Saturday, 2 November 2013

Gooners need to get behind their team as Wenger ponders changes

Morning Gooners.

It's Liverpool at home in the league later and it's time for this Arsenal team to get back to winning ways. I said after the defeat to Dortmund, this is where we needed to see the real reaction of the players. Only a major catastrophe would have seen us defeated at Selhurst Park last weekend and the midweek cup game against Chelsea was always going to be a hard one to call result wise as games in the cup are a lottery, but against Liverpool we have ourselves a real test.

Let's make sure we as fans are loud and proud tonight. I've been very disappointed by the atmosphere inside the stadium for the last two home games. Dortmund's fans were just fantastic and if you could bottle some of what they were on that night and spoon feed their passion, energy and voice to every Gooner, we could have a rocking stadium too. The league cup atmosphere was also disappointing but unsurprising given the fact we had a large proportion of youngsters in the ground.

This tea time we have to be loud and vigorous in our support. It's a big game and big games mean the North Bank should be standing to through its full voice behind the team. The recent return of "We're the North Bank" chants with the other stands has been a welcome boost to the atmosphere but they've gone missing along with the voices of many a Gooner over the last two home games, Lets get that back later and make sure the team know we are their 12th man.

On the pitch the line up seems to be pretty settled. The back five picks itself. I don't expect any changes from the manager and I'm guessing he'll stick with Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny and Gibbs. It's the midfield where we will see the changes. Clearly Mathieu Flamini's absence is a blow. Mikel Arteta will return from suspension and I'd expect that Aaron Ramsey will return to partner the Spaniard. It's the attacking three positions behind Olivier Giroud where the manager might decide to shake things up a bit.

Clearly Mesut Ozil will take a place in the starting 11 but with the absence of Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Serge Gnabry, Arsene Wenger has the options of Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky to slot into the remaining two places.

All three played the full 90 minutes in midweek, so it's who the manager believes is the most fresh is most likely to influence his decision in picking his team. I feel Rosicky is the most in form of the trio. Wilshere has been struggling this season to find his best form and I don't believe that has anything to do with where he is played on the pitch. Cazorla likewise is finding his way back from his injury lay off and I'm not sure we'll see the best of him until after the international break.

The manager talked at his press conference about how he wanted us to deny Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge the ball. I think that has got to start at the top of the pitch. It seemed on Tuesday night against Chelsea we didn't really have a plan in the first half as to what we were going to do with and without the ball. Some players were pressing. Others weren't. Today we have to be unified in our approach.

We're top of the league for good reason. Our form in the competition has been very promising since our opening day defeat and we have to continue that again tonight. The majority of the players have had chance to rest their legs in midweek, so later we should leave everything on the pitch. Our next three games are massive and will show us where this team is heading.

As supporters we expect the players to give their all on the pitch, so let's do our bit off it for them with plenty of noise and encouragement. I'm really looking forward to the game and know the players will be up for it as well. Lets work together to get a result today.


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