Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Robin hints at staying -Wilshere KO'ed for season? -Diaby scores in return!

Morning Gooners.

Finally after what has seemed like an eternity The Arsenal will return to action tonight against Everton. Not an easy game but we are not Tottenham going to Merseyside on the back of two defeats. Our form is the best in the league and although the match will be difficult, I see no reason why we can't come away with three points if our attitude is right.

That's where we've slipped up in the past and it is why we've fallen by the wayside all too often in recent seasons. However that is not something our captain expect to see this season.

Robin van Persie - giving his clearest indication yet that he plans to be at the club next season - said:

"If you look at the last couple of weeks, we showed we have a lot of character in our side. 
"After the two defeats to Milan and Sunderland, everyone was like 'this is going to be a tough couple of weeks' because we had games against Spurs, Liverpool, Milan and an international week and then Newcastle. Yet we won every game, so we showed lots of character. We can be proud of that. 
"Now we need to show that over a period of a whole year. That is very hard and only the best of the best teams have that in them."
You could never class this Arsenal side as one of the "best of the best" but what we have seen is the mental strength which has been spoken about by the manager so often finally appear and flourish under the pressure. There must be a reason why we've set a Premier League record for winning our previous four games from losing positions. Something in the camp must have changed to allow the players to have the belief in themselves to be able to pull of that kind of feat.

One of the features in our games has been our work off the ball and the attempt to win it back as quickly as possible.

It's something that Kieran Gibbs believes is linked to our good run.

He said:
"There are a lot of players putting a lot of effort in, especially off the ball, and that is great to see. 
"When we put pressure on teams high up the pitch and early on in the game, it is difficult for them to play and we can control the game a lot easier. 
"We are enjoying doing that at the minute and we have to enjoy defending as well. It's alright just having the ball, we know what we can do to create chances and score goals. That [the defensive side] is the big improvement we have made over the last few weeks."
And I don't think it is any coincidence that playing a consistent back four of Sanga, Koscienly, Vermaelen and Gibbs has helped create a solid foundation in which we can base our game. Having natural full backs has greatly improved the way we play and allowed our attacking players to do what is natural to them and play to our advantages.

The team news is as expected. None of those out with longer term injuries are included in the squad. Thomas Vermaelen who had taken a kick to his calf in the Newcastle game is fit to play. I expect the side to be unchanged to the one which beat Alan Pardew's side nine days ago.

Still no date set on when Jack Wilshere will be back. I think it's becoming increasingly more likely that he won't play again this season.. The manager has said he's not fixing a date and is taking the situation "week by week" which means I'm not getting my hopes up.

Finally there was good news from the reserve match against Liverpool were Abou Diaby played 60 minutes and scored our equaliser. Let's hope there are no side effects and he'll be in the squad on Saturday.

That's your lot for today. Until tomorrow.

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