Who would have thought that Swansea at home this Saturday would be such a pivotal game in the Arsenal’s Premier League campaign? Not this subscriber, that’s for sure. You see, I saw the season thus far panning out like this; Geordies away, three points, nae messin’, man.
Bin-dippers at home? Well, our home record agianst this lot is, or was, superb, so three points. Our survey said…
Mancs away: draw at best. (er, didn’t happen). So seven points from the first three skirmishes, then? Nah. A point! One sodding point. OK, yes, we have safely navigated our way into the CL group stages by sailing past Udinese but heck, our league form ain’t great.
And so to the Swans. What lies beneath in our clash with the Welsh wonders? To the team news. Mikel Arteta is champing at the bit to make his debut for God’s Own and I predict the Spaniard will have a stormer. I hear that Theo Walcott will be fit to play on Saturday despite a hamstring problem causing Fabio Capello to rest him for England’s 1-0 victory over Wales at Wembley on Tuesday. Good.
Another debutant is sure to be Per Mertersacker and, given the injury to Thomas Vermaelen – out for at least five weeks because of an ankle problem – thank the Dennis that AW signed him. Ahead of the game, he said: “It is exciting. It is a new phase in my life and I am really looking forward to it, but I also feel nervous. It is like before the first day at school. Now I have a new challenge in a new country, a new style of play and a new language and I am ready for it.”
Worryingly, PM put in a shoddy show for Germany in their 2-2 draw with Poland in the week. A chap called Clark Whitney, supposedly a keen observer of all things Germanic soccer, said this: “On paper, new Arsenal signing Per Mertesacker has all the right qualities that the Gunners need. But while on international duty on Tuesday, he showed precisely why he is no messiah for Arsene Wenger’s ailing defence.
“In his first international match since March, Mertesacker was found woefully lacking as Germany drew 2-2 with Poland. He was indecisive and often caught out of position, his lack of pace was exposed, and he even made a few careless passes. While it is true that the former Werder Bremen man is still somewhat short of match practice, his night to forget was all too foreseeable.”
In the words of Shaggy from Scooby Doo…”yikes!”.
To other news of our next encounter: It seems Bacary Sagna is suffering from “illness” while Kieran Gibbs is back in training following a hamstring strain so the gaffer has a decision to make there with new boy Santos poised as well.
Jack Wilshere’s ankle injury is well documented and other absentees include Seb Squillaci and Abou Diaby while Gervinho and the Alex Song are serving suspensions.
A must win game.