Momentum is a great thing in football and there is no doubt that Arsenal have it at the moment. We may have a had a bit of luck along the way, with the poor finishing of Cavani giving us the chance to draw at PSG and a soft penalty decision from the ref helping us to beat Southampton, but the fact of the matter is that the Gunners are going strong after a slow start to the new season.
There has been a lot of speculation about how many changes to the Arsenal starting line up Arsene Wenger will make for the second Champions League group match against the Swiss champions Basel tonight, even more so with Francis Coquelin reminding the Gunners boss of how injury problems have plagued the club in recent years.
Apart from having to replace the defensive midfielder though, with Granit Xhaka the obvious choice, I think we will see just one other change from the 11 players that started and did so well against Chelsea in the Premier League at the weekend. Arsenal do have an EPL match on Sunday to consider but after that is the international break and the trip to Burnley is a game we expect to win anyway.
Granit Xhaka has had a good start to his Arsenal career having scored two magnificent goals in just a handful of games and has become a favourite amongst the fans. Calls to give Xhaka a starting position on the team against Chelsea were left unanswered by Arsene Wenger last weekend, however now that Francis Coquelin seems to be ruled out for the time being, Xhaka will finally get the chance to kickstart hopefully a long career with the club.
It is not like Arsene Wenger to go over the top when Arsenal have a good game, just as the Frenchman is usually the voice of calm and reason when the Gunners suffer the setback of a bad performance or result, so it was a bit different to hear the Arsenal boss waxing lyrical about the team after the demolition of Chelsea at the Emirates stadium yesterday.
Perhaps it was down to all the frustration we have had with the Blues in recent years, or ever since Jose Mourinho and the crazy spending of Roman Abramovic changed everything. This certainly was an overdue win but it was the nature of the match that had Wenger buzzing, as reported by Metro.
I am not saying that the people behind the secnes at the club and the Arsenal board are wrong to be making plans to replace our long serving manager Arsene Wenger. It would be daft if they did not put some thought into it, even if they are expecting the Frenchman to stay after his current contract runs out at the end of the year.
The timing, however, of the revelation by Ivan Gazidis on an Arsenal supporter’s forum reported by the Daily Express could hardly have been worse, as this week and specifically today the 22nd of September, marks the 20th anniversary of the prof starting his career as the manager of our great football club.
Arsenal have learned to our cost in recent years that finishing second in a Champions League group, despite being better than not getting out of the group at all, often means that you are drawn against a European giant like Bayern Munich or Barcelona in the next round.
So with our main rivals for top spot this year being PSG, the injury and form problems affecting the French champions at the minute is a big boost to our UCL campaign. Even without that, however, Arsene Wenger feels that the current Arsenal squad is better equipped to compete in this elite competition.
With Arsenal suffering our usual rotten luck with injury problems already at this early stage of the season, especially in the defensive areas where Arsene Wenger has been without Gabriel and Per Mertesacker since before the new Premier League campaign even kicked off, it was always likely that the new centre back Shkodran Mustafi would make his debut for Arsenal against Southampton.
It was far less clear whether the other late addition from the transfer market would play, especially with Olivier Giroud having proved his fitness and scored a goal for France over the international break, but I think that Lucas Perez could well feature against the Saints tomorrow.
Yesterday it was reported that Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was in contention of being a top candidate for the Arsenal job, after Arsene Wenger eventually leaves his post at the club. Arsenal fans have debated the possibility of having the likes of Simeone and Low at the helm of Arsenal football club, but it is a manager closer to home that may be the firm favourite for the position come May.
I will never understand why Arsene Wenger felt it was alright to go into the new Premier League season with an Arsenal squad lacking in enough strength and options in the key areas of attack and defence. Most people saw that need before the end of last season but we are still waiting for the Frenchman to do something about it.
It was a month ago when Arsenal travelled to Lens for the first game of pre-season and that was when Per Mertesacker got his injury, so the manager has known since then he would be short at the back, as he also knew that Koscielny would be a late returner from Euro 2016.
One of the low points of last season for Arsenal, and there were quite a few of them as we failed yet again to make a decent job of challenging for the Premier League title or the Champions League, was the end of our hopes of making it three FA cup wins in a row.
That FA cup loss at home to Watford in March was an awful performance by the Gunners, but it was also something of a surprise, as we did beat the Hornets comfortably at home and away in the league, with an aggregate score of 7-0over the two matches.