With the pressure off, let’s go for it

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My gloom was palpable on Monday and Tuesday.

On Wednesday and Thursday my mood picked up.

Yesterday I was more positive, and today – today I am upbeat.

It’s not just me though – despite not penning any thoughts here during the week, I’ve been eyeing the blogs and the web in general, and the sequence above seems pretty much right. You start in the depths of despair but it soon goes, and off you go again for more of the same. Let’s face it, if we dwelt too long on the kinds of runs we’re on now (the worst in the league, we are told, for nine years), then we’d never bother.

The pressure’s off though, in the league anyway – nobody is expecting us to haul back six points and 14 goals worth of goal difference in seven games, so the media and everyone else is concentrating on whether the Russians can catch Utd.

This, I am certain, is a good place to be for us right now. We’re not firing on many cylinders, we have players whose physical tiredness has been exacerbated by a loss of confidence, and of course we have injuries – Rosicky [Ha! No, really!], Eduardo and now Sagna.

So with all eyes off us, we can get back on track today at Bolton. And what a time to win it would be – just days before our European Cup QF first leg, which incidentally, we are very much in with a chance of proceeding in.

Sagna is of course a big loss – it’s just what we didn’t want. But we do have options there. Ordinarily I would have advocated Hoyte to replace him, but he got such a pasting in the FA Cup I suspect Wenger will try something different – either Eboue or Toure.

Up front, Wenger has admitted what many of us have been saying for a while: the excellent Adebayor, who has been holding the line manfully all season, but since chopping off his hair has lost his strength (there’s a moral in that story somewhere), might be rested. Again, I think this is sensible. We have big games coming up, he needs a break, and we have Bendtner who has come on leaps and bounds this season. He’s a genuinely dangerous player – give him his chance.

I expect we might see Walcott start too – Bolton away is a big test for a player like him (do they have a boggy pitch like Wigan?), but he needs experience of all types of matches. And he is a full England international (our only one).

I also have a suspicion we might see Gilberto in some capacity today. I have no basis for claiming that, by the way. Just a hunch, as Esmerelda said to that bellringer.

Come on you rip-roarers!


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