This will be a positive post, so those of a cup half empty disposition, look away.
Firstly, we are on a long unbeaten run in the PL extending to almost four months. During that time we have conceded just 10 goals. Taking out the madness at St. James, we have conceded 6 in 12 PL games – hardly the stats of a dodgy defence.
Secondly, we have the best away record in the PL, amassing 26 points and losing only twice (MU & Chelsea).
Thirdly, this season we have beaten the PL Champions, the Champions of Spain (who are supposedly the best team of all time), and beaten a CL quarter finalist 5-1 (Shaktar).
We have done this despite a constantly full medical centre and without the services of our strongest CB. Which other team has suffered as we have? Down to our 3rd choice GK, 3rd choice DM, 4th choice CB.
Furthermore, we have a young player who had he continued his early season form would be a shoe-in for PL player of the Year, and we have an almost guaranteed winner of the Young Player of the Year.
Has all this good work been totally destroyed by the past few weeks very average performances? Some would say so, however at season’s start, had anyone offered me the position we are in early April, I would have taken it immediately. What is overlooked is that most Arsenal “fans” were predicting us failing to achieve Top 4 and that Spurs would be top North London club under the “genius of Harry.” In fact, most predicted a 6th place behind Liverpool. Sure the last month has been painful and in retrospect the B’ham CC game was a precursor for a difficult spell, but a true assessment of the season can only be made on May 23rd.
Onto today’s fixture. Everyone likes Blackpool (well, at least the football club!). The manager, the style of football, Charlie Adam, the David & Goliath theme etc etc. Well just for today, I say “Sod them”, we need the 3 points. Let them get the points they need to avoid relegation elsewhere because we are desperate for a confidence boosting win. A flukey 1-0 will do it, as long as it is accompanied by our usual 60+% possession.
Our injuries are as usual a major factor. This would be a good game for Theo to regain form and he awaits a fitness test. Song, Diaby, and Denilson are definitely out and there is a question mark over Sagna. Could Eboue get his final start in an Arsenal shirt (I hope it is final )?
Could we repeat our home demolition of Blackpool? I doubt it, Blackpool lost a player early at the Grove and we were in a fine run of form. We can expect B’pool to fight all the way and with the return of their top scorer DJ Campbell will not be easy opposition, we will have to go toe to toe with them and hope Cesc and Nasri can create the chances to win all 3 points.
I really hope that should we not be winning at half-time, AW makes an early substitution. It worked at WBA, yet he didn’t repeat it with Blackburn which left us with only 10 minutes of all out attack. Chamakh and Bendtner should be on early if we are struggling.
Blackpool is best known as a holiday destination. I have been a few times (conferences!) and left shell-shocked. What is less known is that it is the birthplace of my fave bands at different times in my life. Starting with Graham Nash OBE of The Hollies and later the brilliant C,S & N, onto Maddy Prior of Steelye Span and Roy Harper, followed by Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull, then Robert Smith and The Cure, Chris Lowe of Pet Shop Boys and more recently Nick McCarthy of Franz Ferdinand. Not too Metally, but for a small town, Blackpool has a fine musical heritage.
I made the fundamental mistake of predicting a win last weekend, I promise never to do so again.
Written by BigRaddy