Saturday, 24 March 2012

Wenger sets Wilshere deadline -Podolski deal wrapped up -AOC in for Rosicky?

Morning Gooners.

Game day and I can't wait to get to the Grove later. I'm really excited about our chances today and if we turn up with another big performance, we'll be someway to reaching our target this season. Everything is pointing to us winning the game. We've won six in six and our opponents today have one just one of their last six games.

But my big fear are that Villa are a team managed by Alex McLeish and he is a manager I hate. While we might have won two fixtures already this season against his team in the league match 2-1 at Villa Park and the 3-2 win against them in the FA Cup at the Grove earlier this year, neither have been straight forward wins.

In the league we had to rely on a Yossi Benayoun header in the 87th minute to win us the game. And the FA Cup match was just as difficult. Going 2-0 before half time, only to turn the game around in the second half with two Robin van Persie penalties and a Theo Walcott strike.

And we can all remember what happened in the Carling Cup final last season. He's a manager who sends out his teams to do us damage. I would hate for us to go into this game too confident. In my opinion, we need to remain focused on the task in front of us. There can be no assumption that we're going to win this match.

The players cannot also be distracted by the result at Stamford Bridge later. I would suggest a draw would be an ideal outcome for us, with both sides dropping points. Whatever the result, we cannot afford to slip up.

We are in third place because we have worked hard and won difficult games by giving everything. However the aim isn't to finish third with nine games still to go, it's to finish there on the last day of the season.

The manager said:
"We are favourites because we are in third, but being favourite never meant a lot. We must just put every effort in to do it. 
"As soon as you ease off, things change quickly. We have tricky fixtures and how well we finish depends on our attitude. If we keep our attitude, we have a chance."
For me, we have to continue to play as we have been doing. Working hard off the ball to win it back as quickly as possible and using the width of the pitch to our advantage has seen us come through four difficult matches with positive results. Maintaining that work ethic and momentum is key.

The team news is good. We've got everyone available who played at Everton. I would expect to see some changes from that side considering we're playing at home. Perhaps either Alex Oxlade Chamberlain or Gervinho coming in on the left and Aaron Ramsey or Tomas Rosicky dropping to the bench. Other than that I don't see the manager making any changes because the side is playing so well at the moment.

The boss said at his press conference yesterday he wouldn't take a risk with Abou Diaby. He's going to get a run out in the reserves again by the sounds of it before he'll be back in the squad for next weekend's game.

As for Jack Wilshere it seems he's in a race against time to play again this season. The manager has said he's got another three weeks until he can join up with the squad and then another two weeks before he'll be match fit. It leaves the midfielder with just three games left of the season which he could be involved in.

However the manager is keen for Jack to play in the Euros rather than the Olympics, as we all are. We wouldn't want Jack tired before the season had actually begun.

As for movements on the Lukas Podolski front, the manager has said he wants the deal to be done sooner rather than later, so I would expect a formal announcement once the transfer window opens.

I've got a few boring jobs to get done before I'll head to the pub to catch the London enemy derby. Then it's to the Grove. See you there.



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