Let’s start with the good news. Welcome, Nacho Monreal. I have been following his progress since around, let me see, yes, eleven last night. I cannot tell you anything you won’t have read elsewhere, but it looks as though our surprise signing is the perfect solution to what obviously became our greatest weakness when Kieran Gibbs limped off on Wednesday night. With the skipper a doubt for the weekend I hope the new boy is prepared to start against Stoke. Welcome to the Premier League old son.
It will not surprise you I was hoping we might have already lined up a couple of other players before rushing through a last-minute deal for the Malaga left-back. I have to record I am disappointed because otherwise people forget that part when I go on to say that we have what we have now until the end of the season, and we have to get behind them. As we demonstrated last season, the support has a big part to play in lifting a side with fragile confidence over the finishing line.
I have no doubt that support will be forthcoming against Tony Pulis and his charges. Let’s face it, as long as Shawcross is a participant in the fixture the tensions between followers of the two clubs will remain in the red zone. Hopefully the added positivity from the seats will lift the players out of their tendency to nervy starts of late. As we have only three opportunities in February to close the gap on those currently ahead of us it goes without saying that the three points tomorrow are vital.
If the skipper doesn’t make it then the back five will pick itself. Ahead of them I hope we demonstrate an enthusiasm for getting the ball forward with pace and intent from the first whistle. As we are showing in most second halves of late our best form of defence is attack. Under normal circumstances I would have expected the in-form Aaron Ramsey to be retained despite the return to fitness of Mikel Arteta. The Spaniard may get the nod however, on the basis that he could offer a comforting voice ahead of Monreal.
The other decision in the midfield trio could involve the selection of Abou Diaby, purely for his physical presence against a side who will be happy to try and break up play at every opportunity. The ‘holic pound is influenced by the desire to see Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott maintain their impressive recent form in front of goal. I’m on 3-1 to the Arsenal, and you’ll get odds of 23/2 if you follow that tip at Gunners Gaming. Don’t forget you still get in the draw for a hospitality package for four against Aston Villa if you wager ten pounds with them, subject to conditions. The link is above, thanks.
So there we are. Quite a few familiar faces are expected at the pub before and after the match tomorrow, so a good day beckons. Let’s just pray we are not discussing a horror injury to one of the strikers after the match tomorrow, for the opportunity to strike a late deal has passed until the summer. Everything is being crossed here.
Have a good one ‘holics.
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