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The Untold Preview (Or, How Many Times Can You Mention Arsenal.com Citing Untold?)

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“Making the Arsenal”the book of Arsenal’s rebirth

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By Phil Gregory

Excellent work from Tony, Walter and other valued contributors have kept Untold ticking over during the barren wasteland that is the international break. Well them, and Sepp Blatter who said some very foolish things and rightly got taken to task by Rio Ferdinand on twitter, of all places.

Not that anyone English can be on a high horse about these things given the presence of John Terry in the England squad. Of course, he is innocent until proven guilty as it should be, but any other industry would’ve put him on “gardening leave” or “review” or some such thing to avoid the controversy.

Talking of racism, it is sad to see Kenny Dalglish fully supporting Luis Suarez despite his recent FA charge over the Evra racism affair. If Kenny feels he has to back his man due to the team nature of football, he could at least not do so in the public eye of the press conference… such actions rally wider support around Suarez, and then we all miss the point that racism is racism, regardless of which team the accused come from. Good to see your little Ingerlund recruits are doing so well Kenny, by the way. So much for Moneyball and meritocracy with Damien Comolli and his American friends!

Leaving aside such debates however, the blight of international football fortunately did not add to our list of injured players, and yet bizarrely we have managed to have an increase in the number of absentees. Gibbs has undergone hernia surgery after originally having an abdominal problem, for one. I feel sorry for the lad, he’s moving towards the Louis Saha category of fragile footballers, and there is a heated debate as to who is the more injury prone: Gibbs or Manchester United’s Fabio Da Silva, who can barely finish a match unscathed.

The other injury is Carl Jenkinson, who is out for three to four weeks. That is a real shame as he was starting to grow into the right back role and was looking like a solid stand-in for Sagna. I blame Arsenal.com for tempting karma by quoting Walter’s excellent article on Jenkinson’s recent progress, personally. As for the rest, Chamakh is fit and in the mixer for the weekend, whilst Diaby is back in full training but short of match fitness after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Writing on Arsenal.com, Tony jested that he didn’t know much about Norwich aside from the car park. Well, he’s got me beat there, as I know even less of these Premier League newcomers. It wouldn’t however be very Untold Arsenal to offer you precisely zero insight, so let’s have a look at some numbers. Norwich are tenth in a “home” league table which is respectable for a newly promoted side, but flatters them slightly as the fixtures weren’t the trickiest (arguably the most difficult was Stoke at home, a side that travels relatively poorly).

Arsenal on the other hand have only won a single away game this year, you know, that one across London the other week I think it was? That perhaps doesn’t bode too well for the Gunners, but to be fair to us, we should’ve taken the three points from a high flying Newcastle side if the referee did his job, with similar true at Blackburn (despite some dodgy defending on our aprt) and the Spurs game neither here nor there. Either way, Arsenal’s performances on the road this year could give Norwich a cause for confidence, but if that makes them come out and attack us then all the better!

Szcznesy

Djourou Koscielny Vermaelen Santos

Song Arteta

Ramsey

Walcott Van Persie Gervinho

Injuries will likely force Arsène to play Djourou as a makeshift right back for this game. It’s not ideal as the Swiss international hasn’t the pace to deal with the league’s quickest wingers, but defensively he should do fine overall.

The real loss is going forwards – you can always spot a centreback playing fullback over a genuine right back very easily. They get forward less, wary of getting caught out through perhaps a lack of pace, and are generally less effective when they do go forward. Perhaps we’ll focus our offence down the left, with Santos bombing forwards constantly and Djourou forming more of a back three as the defence shifts across to cover for Andre? It could be worth a try to maximise Santos’s attacking ability.

The rest of the back four is as you’d expect: I don’t think there’s a need to move Koscielny away from the middle to try him at right back, so I think we’ll see him in the middle with Vermaelen. Gibbs’ latest injury setback offers Santos another start.

The midfield three is what I imagine is our first choice, given the injury to Jack. Further forward, a familiar front three take up their usual positions. As a trio, I really like all of them. Gervinho in particular offers us the penetration that we needed against some park the bus sides last year – he beats his man and gets to the by-line, causing all sorts of chaos. There were questions over his final ball at the start of the season but he’s proving to be a great acquisition.

