Well it’s been a while. A while since I posted – I blame having a 3-week-old baby and/or the international break. And a while since I last went to the Grove. In fact, it’s two months since my last trip so I’m giddy with anticipation. Good job I didn’t go the Hull game I suppose – I’ll be interested to hear in every roar and groan whether the bulk of Arsenal fans see that as a one-off or a symptom of something less palatable.
So, what’s the backdrop? Well some unconvincing games and several defeats, stirred in with some fine attacking performances, I suppose. What will we get today? Well at least we’re done with internationals until February, and given the amount of injuries we tend to pick up when we have them (Bendtner, Sagna, Djourou and Gallas this time) and the damage it can do to league rhythm, that’s a blessing.
Wenger, of course, is relentlessly upbeat about this squad and sees today as the beginning of the campaign proper.
“I believe that this is a new start,â€ he said. â€œIn fact it is the real start of the season because there is now no interruptions anymore. It looks like to me there is a new championship starting.”
He admits we lack experience, but not desire, and suggests in response to many people’s criticisms of our callow midfield, that Denilson and Song are “close to being big players“.
But is ‘close’ good enough when, as he points out, “We have lost two already and we are in a position where we have given ourselves a handicap”, and that “I know that there is not a lot of margin of error left”?
There’s a chance Walcott will be rested to prevent burnout, and Arsenal.com tell us in that event “there is the possibility of Denilson moving out to the flank to accommodate Alex Song in the middle.”
Wise move? Like Diaby, Denilson is no winger – so I’d actually be quite surprised if Wenger drops Walcott. Anything other than a win is really not sufficient today, given our loss to Hull and draw at Sunderland, so why imperil a revival by playing Denilson on the wing?
And is Ramsey really in contention? By all accounts he was superb in midweek.
Come on you rip-roarers.