Welcome to TGIF an irreverent look back at the weeks events, but this week, it has to be a look forward to THAT game. When most of the south east will be crammed into the Emirates to witness a spectacle. The mopther of all head to heads I am not desperate, but there is no certainty of victory, hence the battle cry”A horse a horse a my Kingdom for a horse!”
I really hope that all you Gooners have got strong stomachs as we approach this Sunday’s game which will be the first ever game broadcast in 3D according to Sky television. I am so nervous, and so is my computer, so much so that it crashed yesterday and thus this TGIF is being delivered a day late. but better late than never eh?
There is only one… how do we get 10 points from the remaining 3 fixtures to ensure that we emerge as title contenders after the Liverpool game on 10th of February. It seems unlikely that Arsene will add to the squad in the hours remaining of the transfer window, so it is down to his team selection and the performance of the squad. It has been too long since the title rivalry between the two sides reached such a pitch. In August at Old Trafford we really should have come away with a victory having gifted them an own goal. But hey, that’s life and now that we are in a position to make winning the title a real possibility, it is now that the big players must deliver. Happily having Song back from the CAN is an unexpected bonus. His presence in the holding midfield position has hurt us. The only concern is the fitness of Vermaelen which is currently 40/60. If Sol Campbell plays, I am happy that he keep Rooney at bay. Sol is a big game player. The memories of our last defeat to Manchester United at the Emirates are still fresh in the mind. That fateful evening in the Champions League destroyed many Gooner hearts. This Manchester side has shown in past performances that with Rooney in his current form there are a team to be feared. Yet if we play the fast Wengerball that we know that we are capable of doing then victory could be snatched from the jaws of a predictable draw. The personalities who may decide this game for better or for worse.
Man Utd : Rooney, Fletcher, Carrick
Stop Fletcher and you stop the supply to Rooney. Fletcher often uses intermediate balls across the two opposing centre backs to the flanks, where either Evra or Valencia will cross the ball into the danger area.
Carrick is over rated but his presence at the edge of the 18 yard box poses several dangers, but Song will be alert to this. Carrick is one of the five or so Man Utd players who pack themselves into the box ready to pounce. Watch the attacks, and compare the number of Man Utd players in potentially scoring positions when the ball is out wide. This is how they manage to score relentlessly in games.
Rooney is their talisman and Rooney’s movement is sublime. His runs are well times and intelligent, we must get him flustered so that the inner demons surface. The best enemy of Rooney is the player himself. If we can get the red mists to descend by frustrating his possession, then Man United’s scoring options are reduced.
Arsenal : Fabregas, Song, Arshavin
If Fabregas is allowed to play higher up the field then he can destroy any team with his passing. It is essential that he makes early interventions and is able to get support from the wider players. I am confident that Cesc is a big game player.
Song’s return is crucial to this fixture. His midfield battle with Carrick and Fletcher will define the outcome of the game. I really hope that he is rested enough to make the difference between success and failure. Song’s possession liberates Fabregas to do what he needs to do up front with the strikers.
Arshavin is a big game player, and even if he seems out of the game, he only needs one opportunity to turn a half chance into a goal. I only hope that the small Russian is not singled out for harsh treatment by Fletcher, and if he is, then I hope that Fletcher receives an early yellow card.
I am not going to comment on the goings on on the site. Most of the debate has been about these crucial four games and how they will define our title chances. So I thought that I would distract us for a while by giving you this song that I want Gooners to sing at the top of their voices on Sunday. Just to wind up Rooney…
To the tune “when Johnny comes marching home”
” He used to play for E F C, Rooney, Rooney and now he shags the OAPs, Rooney… Rooney.
He’ll steal your car and rob your house, the dirty northern thieving scouse,
BIG FAT ROONEY, He’s out to shag your Gran!
lala lala lalalala, lala, lala, … lala lala lalalala, lala,lala
lalalala, lalalala, lalalala, lalalala…
BIG FAT ROONEY, He’s out to shag your Gran!”
“You can say that it is intelligent. But the border between intelligence and starting to cheat, every striker plays with that.
“You have two games, one with the opponent and one with the rules and the referee and you try and extend that to your advantage. Sometimes you go a little bit over the limit but that is part of the game of a striker.”
Arsene was very diplomatic when discussing the diving tendencies of Wayne Rooney. Let’s face it, Englands talisman for the World Cup is an undoubted diver, and yes he cheats. But isn’t funny that he has never received the adverse publicity that Eduardo received. We should expect no favours from the Scum/manc supporting media. the best way to defeat Rooney’s cheating is to make sure that his actions are exposed by not giving the opportunity to go down in the penalty box. Cool heads are needed though and decisive defending.
Arsene Press Conference
“Vermaelen should be fit to face Chelsea. We will try and get him fit for Man United but if he does not make it then Sol Campbell.
We can beat anyone if we play at the top of our game.
Aston Villa have taken points from the Top four Teams and we have made good strides since last season.
Chris Smalling transfer we were very close to getting him. Man United got the deal and I wish the player luck with his career.
Transfers – unlikely to sign someone today, not impossible to make a signing by Monday but at the moment it seems unlikely.
No matter what happens we will still be in a good position after the Man United game. We will be in a better position if we win of course.
We are very close in the League and so it is back to an Arsenal versus Manchester United of old,
Last year we were out of it and the games had less meaning. Yes two years ago it was a big game but what is different this year is that we are on the way up so it is very interesting. It comes at a good moment for us.
Over the years, Manchester United and Arsenal have had some tough games, and sometimes they were not easy on the physical side. But both teams always tried to play. It was very rarely a boring match.
For me it is always one of the games of the season and so we are really up for it. We are on a good run and we have a good momentum. We want to continue that.
And I always look forward to this match because it is one that promises good football.
Opponent players can always surprise Arsenal, but I expect my players to surprise me.
Eduardo is out.
Very happy with Arshavin as he creates the chances in big games. We rely on him in games like this as he likes the big stage. He may remain quiet for 20 minutes then he does something decisive. Arshavin is always marked very tightly but he always turns up with something special.
No news on the Ownership takeover situation.
Man United are not over reliant on Rooney, but they can change their formation , but players likes Giggs can be very influential.
Sol Campbell has his experience and he likes the big games.”
On the injury front, Diaby will not be back before the Chelsea game and Merida still has an ankle problem.
This week’s performance award has been a difficult one to call, but I am going to give it to Sol Campbell who came on against the Villa, and showed that he is an imposing presence in the heart of the defence. good on ya Sol!
I wondered about Chris Smalling from Fulham after he chose Man Utd over us, but to be honest. We need experienced centre backs, and good luck to him. The next candidate for the order of the digit was the Aston Villa team who kicked us to death at Villa park, but really the finger has been been earned by Ferdinand of Manchester United, who tried to cheat the FA disciplinary system in order to be eligible to face Arsenal this Sunday. I am so pleased that his 3 game ban has been extended to four.
I hope that I can give the credit to Arsene Wenger, the players and the supporters for what ever the outcome on Sunday. If we give of our all, then we shall grasp victory. I give thanks for being part of this opportunity. Imagine if we were in Liverpool’s position scrambling for fourth place…