We’ve got the early game on Sky, and for once I’ll be able to watch it given my Saturday League side have been cancelled on by their opposition. Not that I’m happy with such a cancellation, but every cloud has a silver lining as they say.

On the whole, I’m not entirely sure what to expect from this game. Norwich, are doing really well this season, but an Arsenal performing to the best of their ability should have too much for them. 0-2 to the Arsenal for me.

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11 comments to The Untold Preview (Or, How Many Times Can You Mention Arsenal.com Citing Untold?)

  • sweeper

    i’m going to go for it and punt 7-2 to arsenal. it’s gonna be one of those lol

  • Gord

    Thanks for the prediction.

    No mention of Suarez biting opponents in the past?

    If a person gets injured only occasionally, getting injured allows them time to run things through their head and learn. Kieran Gibbs has been injured too much in the past, he doesn’t need (more) time to reflect on play. It’s too bad that Jenkinson became injured, but hopefully he can use the time off to reflect on things? I do hope that Gibbs isn’t someone that always gets injured. Rehab is not fun.

    If one of the center backs has to deputize at right back, I would just as soon see them stay home. Arsenal has lots of attacking ability. Adjusting to the lack of a right back that isn’t mobile should not be a problem (or rather, if it is a problem, they need to improve on that, the same for left back, or both outside backs).

    Being in Canada, I know nothing about Norwich, let alone the car park. But where was the car park information? Oh well. Hopefully we will at least hear about the food at the game later on.

    I wish Arsenal all the best, and hopefully no new injuries. And a win would be nice too.

  • Fedda

    Koscielny – Per – Verm – Santos will be our back four. Pretty certain after seeing the pictures from training yesterday. Norwich have been good, should be a tough game.

  • Actually re Gibbs and his injuries, remember that for several years we had loads of anti-Arsenal Arsenal fans saying that van Persie was a waste of space because he had glass ankles. Rubbish, get rid of him, buy someone else.

    Now he is T. Henry II in terms of scoring ability (have you seen just how few people have scored 30 in one calendar year) we’re a one man team. If Theo could become Pires II that would show them.

  • Tony: my worry with Gibbs is that he seems to get a variety of injuries. At least with Robin at the stary they were all muscular, so once they found out the problem was his wisdom teeth (if I remember right!) it was resolved.

    Poor old Gibbs just seems hugely fragile. Perhaps it is bad luck and they aren’t inter-related, as Robin’s ankle ligament injury was the other season. Hopefully Gibbs is getting all his bad luck now, and he’ll be injury free for the rest of his career… but he’s missing out on so much pitch time for development unfortunately.

  • Great shout from Fedda on the defensive line-up! Kos did well out there.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Because of how Santos plays, did we go 3-4-3 in peoples’ opinions? It seems Walcott not having to cover for a marauding right back makes him more effective. I would suppose because he’s better 1 on 1 rather than part of 2 vs 2.

  • Gord

    I guess that was Wenger’s 200’th away win. Congratulations. And RVP is doing very well. It would be nice if some of Gervinho’s shots would go in. It isn’t like he passes to RVP when he has a scoring chance more than he should.

    I see a number of the blog sites are talking about Wenger thinking about leaving at the end of the season. There is already a rebuttal at arsenal.com. Taking words out of context again is how I read it.

    Tony: okay, I found your car park story. Just a bad design for egress?

  • Mandy Dodd

    The run continues! We created a lot of chances but went behind. The team showed alot of steel to finish off a gutsy opponent like that.
    We cannot take wins for granted against anyone in this league, however some of the AAA must be counting the days until we play City hoping for us to slip up then and justifying their stance. But if we keep on like this, they will be crying into their black scarves at Xmas.

    In Arsene, we gather dust, or whatever they say!

  • critic

    gibbs’ hernia operation is totally unfortunate. In CL, i think last year some1 broke his metatarsal again unfortunate. All the other muscular injuries happened due to being out for so long.

    Fortunately ‘whatever doesn’t kill u, makes u stronger’ holds true and gibbs is quite young to come out stronger from all these injuries.