It’s Arsenal v Everton in the Premier League later today and my word does it feel good to say that.
Unfortunately we have some serious injury concerns going into the first game of the season. Samir Nasri (broken leg) and Tomas Rosicky (hamstring tweak) are of course out but joining them on the treatment table are Johan Djourou and Lukasz Fabianski (both knee problems) and Theo Walcott (back) and Abou Diaby (groin). It’s not the ideal way to start the season but on the plus side both Diaby and Walcott are expected back shortly.
The injuries and the switch to 4-3-3 means that the team virtually picks itself with Manuel Almunia set to start behind a very good back four of Bacary Sagna, William Gallas, new signing Thomas Vermaelen and Gael Clichy. Alex Song will start at defensive midfield supported by Denilson and Cesc Fabregas while Andrey Arshavin, Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner should make up the attacking trio. Although the options on the bench are far from brilliant there’s no denying it’s a quality first XI that should be expected to win at Goodison Park.
Everton’s main threat will surely be Tim Cahill who scored two goals for Australia against Ireland midweek (yay – sort of) and is always a threat in the air. The Toffees are undoubtedly a good side but there are worse times to play them than in the first game of the season and I think we stand a very good chance of winning the game.
I’ll be particularly looking to see how Vermaelen plays at the back alongside Gallas (I’ve yet watch a full pre-season game) and what sort of impact Arshavin can have with his new role on the left of the front trio. Mostly though I’ll just be looking forward to watching the Arsenal boys play again and hopefully they can put in the sort of determined performance that sends out the message to the Premiership that we mean serious business this season. We have a tough start to the campaign and 3 points at Goodison Park would be just the tonic to give the squad confidence to hit the ground running.
As you probably know right now I’ll be heading down to the Brisbane City Pig ‘n’ Whistle pub to watch the game today (which kicks off at 2.30am Australian time!) and there will be a big group of my friends as well as Arsenal Australia members watching the game there. I previously set up a Facebook event for the match which you can check out here and if you are a Gooner living in or travelling through Brisbane then I massively encourage you to attend because it will be great fun.
I’ll be the one wearing the Djourou shirt hanging out with my Walcott, Arshavin, Fabregas and Nasri Arsenal FC Blog buddies. I’ll also be taking photos throughout the night that I’ll be posting on the blog tomorrow so it should be great fun.
Anyway I’ll leave it there for today. If you can’t wait for the game to start then you can help the time fly by reading this brilliant interview with Arsene Wenger but otherwise… “Come on Arsenal!!!!!!”
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