Match preview: Gallop. Don’t trot.

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Forget, for a moment, the tantalising news that Thomas Vermaelen may be as close as two weeks from returning (albeit to the reserves); forget also the mouth-watering prospect of a Xavi-inspired Barcelona coming to town. Wenger is spot on when he says:

“The best way to be in a good position to beat them is to defeat Wolves on Saturday”.

To face Barcelona we will not only need to be in as decent physical shape as possible, but we’ll also, from a psychological point of view, need all of our neurones plugged into the right synapses [check medical terminology – ed]. Imagine facing Barcelona having lost a four goal lead and having failed to beat Wolves? No, I can’t either. That’s why Wenger is going large on Wolves.

With that in mind, I know it might be tempting to rest Djourou or Song and one or two others, but I’d go for the whole shooting party and start with our best XI. As a nod to the forthcoming European adventure, he can maybe edge a few substitutions in earlier than at the mandatory Wengerish 70 minutes, but I wouldn’t tinker too much.

That last option does rather rely on us coming out the blocks fast and not zig-zagging around until the 80th minute, as can be our wont. In light of last week I’ve revised the official guidelines and current thinking is that we need to be at least five goals to the good to be assured of victory.

I jest, but only half. In an ideal world, one where anxiety and fear had been banished, we’d ask the players to give us a 1-0 to prove they can hold on to a narrow lead but today is not the day for worthy experiments. The last thing we need to today is a repeat of Collaps-o-Arsenalâ„¢ so to ensure that we need to put the Wolves goal under pressure from the start and make it count.

I can’t make the game today so I’ll be attempting to perform the standard web-based miracles and listening to the wireless. I’m also keen to give the Arsenal matchday app experience a pop so may well dish out the requisite £1.79p on that. I’ll let you know my thoughts if I do (and if you give a fig).

Finally: a thought on players using Twitter. The boss has taken a very enlightened approach to his players using it for the right reasons, as you’d expect. I don’t care about modding phat sports cars and I can’t understand a word one or two of them are on about, but hey, I’m a miserable old sod so what does that matter.

That’s all for now – more tomorrow, assuming the prevailing winds being are in my favour. preview
BBC preview
Guardian squad sheet


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

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