Arsene will have to be at his best to bring back that Arsenal team spirit against Manchester city, Westham and Southampton as they aim to avoid an unthinkable 3rd straight defeat when they host cross town rivals Queens Park Rangers on Saturday at the Emirates stadium.
The manager had to appease the angry fans at the Clubs annual General Meeting on Thursday morning, having to defend his current team after that awful performances which lead to the two straight defeats to Norwich and Schalke. They couldn’t have asked for a better opposition to get back in their stride though as Rangers, still without a win to their name, languish at the bottom of the Premier League standings. The Hoops could can cause an upset though, as they did last season when they fought to a 2-1 victory at Loftus Road which eventually played a big part in them avoiding relegation. The longstanding feud between the two managers will also provide the highlight at the Emirates as there is little love lost between Mark Hughes and Wenger.
It is certainly that time of the season again, when the Frenchman has to staunchly defend his philosophy in the face of growing criticism from both the fans and the media. After that slow start to this season campaign with two successive goalless draws, the Gunners were praised for their new found confidence as they won away at Liverpool and secured a creditable draw at Man City.
But like so often in the past Chelsea put the spanner amongst their works as they slumped to a 2-1 defeat at home since which they haven’t been at their fluent best. The listless performance at Carrow Road last week could have been dismissed as a one-off if not for a repeat on Wednesday night when Schalke ran riot, deservedly grabbing the three points and moving to the top of Group B in the Champions League.
Steve Bould’s magic potion which kept Arsenal’s defence air-tight at the start of the season seems to have vanished as they haven’t maintained a clean sheet since the 2-0 defeat of Liverpool in early September. Andre Santos was largely to blame for both goals against Schalke and with Kieran Gibbs yet to recover from his thigh injury Wenger could face further problems down the left flank playing the Brazilian.
The more damaging aspect of our recent slump has been the failure to creative meaningful chances, with our high possession game proving to be mere sterile domination. The Gunners only click when Santi Cazorla is in the mood, but the midfield maestro is somewhat a human and yet to find his spike after his involvement with Spain during the International break.
The AGM ruckus indicates that patience is in short supply at the Emirates after seven trophy-less seasons. Wenger did indicate during the meeting that his side would give everything towards challenging for the title, but with ten points separating 9th placed Gunners and Chelsea at the top, the Premier League title already looks like it out of reach but “Impossible is nothing” and we can surely bounce back.
Doubtful: Chamberlain (hip), Koscielny (back), Sagna (match fitness), Wilshere (match fitness)
Injured: Gibbs (thigh, 3 Nov), Szczesny (ankle,3 Nov), Walcott (chest, 3 Nov), Diaby (thigh,10 Nov), Rosicky (hamstring, 10 Nov), Fabianski (ankle, Jan)
Probable Line-Up: (4-2-3-1): Mannone (Gk), Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos, Arteta, Coquie, Gervinho, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud
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