I went to a school that only played rugby and cricket, no soccer, but the storyline still applies. At the end of the rugby term, once all our fixtures were complete, we still had rugby practice as part of our daily exercise in the afternoons. As there was really no further direction to the season, the coaches used to have a bit of fun and swapped the forwards with the backs. This was a great idea for the forwards as we loved to see the centres and wingers scrum down and battle out rucks whilst we forwards sat back in the backline and watched on. However, this is not a good idea Mr Wenger when you are just kicking off the season and are playing for points which, come the end of the season, are very valuable to have in the bag! We won this same fixture 4-1 at the end of last season and to have dropped three points due to players being played out of position, is really not acceptable. All this talk of Ozil not putting in a shift and Ox running down blind alleys is pretty much missing the point and to blame the ref for disallowing goals or not granting penalties is grasping at straws. If the team is not set up correctly at the start of the game then one can only look to the person that put that team out onto the field. Simple as that. Let’s not get into twitter debates about which players did or didn’t do what.
It’s early days still, so don’t despair. There have been seasons quite recently when a team got off to a flying start and were eventually pulled back into the pack. A bit like the Tour de France. So when you see MFU get off to a flyer, conceding no goals and scoring eight in two games don’t get too excited. Things will soon even themselves out. As with Chelski pulling Sp*rs back on the weekend, or Citeh and Everton drawing, so MFU will see their day *crosses fingers* If you look at the other ‘big’ teams, Chelski and Sp*rs have both lost a game and Liverpool and Citeh have drawn one, thus only leaving MFU with the advantage of six out of six points!
Enough of the past, as I indicated in my last blog, it is good to have this fixture behind us now. Who knows, we may only have to visit the bet365 Stadium again in 2019 and maybe Wenger will get his selections sorted by then.
Onto the weekend and we have an exciting visit to Anfield to look forward to and an opportunity to put things right. This is the last game before that annoying early season international break upsets the rhythm a team may have acquired and therefore it is important that we do not lose ground on the leaders. Looking at the other contenders, MFU have an interesting encounter with Leicester City, which will be their toughest encounter so far and will be of interest to us as comparisons will surely be made to our opening game of the season. Chelski take on Everton and again, comparisons will be drawn against Citehs match on Monday night. Citeh and Sp*rs have what seem like easy games, but that’s what we thought we had last weekend, so they need to be wary. A lot has been said of Sp*rs’ home game dis-advantage and the results speak for themselves, having lost eight times in their eleven appearances at the new Wembley stadium. They will be nervous when they take on Burnley, but it would be difficult to see the visitors pick up another three points in the capital.
The talking point for this Sunday’s match will be what role will Sanchez play, if any. It would be a disaster if Sanchez was not in the squad and this for me would point to one thing, being that he is on his way out. But I’d rather not entertain that thought and although Arsene says that it will be a bit of time before Sanchez hits form, I would immediately have him in my starting eleven. You only have to remember the same trip we made last year, where Wenger did not start him, and we came away a poor second, beaten 3-1, with Liverpool goals from Firmino, Mane and Wijnaldum and a solitary reply from Danny. Sanchez joined the fray at the beginning of the second half, by which time we were already two goals down. If Wenger starts him on the bench, I would be disappointed. His fitness levels may not be 100%, but we’re talking about Sanchez here and his 50% is generally more than any other player’s 100%! He was also close to being in the match squad for the Stoke game and had he been, I’m sure he would have come on as a substitute based on how that game went down. So what I’m saying is that as much as Wenger likes to molly coddle his players, this weekend is not the time to do that!
From an injury perspective, we seem to be in a good place and apart from poor old Santi, everyone else is available for selection. A certain amount has been spoken about our back three/five and whether Arsene will convert to a back four going forward. For this game I don’t think it’s time to change tactics, just selections and making the right ones. I see that Holding played in the U23 game against Citeh on Monday evening and reports are that he had a disappointing game, which probably rules him out from starting on Sunday. The good news is that Koscielny is back from suspension and he should automatically slot into the centre of the defence with Mustafi and Monreal. Bellerin as RWB and Kolasinac as LWB should then give us our best back five. I would persist with the Xhaka – Ramsey combination in midfield and have Ozil, Lacazette and Sanchez up front. Sounds good to me, hopefully Arsene has similar thoughts.
We’re into our second week of ArsenalSA Fantasy League and SuperBru. Still early days, but the top of the respective tables look as follows:
Fantasy Premier League
Fantastic 11 Danyal Cajee 141
Beat Around Debuchy Siya Ntombela 135
Oxcatcher Jared Timm 133
Special mention goes to Eugene Cardoso’s JELLYS NPO with a week high score of 75
Joffie B 19,75
Highest points for the week goes to JarretFrancis87 who moved up 65 places to 9th with a well scored 12,25 points.
So remember, this is the last game for a while due to the international break. Next game will be in two weeks’ time on 9th September. We’ve got the DesignaShirt guys coming through again where they are selling Arsenal shirts at 20% discount (members only) PLUS they will also do your printing requirements for a small fee on the day. What more could you ask for on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The Brazenhead patio area has been reserved for all Arsenal supporters so why don’t y’all cmon down and have some fun!