Friday, 16 November 2012

Gunners need a catalyst -Walcott should start -Dynamic Arshavin needs a role

Morning Gooners,

The build up to Saturday's game has been quite understated. I guess that's because we've had to sit and wait for the midweek international fixtures to get out of the way. I'm really up for it, despite it being a 12:45 kick off, which you all know I hate.

Last season's late run-in started with our win at the Grove against Spurs and I just hope tomorrow's performance will do the same for this season. We desperately need a shot in the arm to get us going again following our slump in results after October's international break.

Tomas Rosicky was arguably the catalyst for the turn around last time out in the 5-2. He's looking unlikely the manager will risk him following his return to training, but we need someone - if not several of our players - to step up and be counted.

The team news is mixed. The manager will give late fitness tests to Theo Walcott, Wojciech Szczesny and Bacary Sagna. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came through his cameo with Fulham without incident and after a midweek rest, should be available to start the game.

What I really hope is that the manager goes with an attacking formation. If Theo is fit to start, he should. I would also really like to see Andrey Arshavin given a starting role as well, but I'm mindful the little Russian has yet to start a league game this season and it seems unlikely the manager will throw him in for this one.

Its been clear for a number of weeks that Santi Cazorla and Lucas Podolski haven't been firing on all cylinders. Arshavin could replace Podolski but I would imagine that with the manager describing Kieran Gibbs' thigh injury as long term and Andre Santos being out of favour, Thomas Vermaelen will probably start at left back, which would in turn suggest there is no way the manager will start with Arshavin in front of him.

Then there is the decision over Cazorla. He's flown to Panama City and back without playing a single minute for Spain, which would suggest he'll be raring to go this weekend. However we all know the manager is reluctant to play players who have been on long haul flights because he believes they cause fatigue. He made a decision to throw Cazorla straight into the Sunderland game despite his trip away with Spain. So I would imagine he'll start again on Saturday despite the long flight.

We need a big performance. Let's hope the players know how important it is to win this game.

That's it for today. Back tomorrow with more.

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