Saturday, 22 March 2014

Wenger can make two changes to team and finally win against Mourinho

Morning Gooners.

After all the build up to this weekend celebration of Arsene Wenger's 1,000th match in charge of Arsenal, it's easy to forget that there is actually a game of football taking place between two teams vying for the Premier League title.

We go into the clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on the back of three good results against tough opposition. We've managed to keep the momentum going despite going out of the Champions League against Bayern Munich.

Despite not putting in the best performance against Spurs, it was just important after a tough week to get the three points and ensure we're in the right position to be in the mix for the title. Surely it's the next three league games which will decide whether we'll be league champions this season?

Chelsea are tough opposition and Arsene Wenger's record against Jose Mourinho is awful. There is no better time to change that than today, his 1,000th game as Arsenal manager. Last season I was at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea went 2-0 up after 16 minutes. It was a match which saw us start Abou Diaby and Francis Coquelin, with Andre Santos and Emmanuel Frimpong on the bench.

This time round we're without some key players. Our only goalscorer in that match Theo Walcott is out for the rest of the season, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere both played too and of course star signing Mesut Ozil is also injured.

It leaves Wenger with the same squad which played Spurs last weekend. Tomas Rosicky was a doubt with an ankle concern which the manager said the Czech international would have a test on yesterday morning.

If last Sunday's goalscorer is only fit enough to make the bench, the only option I see is to bring in Mathieu Flamini into the team. The manager may well do that any way. I think an Flamini/Mikel Arteta axis in the centre of midfield would be wise if Rosicky is unavailable.

The team I would go for is:
Szczesny, Sanga, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud.

The only other change the manager could make is to replace Lucas Podolski with Serge Gnabry. Theo Walcott always has success against Chelsea because of his pace. I wonder whether this game would be one where the young German could be useful.

Whatever the finer points of the line up are, this is a game we need to ensure we avoid defeat in. Three points would be perfect and I'd love Wenger to get one over Mourinho today of all days. But a point wouldn't be the end of the world.

If we play at our best, which we've not seen a lot of lately, there is no doubt we can match up with anyone. I hope Wenger can break Mourinho's fix over him and a win today can keep our positive momentum going. It's time to win away against one of our top four rivals.

Enjoy the game where ever you're watching it.


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