Friday 5 March 2010

Burnley Conundrums

Right then. With Chelsea playing Stoke in the FA Cup on Sunday, its a fascinating weekend ahead for Arsenal with bags of potential for a tub-thumbing show of support for Rambo at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon. I expect Block 6 to be rocking.

Beating Burnley would put us level on points with Chelsea and depending on what Manure do at Wolves late on Saturday afternoon, we should be in the thick of it come Monday morning. And isn't that a simply unbelievable state of affairs? Little old Arsenal. Back in the title race with a bunch of 5p midgets. Wowser.

Arsenal's team news is mixed, with Song suspended and Ramsey in pieces, its rumoured that Abou- Mr Invincible- Diaby himself is thinking about a brief trip out of the sick bay to try his boots on and feel the grass beneath his feet again before settling down for another 3 or 4 weeks off with a non-identified non-serious injury. Diaby is a something of a cult hero for me. He seems terrific when he really wants to play, but can drift in and out of games. And has one of the worst injury records you could imagine. Which in many ways is the hardest trophy to win at Arsenal. Player of the Year is a piece of piss compared to the Florence Nightingale Sicknote Award with the RVPs, Rosickys and Walcotts of this world around.

But we could really, really, do with Diaby staying fit between now and the end of May. And given that Denilson's form is enough to make a small blind boy feel confident enough to play in Burnley's midfield, if Diaby is fit to start, then I would give him the Alex Song role on Saturday and tell him to keep it tight. None of your dribbly, dribbly, loosey bally bollocks please.

Its going to be an interesting team selection for AW, who will have a big Gallic eye on the utterly crucial game against Porto on Tuesday evening. Thomas Rosicky is a man who is destined to deliver for Arsenal at some stage. Or get injured again Michael Owen style - just how predictable was that? In fact its a miracle he lasted till March. But I like Rosicky. He is like Nasri, but just slightly better at everything. And I would pick him every game.

Its also not clear what to do up front. Eduardo is apparently available again (another victim of the injury plight), Arshavin is back and Nikki B is approaching a run of form (at least in terms of scoring, which is really what counts for a striker). Plus Eboue looks good to me in that right wing slot. That said, AW likes Nasri wide left (and I would like to see a performance from him to match the faith shown in him). And there is always the Theo question to consider.

I guess the fact that we have choices is something of a blessing, but its choices like this that separate the managers from the pundits. If AW gets the blend right on Saturday and Tuesday, then we win both games and he is a genius again. Alternatively, he gets the blends wrong, or we don't win both games, then serious questions are going to be asked. And I am happy to nail my colours to the mast right now - we HAVE to beat Porto.

March and April is also traditionally the time when the Premiership title gets all but decided. I was amazed to read that Martin O' Neil's Aston Villa have NEVER won a game in March, whereas I would be willing to bet that Fergie's record in March is about the best there has ever been.

So i say there is little point in trying to mix things up with the team at this stage in the season. Try and work out your best XI and pick it as often as you can. That said, if there was a moment to throw caution to the wind, then this is it. We could really do with a bag load of goals against Burnley, who have conceded an amazing 43 goals on their travels so far this season, and its not inconceivable that the goal difference will be called into the reckoning at the end of the season.

But in a week when the press have highlighted that SWP is a better player than Theo Walcott, which I find about as surprising as saying that Saturday follows Friday, I am tipping Wenger to give young Theo a vote of confidence and play him from the start, possibly in the Eboue at right back combination that looked good against Sunderland. The tactical advantage of having Theo on the pitch is that it stretches the game. If Burnley defend high up the pitch then its over the top for Theo. If they play narrow then its down the side for Theo. So they have to open the field up, and that gives our midget army the space they need to work their short passing miracles.

Nikki B obviously starts up top, which leaves the troublesome left side spot to decide. Arshavin is the obvious choice, but its been Nasri's position for some time. Rosicky is also in the frame if he does not play in midfield, and Eduardo can also play there, although he is not at his best on the wing.

Frankly its beyond me. I don't know how Wenger gets any sleep at all.


Anonymous said...

wenger will play denilson tomorra... you just know it!!!!

GlancingHeader said...

It's not a bad thing to play Denilson tomorrow as long as Diaby is saved for Porto. To me, Burnley don't have enough to compete with us, especially at the Grove so a slightly weaker side can get a result.

More important, though, is Manuel Almunia's form. He'd better be on song because Sylvestre is playing.

marcus said...

It would be nice if Denilson for the first time this season shows us why AW belives in him (and I say that as a supporter of his from his consistent displays last season). Yes he's been injured but whenever he's played this season, it's like he's completely lost his understanding of wtf he's supposed to be doing on the pitch.

He's not alone of course, Nasri has hardly impressed either. Agreed about Rosicky, would choose him to start every time. Hoping to see Nasri, Denilson, Theo and Almunia all step up now that Ramsey's injury has given them powerful motivation. Check out Ramsey's statement on the official site.

BTW, I've been going thru older posts from this month on this site that I missed while being out of town and offline. Amazing to see the idiot brigade come out to attack 1979 in his post-Sunderland blog, where he focused on serious problems in this team instead of just writing "we won, great!"

Can't understand these mindless idiots who think all Arsenal blogs should ALL say the exact same thing every single day like the USSR's PRAVDA (actually worse than PRAVDA): nothing wrong, everything's perfect, we support Arsenal, nothing wrong, every player's perfect, the manager's perfect, we support Arsenal yadayadayada. What a bore, and a totalitarian mindset.

Ted said...

@Glancingheader and Marcus - yes, I agree with you both.(Shocking, I know).

I was very vocal in my support of Denilson last season but I think he has taken a step backwards this year. Or alternatively has simply been shown up by Alex Song as what a proper DM should do.

Either way, and in any event, I know that 1979 will be grateful for Marcus' comments. This blog took an unpopular line on the Shawcross issue, but one that I think was the right one.

I doubt our names will ever be emblazoned in lights for that, but who cares. I am very proud of the objective content of our posts.


i hope AW starts eduardo 2morrow,he needs to start scoring or he is gonna fall down the pecking order fast.

1979gooner said...

cheers Marcus,

hopefully Denilson can prove us wrong today!

I completely agree on the fact that it's important different people have different opinions on all these things, it's fun having a bit of an argument as long as it's done politely, problem seems that quite a few people just launch into personal insults before engaging politely.

If Silvestre is playing today, Glancing is right, it will make things much more interesting for the neutral.