Giddyup, we’re off again

Straighten the tie, comb the hair, polish the brogues. There’s nothing to do but pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again.

Will there be a hangover? We shall see. After our two heaviest Premier League poundings last season, we staggered through nil nil draws, but it’s stretching it a bit to seek a parallel there. The defeats were bigger (by numbers), and the opposition more substantial than today (with all due respect to the Toffees).

We’ve had five wins, two draws and a loss in the matches immediately proceeding our defeats this season. Read into that whichever way you will, but ultimately it’s a pointless exercise. Maybe I’ll read the tea leaves.

The bottom line is that you’d be pretty upset if there was no reaction after a bad defeat, which is why you tend to get an upswing of some kind. The issue for Arsenal is not bouncing back (though in seasons past, we have dwelt on losses for longer), but how long they will bounce back for. The pattern is uncannily tight – after going six games (in all competitions) unbeaten at the beginning of the season, we have not gone further than five games unbeaten since.

So if I was a cynic, (which of course I’m not, how dare you), I’d say that’s the pattern that will see us through to the end of the season. Will it be enough to reach the promised land of fourth?

Changes

As I posited on the ArsenalAmerica pod, I think there will be changes today, but I can’t imagine Wenger sweeping through the ranks with his broom of doom. I can see Mertesacker taken out of the firing line. He had a bad game on Wednesday (not aided by his headless colleagues), but I’d not take him out because of that. I think he’s been decent enough in trying circumstances this year. But he must be weary, having ploughed through the World Cup and straight back into the Premier League. We’ve got the new centre-back we were crying out for, so let’s use him. He’s not even a cast-off like Silvestre or Squillaci. He’s an £11m player.

I expect Gibbs will return to the bench for Monreal, but I think we’ll see Giroud in the starting eleven. The decision there is whether dropping him would do him more damage than good, and with a striker who feeds off confidence, it might. Plus, Champions League debacle aside, he’s in good scoring form. God knows what happened on Wednesday.

I’d like to see the Ox in, but other than that I think the side will be similar.

Back in the saddle.

(Until the next time we’re thrown off the horse).