the middle of the park and with the exception of Gerrard and the loathsome Suarez, lack any real world-class talent. Make no bones about it, I hold less concern about this result than the game against Brighton that I felt could hold some surprises. Liverpool won’t surprise us. We need to do our research, get someone mobile like Koscielny tight to Suarez and Ramsey/Diaby on Gerrard and Liverpool will struggle to affect the game.
Liverpool are not a walk-over but they are a familiar foe and familiarity breeds complacency. We need to be focussed, we need to setup a real run of form now. We have big-big games coming up and we start tonight. A victory tonight would put us one point off fourth spot, Arsène’s current Holy Grail. I cannot fathom why the signing of Walcott constitutes a success in sealing the quality signings that we need to strengthen. We are horrendously short of a real defensive midfielder in our side and that could really make a difference for us.
Is Arsene short-sighted, or does he really believe that Ramsey can do the role? He has done well in the last two games, but I just don’t think his instincts suit the role. Only time will really tell, but I don’t want us to go out of the Champions League to Bayern as part of an experiment when a purchase of Lee Cattermole, or some other nasty (but incredibly good at what they do) defensive midfielder who would take a game like that by the scruff off the neck. Bear in mind, that player wouldn’t need to play every week, but in those games that Arsène feels that a defensive midfielder is required.
Top sides have quality defensive midfielders. They all do. It’s not a mystery or a secret. Arsène’s most successful years at Arsenal involved three of the best defensive midfielders to wear the shirt, Petit, Vieira and Gilberto Silva. Were they the best players with the ball? Not in comparison to the likes of Bergkamp or Pires but in their role they didn’t have many peers of the same ability.
We miss a Gilberto Silva every single game. Every single game a run from the opposition gets through that should be stopped. Enough of this though, we have talented players who can win tonight and that is all that matters in the very short term.
Come on you Gooner’s we have invited the bin-dippers to Arsenal. Lets give ’em a right welcome and then a decent spanking to send ’em home!!