Captain’s Log star-date 1 week to go.
Chekhov put a Christmas tree up on the bridge today. It looked nice but it was blocking the viewscreen, so I had Scotty beam it into space. Chekhov’s been mumbling quietly in Russian and giving me evils. It’s making me uncomfortable…
Big game on Sunday. Away to Liverpool is always a tough fixture. Anfield wasn’t good to us last season and we can expect Liverpool to employ the same tactics that worked so well for them last year when the game kicks off.
They came flying at us from the start and overwhelmed us in every way. The game was over after 20 minutes and then it was damage limitation. On Sunday I expect a tough game, but I think we’ll win, and here’s why;
Wenger doesn’t seem to learn from drubbings too often, which is why we got routinely smashed by the other big teams last year, but the evidence already points to some lessons learned this season. We lost against Chelsea, but it wasn’t a 6-0 hammering. We’ve already beaten and drawn with City and drawn away at Everton. What this tells me is that we’re not going into big games with our pants down.
Alexis et al
We have defensive problems, but so do Liverpool. Alexis, Giroud and Welbz will have a good go at their creaking back line, and I think they’ll get the better of them.
Speaking of front lines, Liverpool’s this season isn’t as good as last season. Suarez has gone and Sturridge is injured. We’ll be facing Ballotelli or Lambert. Good players, but not on the level of SaS.
Liverpool played a strong team midweek because Rodgers was under pressure to get a result. Gerrard, Henderson, Sterling etc all played. They have plenty of time to recover, but 3 days rest between games is not the same as 7. If the game is tight going into the last 10 minutes we should have an edge.
Now I know that quite often we look lethargic in games. Some bloggers have put that down to effort levels, but I disagree. I think the players give it all, but our training methods obviously take a lot of energy out of them. There’s been a lot of talk about how Jose Mourinho doesn’t rotate his squad much, but his players are always fresh and largely injury free because he gives them days off during the week. Arsene seems to have taken this on board, and apparently the lads all had 3 days off this week, so we can expect to see a fresh and energetic performance.
The last point may seem irrelevant to some, but I don’t think it should be overlooked is the kick-off time. Last season some of our worst performances came in the 12:45 kick offs, (including the 5-1 defeat at Anfield). The game on Sunday is a 4pm kick off. I don’t know why we we so bad in early games, but we were. No such problem on Sunday.
Overall we’re a better team than last year and Liverpool are worse. Form goes out the window in big games but I feel that we’ll have too much for them. If our lads show up I think we will win. If we don’t then Arsene might have to avoid the train station on the way home.