Arsene was keen to focus forward and not back as he started off the interview by stating that we were simply 'not at our level' against the mancs last weekend. He reiterated his confidence in the players and strangely stated that the lads 'wanted to do well so much that they didn't do well', not an entirely convincing explanation in anyone's book. The lack of patience shown by the team as we were nailed on the break was acknowledged, it was almost a lack of maturity shown by the side in our wanton attacking from such an early stage in the match, it appears that words have been had on this in private, I would love to know what has been said.
A key point in the interview was the fact that Arsene admitted he was 'very close' to signing someone at the end of the transfer window. The fact that he said this shows that he is not entirely happy with the current squad, the more I think about it the more likely it appears that thus player must have been a striker, the fact that we have been playing with AA up top for so long speaks volumes about our lack of striking strength in depth. AA realises this problem, I'm sure Arsene does too, we really need to hope Bendter and Eduardo can stay fit for the rest of the duration. Benik Afobe, the highly talented England youth striker, has spurned Barca's advances and signed a new Arsenal contract, good news for our striking future.
For Chelsea Campbell is definitely back, it sounds like Diaby may make the bench, while Eduardo is out. Good news in the long term that John Djourou is making a good recovery and will be back in around two months, realistically Van Persie is probably out til April time as well. Nic Bendtner is still a couple of weeks away from full fitness, I'd imagine that this means he's on the bench again. Arsene wants us to fight for every point, he wants us to be 'tough, persistent and consistent', the impression he gives is that last weekend the fight and effort was not there from all eleven players. Arsene sensibly wants to take each game at a time, rather than getting carried away with careless speculation.
Chelsea are going to pack their central midfield area as they did against us at the Emirates, it will mean the selection of who is to play alongside Song and Cesc will be key. Personally I'd stick the young Craig Eastmond in the mix, he is good in the air, he can defend and he will work hard. If not Eastmond they I'd play Ramsey, Denilson should be dropped, his recent performances have been substandard. I don't think Nic is fit enough to start, meaning that it's going to be Arshavin up top again, I'd probably go for Theo and Rosicky alongside him. These three could swap positions fairly freely, Theo could give us a bit of threat over the top which would be useful.
The whole eleven men are going to have to up it if we are to get anything from Sunday, the defence will need to play with some discipline, while all ten outfield players will need to press and work much harder off the ball. I used to look at the Arsenal team and find it hard to improve us by stealing players from the Chelsea and Manu squads, the problem now is that very few of our players would make it into their sides, Sagna, Vermaelen, Cesc, Song and Arshavin are the only five of our fit players that would really have a chance. Our squad is just not good enough to win the league, I can't get my hopes up for Sunday, I think the best we can hope for is third spot and that frustrates me.
Finally I'd like to point out a rather interesting Le Grove post, the point made at the end of this is particularly relevant in an age where the England captain's private life makes the front page for weeks on end, while the important things like political and scientific corruption are routinely ignored. Cheap gossip is easy news, proper intelligent investigative work is being done less and less by the mainstream media as it costs more, with readerships going down the quality of news is going down the toilet with it. The exposure of global warming lies are just one great example of how bloggers are rather important in this age of mainstream media laziness. The recent drive towards 'licenses' for writing on the web and more mainstream control of the web are based about the dying cry of various corrupt and useless figures in big business and government who want to control everything, in reality their own corruption has seen their control wane with the freedom of the Internet. Blogging and the freedom of speech on the internet are so key for our freedom that I would urge anyone reading to sign the following Petition at No10, with a free media the truth always outs, with a controlled media lies with be peddled by those in control.