This is the first game of five where we could end up with yet again no result from any of them. The first encounter against Arsenal couldn’t really come at a less appropriate time; Arsenal starting to get into the swing of things, while we are only just taking those tentative steps towards starting our season.
It has been a long hard struggle as we battled through the autumn months picking up nothing from eight games, yet we were still playing okay. Sloppy defending and lack of ability to finish chances saw us sink to the bottom of the table. But yet as we start to score goals, and hold out teams well we play a side with the Premier Leagues current most deadly striker.
There could the return of Emmerson Boyce this weekend. The defender as been sourly missed, however he has only returned to training this week. While the rest of the squad will remain the same as Antolin Alcaraz will see out the last game in his three match suspension.
Arsenal shape up with more or less everyone in there squad at full strength, there is of course the long injury doubts of Jack Wilshere, however it is likely we will face the same side that drew with Fulham at the weekend.
If we were playing Arsenal three months ago, I would say we might have a pretty good chance of getting something from this game, however on their current form. I see this to be a much tougher fixture.
The obvious choice of this week’s man to watch is of course Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie. This year he has been the most deadly striker in the Premier League having scored 13 goals alone in this season. He can play anywhere in the attacking area, and has such fluidness on the ball, he is one of those players that you can’t make as he will just play around you.
What can you do to stop him? Pray and hope he doesn’t find an opening is all you really can do. When a player of his calibre is scoring for fun like he is, you just have to hope that it is one of those days where he just has that little lack of luck.
If we were to take on Arsenal and he wasn’t playing, I would feel much safer.
It is going to be one game that could go either way. It could be close and we fight for every ball and make every challenge and manage to come away with something. Or we are turned over and go back to playing sloppy football with a poor defence.
I hope that our new defence which has looked so much stronger these past two games, can hold out yet again. The secret to winning matches is always who can score more. If you look at Newcastle United this year, they haven’t scored very many, but they also haven’t conceded very many.
Trying to be clever won’t get us anywhere. Playing solid simple football may see us get results. Especially against a defence which has looked weaker and slower than ours at times this season.