Tuesday, 9 April 2013

I thought Wenger got it wrong -Who to drop for Wilshere/Walcott?

Morning Gooners.

The momentum we've built since my last post has been very encouraging. Two wins against lesser sides - who we might have previously slipped up against - has for me at least, brought even more confidence to our top four finish this season. And by top four finish, I'm talking about third place, not fourth.

I had expected Manchester City to win last night's derby putting second place beyond us, but there is no reason why we can't finish above Chelsea and Spurs. Of course fourth place is now in our hands following the neighbours draw with Everton. We've got to hope for Rafa's men to drop points on their fixture congested run in to allow us to not have to pre-qualify for the Champions League next season.

I had an excellent time on my day out to West Brom. I thought we again put in a team performance which was worthy of a win. Tomas Rosicky was superb and I've always been a fan of his. Much like Robert Piers did in his time at the club, Rosicky is the oil in our engine which powers us forward and back.

I've also been impressed by the form of Aaron Ramsey. He's really stepped up since the turn of the year and on Saturday it was great to see him feel confident enough to try to beat players with little tricks on the wings. Of course it would have been great to see him tuck away that first half chance he had, but as he's not scored in more than a year, I think we can forgive his rustiness in front of goal.

Gervinho is rightly being praised. He does provide us with something completely different from the likes of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. And he's a constant threat. The opposition never know what he's going to do (and most of the time neither do his team mates!).

I thought the manager had made the wrong call following Mertesacker's red card. I would have left Sagna in the middle, moved Ramsey to right back and brought on Oxlade-Chamberlain for Gervinho. This in my mind would have allowed us to retain possession and offer us a player who could counter attack at pace and assist Giroud.

Instead the manager made three defensive substitutions. We won the game, so he got the call right with bringing on Vermaelen and that's why he's paid £7m a year to get those decisions right.

Now with three points in the bag we've got games against Norwich and Everton to play before our two main top four rivals play again. We've had a fantastic run in the league - our form is now joint top of the table with Manchester United - and we have to keep that going until the end of the season. One game at a time and not looking beyond the game ahead.

Wenger told the official site:

"The most important thing is for us to win our games. Then you don't need to calculate too much. 
"We can look at their games and think that we have done our job today. Let's do it again next week and then we see where we stand. We want to do it and if we keep these qualities, we will do it."
There will be players coming back this weekend. Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere should both be available. But I'm not sure either will get a recall if everyone who started at the Hawthorns - Mertesacker excluded - is fit to play.

I think dropping anyone who has played in our last four games for either Wilshere or Walcott would be incredibly hash on them. But the manager has shown little sentiment in recent weeks and won't be loyal to those in his starting line up if he feels other players in the squad can win him the game.

Having everyone fit will cause him a huge dilemma. But that's a good one to have. And if that makes starting places more competitive, then so be it.

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



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