By Walter Broeckx
After the boring interlul matches we finally can have something to look forward too. Arsenal players have flown in from all over the world and we have a match to play on Saturday.
Alas, what I had hoped for hasn’t materialised. I had hoped for a return of Ramsey and The Ox but Wenger today in his press conference said that both would be not available yet. There is one player returning and that is Bellerin. So at least one of my favourite players has come back from injury.
For the moment I am not aware of any news about the possible return of Ramsey and The Ox. Is it a question of days or a week(s?) Let us hope that we find out as soon as possible. They might be in touching distance of being completely fit but maybe the medical staff is not prepared to take any risks with them for the moment.
That would be a wise thing to do. The season is still long and if leaving them out for another week or so would mean they would be more (one cannot exclude an injury completely of course) injury free for the rest of the season then this is the time to keep them out of the team.
We are playing against WBA this Saturday and although you want to have the full team ready, one must accept this will not be possible for most of the matches.
WBA is not an easy place to go too. We mostly have close encounters with them and have to dig deep to get some points over there. But we also have some good memories as we secured our place in the CL at their ground in the last match of the season. The last match of Pat Rice on the bench with Wenger. We all remember at one moment Wenger even laying his head on Rice his shoulder after WBA almost scored (or was it us missing a chance? )
But it might not be an easy place to go but we sure should aim to get the 3 points there. Something we always aim for in fact but even without The Ox and Ramsey we should be good enough to get the 3 points.
With only Alexis being heavily loaded in the last 14 days some of the other players will have had a nice rest. Özil being one of the most important players to have had a good rest. Let us hope that he has fresher legs now and that he can guide us to a few goals.
Next Tuesday we play our next match already against Dinamo Zagreb in the CL. I do hope that the players ignore this match completely. For me the PL is the most important thing at the moment. We must make sure that from now till the match against Manchester City we keep our place at the top. A match against City in December with the two teams who are 1st and 2nd would be great. Certainly as there will be a group of Arsenal Belgium in the stadium for that match.
But in order to be there at the top we need to win the matches till that day. Some of the other teams at the top are playing each other in the next weeks and so we need to make sure that we capitalise on any dropped points from those teams.
If all goes well one could even dream of making a little gap between ourselves and some rivals by the end of December. Manchester City playing Liverpool this weekend might result in both dropping points. The week after that Manchester City will be playing Southampton and that could be tricky match for City as they will have to play in the CL also next week. Note that Manchester City is playing at home twice and Arsenal will be away twice in a week we play in the CL. In that weekend Leicester play at home against Manchester United (who also have to play away twice – SAF has gone I think) and that will surely make one or both losing points.
The Tiny Totts play at home twice. Against West Ham and against Chelsea. Tricky fixtures for them but West Ham is rather unlucky to have lost Payet for a few months.
With Arsenal playing away twice in what on paper looks winnable matches we might take some advantage of the other results. BUT the most important thing will be to make sure that the team is really focussed to get the needed results in the matches in the PL.
And as we know there are no easy fixtures in the PL. We have a reasonably good away form this season so far. We played 6 of our 12 matches away and we won 5 of them and lost only one to Mike Dean. When we have played 14 PL matches we will have played 8 matches away from home. So we will have played more matches away from home than most teams. Something that we might benefit from later in the season when we will have more matches at home at some stage in the season.
Apart from the little disappointment about The Ox and Ramsey not being fit yet I am confident that the team will work their socks off to take the 3 points back to London. But hey, Hector Bellerin is back. Can he not play up front with Debuchy behind him for this match? I sure would give it a try. But well I’m not Wenger and I don’t think he will listen to me. But he sure could cause problems for WBA with his pace and skills.
20 November 1999: Arsenal beat Middlesbrough 5-1. Overmars got three and Berkgamp two, to make it four wins and a draw in the last five. In the next match, Thierry Henry scored for Arsenal for the first time.
20 November 2010: Arsenal lost 2-3 to Tottenham (Nasri and Chamakh scoring) making it two home defeats out of two in the month. However away from home Arsenal won three in a row.
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