Most of us that use the legedes benz know that feeling, that relief, when we have been waiting for a bus since forever and one finally comes along. I’m awash with a likeness of that relief. The EPL is back after a 2-week hiatus and am I glad it is. How did I even not descend into a vegetative state? Well, God had other plans for me.
Oops!! Good morning people. Pardon my manners.
Today, at 3pm Nigerian time, The Arsenal host the Saints at the Emirates in the North of London to, hopefully, a bashing they won’t forget anytime soon. It will be our fourth game of the pretty young season after the goalless draws against Sunderland and Stoke (apparently cos they had no intentions to actually score against us) and a win at Anfield. The draws were somewhat disappointing. In the win, however, we began to see the fruits a solid defence and an exciting attack can bear. The Press fed on the lack of goals and Olivier’s misses, but it’s obvious that we are better off now than last season. At least, at this point in the season.
The game will be of immense significance to the Ox and Theo and place added pressure on Olivier’s shoulders. Theo and the Ox cut their teeth with the Saints. While Olivier has been tipped by fans to get his first goal for us against them and go on to be a Club Legend like Dennis and Titi before him. Whether they’ll rise to, or sit at, the occasion, we’ll find out later today.
I spoke earlier about a bashing. Yes, I believe (due to our penchant for ruining our hardwork ourselves, I’m wont to say hope instead. But the Christian in me wins) we can dispose of them. Not without sweat tho. We have kept clean sheets so far against some of our boogey teams (Stoke and Sunderland) and against a contender for a place in the top7 echelon of the EPL. Another solid defensive performance should help us carry the day (I’l even offer my head to AW). And I have my reasons.
Although Soton have been playing football that is interest-inspiring for and accolade-drawing from neutrals, they are bottom of the league with no points. The lack of points isn’t however due to a lack of effort. They disappointed against Wigan, but they battled well with the Manchester teams and only narrowly lost out. This shows they can score but they can also let in goals. They are suspect at the back. So if we can deal well with their attack, I believe (I use it again) our forwards can hit them where it hurts. Soton have given opponents space for more shots on target than any other team this season (19) while we have allowed opponents the joint-fewest(7). We have also not won our last four home games. Last time we went 5 without a win was in 1995, in the run-up to George Graham’s sack. I don’t see this happening as AW is nowhere near being sacked. Do you now share my belief?
We welcome Woj back. While Theo and Abou may not make the team. Tomas, Jack, Bac and Frimmers are still out but some 2, 3weeks from fitness.
Ramirez and Yoshida could get their debuts while Mayuka may get his first start for the Saints. Luke Shaw may also get to play. Rumours are rife he has been under Le Boss’ magnifying glass. Their dangermen, imo, are Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Gaston Ramirez. Tricky three, I tell you. Morgan Schneiderlin deserves a shout also.
As long as Colin Lewin and Tony Colbert give him the pass mark, Woj is certain to start. In the fullback positions, Kieran and Carl are ready to do their thing.
The centre of the defence is where the headache is. Thomas and Per have been outstanding so far; one always there to complement the other. Kos, who imo is our best defender, is fit, ready for action and pushing for a first11 place. I’d have preferred a continuance of their partnership as a winning defence shouldn’t be disrupted, but with Thomas said to be carrying a knock, and two other games in about a week, I’d like a Thomas rest and a Kos-Per partnership. Kos’ no-nonsense, area-boy style complemented by Per’s mature, baba olowo style. Y’al know warramean!
In the middle, I don’t expect Le Boss to risk playing Abou. He loves the boy too much to. Who comes in? Please don’t say Aaron. I’d prefer Le Coq gets that chance he was talking bou. I’m a serious believer of the Le Coq faith. Same level with M’villa, if you ask me. Just unlucky he is with a Club that has more established players ahead of him. Le Coq and Mikel with Santi ahead.
Up top, my man Olivier should start. Poldi seems to have cemented that left side of the attack. Theo is most probably out. I do not like the Ox on the right; he doesn’t get the chance to run at defenders with the ball at his favourite foot. So I’d prefer the Forehead on the right since he loves the byline so much, his right foot is stronger and we have Olivier in the box (especially as all three goals conceded against Utd came following crosses). As long as he has stiff instructions to always help out his fullback though.
Probable Starting Line-ups
Arsenal: Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Coquelin, Arteta, Cazorla; Gervinho, Giroud, Podolski.
Southampton: K. Davies; Clyne, Hooiveld, Fonte, Shaw; S. Davies, Puncheon, Lallana; Ward-Prowse, Lambert, Schneiderlin
I usually do not do this, but the possibilities abound for us in this game. The urge to predict is strong. And I will bow to that urge.I feel we will send them back pointless but we will lose our run of clean sheets. It’s going to be very optimistic, but a little optimism can do no harm: 4-1 to The Arsenal.
Remember, you heard it here first. Till we meet again.
HRHLordSleeK…Victoria Concordia Crescit