We know the deal. Two wins against Wigan Athletic (H)
and Newcastle United (A) and we’ve secured Champions League Football for the
17th year in a row. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it?
will arrive at The Emirates buoyed after Saturday’s FA Cup final victory
against a poor-performing Manchester City, knowing they need to win both of
their remaining games to ensure Premier League survival.
Roberto Martinez is,
in my opinion, a manager who thrives under pressure, but I won’t be joining in
on the love-in currently surrounding him. This is his second successive season
that Wigan are having to fight to survive. The omens are with Wigan however –
no FA Cup winning side have ever been relegated in the same year. One of two
things will happen tonight – either Wigan will turn up knackered from the
weekend or they will turn up and look to slaughter us, fighting for their
lives. It is imperative that we turn up right from the off, and don’t wait until
the second half to hit the gas like we have for most of the season. We also
cannot just switch off after 25 minutes like we did against Queens Park Rangers
ten days ago.
went to Wigan for the reverse fixture earlier on in the season, and although it
wasn’t a vintage performance, a Mikel Arteta penalty was enough to see us walk
away with the three points. James McArthur had a superb game on Saturday and
will look to impress again. McArthur is not the only man we need to watch out
for – with the threat of Arouna Kone also lurking up top, Wigan could provide
some tense moments for us. The Latics are capable of playing some lovely
football, I’m thinking in particular of the drubbing of Everton on their cup
run, but so often they switch off before the game is over; most recently
against Swansea City.
Away from our game it’s
been an interesting week transfer wise. Wayne Rooney has emerged as a potential
target for us amid a lot of dismissive talk on Twitter. If we did actually bid
for Rooney, I’d be over the moon. The signing itself would be a massive
statement of intent, plus it would technically make us even for selling Robin van
Persie to them. Rooney has seen a blip in form, but get him back to his best,
which I believe we can and we’ve got a 25+ goal-a-season man, something we’ve
lacked in recent years. I would prefer Rooney to Stevan Jovetic, mainly as
Rooney is a proven success in the Premier League. Add to that he’s English,
with Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Carl Jenkinson, Jack Wilshere and Kieran
Gibbs, we’ve got an English crux, something else that some fans have been
crying out for a while for.
So, let’s recap that
transfer 1) Big money spent. Tick. 2) Big name signing. Tick. 3) English. Tick.
4) Proven quality in the Premier League. Tick. 5) Doesn’t need developing.
Tick. Five things that some fans have yearned for. If this one’s got any legs,
Another potential target
is Lukasz Piszczek of Borrusia Dortmund. The Telegraph are reporting that
if Bacary Sagna departs in the Summer, Piszczek is the number one target.
Costing around £12m he wouldn’t be cheap. The Telegraph also state that Asmir Begovic
is also an option for us, but the £15m Stoke City will hold out for would be a
know Twitter isn’t the be all and end all, but juxtaposed with a lot of fans on
the site I am confident we can see off the challenge of Wigan, provided we see
the sort of performance we put in against Manchester United a few weeks back.
Considering the importance of the game, I think we’ll be fine.
Wigan – Antolin Alcaraz, Jean Beausejour (both hamstring), Maynor
Figueroa (groin) and Ronnie Stam (ankle) have all picked up knocks in recent
games, joining long-term absentees Albert Crusat and Ivan Ramis on the
Arsenal –Olivier Giroud
(suspended). Lukasz Fabianski (rib Injury) & Ryo Miyachi (ankle Injury)
Gibbs, Koscienly, Mertesacker, Sagna
Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky, Cazorla, Gervinho
I believe Ramsey has had a brilliant second half of the season, coming up big when he needs to (Spurs, United) and changing many fans’ opinions of him. He isn’t the finished article yet, but he’s getting there… Rosicky has also merited his inclusion in my selection as he has been outstanding in the last few games. Gervinho gets the nod ahead of The Ox for me as his direct runs could cause a threat to Wigan’s back four.
last six games DLLDWL
Arsenal’s last six games WWDWDW