By Walter Broeckx
It seems only a moment ago when we lost our first home game of the season against Anthony Taylor back in August and here we are at the end of the season already. To come back to this exceptional performance I would like to note that this was even a bridge too far for the PGMOL I think. Or it might be possible that Arsenal have strongly protested behind the scenes. The major result however was that as far as I could check we haven’t seen Taylor again in an Arsenal match for the rest of the season. I must say this is an exceptional thing. Not that I regret it of course.
But here we are just before the last league match of the season. A match with no real importance for Arsenal. Of course there is always an importance. As there are 3 points at stake. And if we would get those 3 points I think we will have our best league finish in the last years with the highest points total in any case. So getting to those 79 points barrier would be better than to end with 76 or 77 points.
For one player there is really something big still to win. This is more of an individual trophy: The Golden Glove. Arsenal and Chelsea or should I say Szczesny and Cech are tied with 15 clean sheets so far. But as Cech has played fewer matches he has better stats than Szczesny. So Arsenal not conceding a goal would mean that Szczesny wins the golden glove in an undisputed way. I sure would want us to win that trophy to be honest. It will be a nice moment for our Polish goalkeeper and might shut up the ‘we need to buy a world class keeper’ brigade.
Now to do this Wenger might just put up his usual defenders in front of the keeper and this might be enough to keep the clean sheet. Norwich has only scored 28 goals so far this season and this is one of the reasons they will play one division lower next season. Mathematically they still have a chance to avoid relegation. If the would win with 18-0 or so against Arsenal and if WBA would lose their final match they could save themselves. I don’t think that even the most optimistic Norwich supporter will hope for such an outcome.
So with Norwich scoring not a lot of goals and with our usual defence we might be able to keep the clean sheet.
But the question is : will Wenger play his regular defence in this match?
How much I would want Szczesny to win the golden glove…..I think the most important thing is our match from next Saturday. You know the Fa cup final match. This is the match that is much more important.
To be honest if you would ask me now I would say: Oh, Wenger just play the U21. Or the U19. Or the U14. I don’t care what we do against Norwich. I just want all our players and certainly our most important players to be fit for the cup final next week.
We all must remember the last time we were in a cup final. I know, sorry to bring this painful memory up but we must. Because on Wednesday before the final we had to play Stoke. And we lost Fabregas early in that match with a hamstring injury and our captain couldn’t play in the final. A big loss. And we must also remember that Robin Van Persie was not completely fit when we started that final. And he injured himself when scoring for Arsenal in the first half. And had to go off. I think those two injuries cost us the cup that day.
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So I do hope we have learned a lesson from this. Maybe it is better to say who I really don’t want to start in the match at Norwich. Players that we could put on the bench of course in case we want to give them some playing time. But only if we are sure we don’t risk their limbs.
So for me we should leave these players out of the starting line up: Mertesacker – Koscielny – Arteta – Ramsey – Özil – Giroud – Cazorla and Podolski. I know this is 8 players from our usual starting line up. But I think these are the players we should be able to field at the start of the cup final.
So who to play then?
Szczesny (to win his golden glove and Fabianski will start the cup final I think)
Jenksinson – Sagna – Vermaelen – Monreal (Sagna central and give Gibbs a little run later in the match)
Flamini – Kallstrom – Diaby – Wilshere – Rosicky in a very rotational midfield with Flamini and Kallstrom hanging back a bit and the others doing the attack.
And up front I would play Sanogo as the striker.
Experimental? Yes it sure is. But I rather have an experiment like this than to lose one of our important players for the cup final. I know it might be a bit asked too much for Wilshere and Diaby to play the full 90 minutes. But I think Jack will be very determined to prove that he is fully match fit with one eye to the Fa cup final but with another looking at the England squad.
Looking at this team… hell I even could suggest to put Bellering in at right back, move Jenkinson to the middle along Vermaelen and give Sagna also a rest.
Of course this might look now as I am completely not interested in us getting points in our final game. And for the moment this feeling is ruling my feelings.
But I do know one thing. Come the start of the game I will be my usual nervous me and only want us to win. And you know what? I think looking at this line up, this might be good enough to get us a win. And if we win it should be with a clean sheet. Otherwise a 0-0 wouldn’t be that bad either. Just don’t let them score.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal