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Episode II: Attack of the Shitkickers

January 20, 2010

As soon as our game in hand got called off, we have all agreed that this would be the best time to play it – back to back games between the same teams don’t happen too often and there are some pros and cons of such arrangement. The upside of it may be the fresh memory of their recent antics, however, they may remember their shortcomings and do a lot to iron them out in training and make our life difficult. Then again, so can we…

Let us all hope that Mark Clattenburg had a long, close look at Sunday’s game video and won’t allow their players to ‘do their thing’, which is doing everything possible (usually illegal, mind you)  to disrupt our game and will do better than Phil Dowd in respect of seeing penalty incidents and the like. To be fair, I was quite happy with his performances so far this season and long it may continue. One to remember is the most recent NLD, where he let the game flow, played good advantages and was not too whistle-happy in general. If he shows them that he won’t tolerate their usual ‘tactic’ right from the off, we should have no problem with collecting all three points, as long as it’s the efficient and motivated Arsenal that turns up.

We may welcome a few players returning from injury, namely Clichy, Denilson and Walcott. This would boost our squad options if it wasn’t for other getting injured – it’s a shame that Nasri and Ramsey are out, as the former started showing glimpses of brilliance we would expect and the latter contributed to the few recent good results by looking lively and scoring good goals. I mean, what is it with our players and injuries? Yes, we have a brilliant squad of players, but we did not have all of them available for selection right from the start of the season, which may put a dent in our title hopes.  Again, I will say that we could do well with a few sturdy players who would scare the living daylights out of the bruisers with ‘Bolton DNA’. Le Boss said he would leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the problem, he may consider the above a free advice 😉

I think we will start with the usual back four, boosted by return of Clichy – we shall see whether his injury lay-off  gave him time to rest and recover to make him fresh or if he will need a couple of games to shake off the rust. His experience is invaluable and should stop their attacks coming from that side, which was exactly what we saw a lot in the Episode I, due to our left back being identified as a chink in our armor most likely to give in at some point.

In the middle, AW may choose to start with Denilson playing in the defensive midfield role, with Cesc and Diaby in more advanced roles. As I said before, this game should be perfect to get our second choice DM up to speed, as they should not concentrate too much on attacking, playing away from home against the top team. However, it may be quite interesting to see if Coyle chooses to stick to his footballing principles and tells his team to play the ‘all or nothing’ game rather than park the bus and try to hit us on the break. I reckon Denilson will be identified as the weak point and targeted, which will make our other two midfielders concentrate on dirty work instead of going forward and creating chances.

I am guessing we will see the front three of Arshavin, Eduardo and Walcott. If the latter is not fit enough to start, I would say it will be Rosicky on the right – frankly, I would prefer that option, as Theo’s pace will be useless if they choose to put 10 men behind the ball and I would rather save him from kicking which will inevitably be dished out. Given that his fitness may not necessarily be 100%. I’d say our FA Cup game against Stoke would be the better time to re-introduce him to the first team, but maybe that’s just me.

I am looking forward to this – a win will put us in the top spot for a moment, and we may as well stay there if Chelsea drop all three points in their next league game against the high-flying Brum. Hmmmmm…

Thanks for reading, Come on you mighty Reds!!!

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