Saturday, 3 March 2012

Wenger's concern over quartet -Diaby abuse unnecessary -Szczesny's a Liverpool fan?

Morning Gooners.

We're back on the road today with a game at Anfield in what many are calling a tie which will help decide who finishes in the top four. Liverpool are currently seven points behind us but have a game in hand. They've yet to lose at home this season but have only won four times at their place in the league. The odds must favour a draw.

But we've got the wind well and truly back in our sails following last Sunday's north London derby and should use that result as motivation to push us to victory today. No one should be thinking about Tuesday's Champions League match with AC Milan until after the final whistle. It's highly unlikely we can turn that tie around but we can give our all this lunchtime and take three points.

I'd expect the manager to pick the same team which destroyed Tottenham last weekend. There are injury concerns about van Persie, Vermaelen, Rosicky and Alex Song. But I expect all four to play. I think we can win at Anfield, there is no reason why we can't go there and get a result. Everyone is up for it.

Abou Diaby is back in the squad, which is great news. He's worked so hard to get back to full fitness and the manger admits he never gave up on his compatriot.

Wenger said:
"I will never give up on a player as long as he has the desire. If I felt that in Diaby’s head he had given up, then I would have said yes. 
"But he was always very focused. He’s an exceptional guy, Diaby. Such focus to do well is unbelievable."
Lots of Gooners on Twitter were being abusive about the news Diaby was in the squad. I want to see all our players  fit and available. Having a health squad is the one thing we need above all else. And if every player is available then it gives the manager decisions to make. At the moment he doesn't have any because he can only play the players who are fit. Does having Diaby back to full fitness make Arsenal a better team? In my opinion it does. He's a fantastic player and let's remember it isn't his fault he had his ankle shattered by another player which has led to him receiving all these other related injuries.

If Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Diaby were all fit and in good form at the same time, the manager will have a tough decision to make as to who to leave out. All are fine players. But it's a testament to how highly Diaby is regarded that he comes straight back into the squad when he's fit. The other thing I didn't realise about the Frenchman is that he's only 25. He's still got plenty of time ahead of him to make an impact and we'd do well to remember that this is Robin van Persie's only full season fit since....

One player who is concerned about his own form is Wojciech Szczesny.

He said:

"I have to admit that I'm not in top form at the moment.  
"But I think that for a young goalkeeper it is normal to have ups and downs. It means that soon things should be better."
I've been concerned about Szczesny for some time. It's good that he can see that he's not playing the best football of this life and hopefully is analysing with the goalkeeping coaches where he can improve.

One of the things I have major concerns about him is with his distribution. He seems too keen to get the ball out of his hands and get us on the attack when slowing down the game and taking his time would be a more sensible option.

His kicking is another thing which needs work. All to often he pumps it long but doesn't reach its target. One of the issues here is that because of wide attacking players aren't tall, he's only got van Persie to aim for. Perhaps the manager needs to work at putting more players around Robin so he can play it to a team mate when we have a goal kick.

I don't think we need to be too concerned with Szczesny's admission he was a Liverpool fan. I'm sure that was only down to his idol Jerzy Dudek playing for them.

Today has to be about getting three points. If Manchester United can beat Spurs tomorrow the gap between us will be down to four points. Is there a chance we could pip them to third place this season? I don't see why not.

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