Friday, 13 December 2013

Getting our excuses in early -Sagna set to return -Wenger's contract signed?

Morning Gooners.

It feels like the manager and some of his players are getting their excuses in early regarding tomorrow's game with Manchester City. The fixture schedule hasn't been kind to us and the TV companies haven't helped us either by booking us in to play late on Sunday afternoon before our Champions League tie then on Saturday lunchtime following our Wednesday night game.

We've got limited recovery time. We've played two high intensity matches already and now we face a third within six days tomorrow at Middle Eastlands. While Manchester City were able to rest a number of their key players for their game in Munich, we had to play our strongest team in Naples to ensure we weren't defeated 3-0 and sent to play in the Europa League.

And while the circumstances do make this fixture duly unfair to us, we still have to play it. There is no reason why we can't win it either. We've got the best defence in the Premier League and our forward players have scored some amazing goals already this season. There is no doubt in my mind we can win in Manchester tomorrow.

The players know how important this result will be for us. Win and we'll extend our lead on Manuel Pellegrini's side to nine points. It would, as Mikel Arteta has said, be a "big statement".

Arsenal's vice-captain told the media after the Napoli game::
"We know it can be a big statement if we get a good result at Manchester City. That’s what we want. Recover and think about the next game. 
"The mood is fine, the recovery time is very tight. I don’t understand why we play Sunday afternoon, Wednesday evening, get back at 4am and then play again on Saturday morning in Manchester. 
"There’s nothing we can do - just recover well. It’s a big game and we want to win it. It will just be about recovery. It’s not ideal. We will have a warm-down and try to get our legs back for Friday. 
"We travel on Friday and will be as well prepared as we can. City will be ready for us because they rested seven or eight players in Munich. 
"I think we have different options to play, you could see that in Naples - we changed the team a bit again. We have to be ready, no excuses. We want to win at Manchester City and we have to be prepared."
We've been good on our travels this season in the league. Of the seven games we've played away from the Grove, we've won five, drawn one (West Brom) and lost one (Manchester United). Our defeat came after an away Champions League game, having beaten Borussia Dortmund four days previously in Germany.

I'm sure the manager will alter his team and we look set to be boosted by the return of Bacary Sagna after injury, according to the Daily Mirror. While Carl Jenkinson hasn't let anyone down, it would be great to have our first choice right back available for this huge game.

The same newspaper reports the Arsenal board are hopeful the manager will now sign a extension to his contract after we qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League. It will be interesting to hear what the manager has to say about that when he speaks to the media later this morning.

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