I am not sure what to9 make of the comments about Arsenal made by the Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp this week, as he prepares to bring his team to north London for the opening round of Premier League games. Perhaps the German is playing a bit of mind games and maybe trying to get his opposite number Arsene Wenger to change his own approach or even to relax and expect today’s visitors to play a certain way.
Arsene Wenger spoke a little bit the other day about the young Arsenal midfielder Gedion Zelalem, and while the manager clearly thinks that the talented 19-year old has a bright future ahead of him, he also suggested that the German born USA international is perhaps still not ready for the Arsenal first team and the rigours of the Premier League and top level football.
Metro reported him saying, ‘I think he’s a player who has quality, top quality,’ said Wenger.
‘He might be a bit longer to mature because he is a little bit behind on the body structure.
As well as Arsene Wenger wanting his Arsenal players to focus on the job at hand of winning all of our remaining Premier League games and securing a top three finish, he himself has to make sure that they take each game as it comes. And his own task is setting the Gunners up with the best possible chance of beating the team in front of us.
That is why, I think, the Frenchman brought back Olivier Giroud and Per Mertesacker for the midweek game against West Brom. But the away game against a Sunderland desperate for all three points to get them out of the relegation is a different matter.
Arsenal fans were delighted to get our England international striker Danny Welbeck back from his long term injury lay-off recently, and the former Man United man came back with a bang and after the shocking form in front of goal we have seen from Olivier Giroud since the turn of the year it was no surprise to see Welbeck starting ahead of the Frenchman.
But that initial burst of form and confidence has faded somewhat and Welbeck has been as guilty as any Gunner of missing chances of late and has not scored since the win at Everton over a month ago. That, combined with the expected defensive set-up of West Brom at the Emirates tonight, leads me to believe that Arsene Wenger could bring Giroud back into the starting line up tonight.
If you are looking for a banker bet to put on for the Arsenal v West Brom match tonight in the Premier League, maybe you should think about putting your money on the Baggies striker Saido Berahino to score a penalty, because that would be just about typical of the way things have been going for the Gunners this season.
Louis van Gaal was ribbed a couple of months ago for saying that his Manchester United team were suffering from Murphy’s law, or maybe it was the way he called it the ‘law of Murphy’ that aroused amusement in the football media. But if anyone should be complaining about things going against them it is surely Arsenal, not United, that have the best case.
Arsenal fans have been waiting a long time for Arsene Wenger to see sense and realise that the team needs a real warrior to balance the creative and fluent side of the game. To be honest the Frenchman should have known because in Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva he had just that and Arsenal had great success with them in the centre of midfield.
Arsene Wenger must have luiked what he saw from the young Gunner Alex Iwobi whern he started ahead of more experienced Arsenal forwards like Theo Walcott and Joel Campbell against Barcelona on Wednesday night, because today the boss has handed the talented youngstrer his first ever start in the Premier League.
Perhaps Wenger is hoping that the exuberance and fearlessness of youth is better than the pressure that the older stars seem to be struggling to cope with. We certainly need to get at the home team and get them on the back foot, because if we don’t I can see Arsenal struggling, especially in the latter stages of the match when the players start to feel the effects of two games in the previous six days.
Arsenal could really have done with our England international forward Danny Welbeck coming back from injury a lot sooner in the season and his comeback may prove to have been too late to save the Gunners from this most frustrating of seasons, but he has at least come back with a bang.
Once again at the weekend he made a big difference after coming on as a sub in the FA cup defeat to Watford. Arsene Wenger suggested after that loss that he was having to ease Welbeck back as he has been out for a long time and is not quite fully match fit yet.
While Arsene Wenger has already accepted that the FA cup is now the best and perhaps only chance for Arsenal to get our hands on a trophy this season, he has not quite given up on the other two competitions yet. So with a second leg against Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday followed by a big Premier League game away to Everton next Saturday, the prof is going to have do some clever tinkering and rotating to get the best out of the Arsenal squad in the next week.
Arsene Wenger has been left with little choice but to change the Arsenal team that played so poorly and slumped to a damaging and dismal loss against Man United at Old Trafford. And he may well need to freshen up the legs of the team as well as the big games have been coming thick and fast.
The first player to be struck off the team sheet will surely be the England international Theo Walcott as he was as bad against United as I can remember. A bigger call but also one I think the boss could make is to rest the under performing Alexis Sanchez as well, although I would still expect to see him from the bench.