Friday, 26 April 2013

Wenger hails defensive stability -Walcott needs to step up -Jovetic deal progressing

Morning Gooners.

After days of nothing, there is a lot of stuff to get through today. The manager has been speaking to the official site and has divulged the latest team news. It's pretty much as expected, we're without Olivier Giroud because of his suspension and Lukasz Fabianski is unavailable because of his rib injury.

So there will be at least one change in the line up for Sunday's game. I would expect that the decision the manager has to make over who replaces Giroud, will have an impact on who plays in the attacking three behind him.

I'd expect Jack Wilshere to come back into the team and play just behind the central striker, with Santi Cazorla on the left and Theo Walcott on the right. Gervinho would be my man to play through the middle.

Where I can't see any changes being made is in the seven behind the four attackers. The stability we've had in recent weeks has allowed us to grow as a team and although there have been changes due to injury and suspension, there have been a core group of players who have kept their place.

This has allowed us to grow in confidence and is one of the main reasons why we've only conceded three goals in our last seven games.

Wenger told the official site:
"That's where we've improved the most. It's very important for the confidence of the team that we have such a [defensive] stability. 
"As I said many times, we are an offensive team, but you are only a good offensive team if you have a good defensive stability. In the last two months that was much better."
The Arteta/Ramsey screen has been vital to our team since the Tottenham game and because they've played together in six of those seven games from the start, they've developed a very good understanding. They also complement one another very well.

One player we certainly need a big performance from on Sunday is Theo Walcott, where ever he plays in the formation. The England man has only been involved in five of our last seven games providing two assists. He's not scored since the 2-2 draw at the Grove with Liverpool back in January.

And the 24-year-old believes the players and not the manager should take the blame for the poor performances which have been seen this season.

"He [Arsene Wenger] obviously puts his message and tactics across at training, but if we don’t do the job on a weekend, it can’t be down to the manager.  
"We need to step up ourselves and not always let the manager take the blame. He always puts it back on himself and protects the team, but us players know that we’re the ones who go out there and play. We do the job."
And I think Walcott is a prime example of one of those who have not stepped up. He had a purple patch before and after he signed his contract, but we've not seen much of that since. Let's hope he brings his A-game to the Grove on Sunday.

Meanwhile Nacho Monreal believes we should be concerned about the whole Manchester United team than just the greedy badger.

Monreal told the official site:
"Their players are of the highest level, you can’t just focus on one player because their team is full of players who can create and score. 
"We must be on our guard and be aware of certain key players, like Robin, who has scored a sack of goals this year and is playing well. He is one of their main threats."
Elsewhere the talks to bring in Stevan Jovetic are progressing. Most of the media are reporting today we've opened negotiations with Fiorentina for the striker. My understanding is that the player will sign for us if we get Champions League football next season.

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

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