The big question for Arsenal fans going into the opening game of the season against Liverpool at Anfield is: what is a good result?
Historically this a fixture where a draw would be considered acceptable, yet this assessment is complicated by the poor showing Liverpool gave last season and the pre-season injury crisis that threatens to derail the early part of our season.
In the end, those two factors just about cancel each other out and the same desired conclusion remains: a draw at Anfield on the opening day of the season would be a successful start for our boys.
One wonders, however, whether the stability and balance in the team going into this game will be strong enough to achieve such a result.
The injury list is already up to five with Nicklas Bendtner, Johan Djourou, Alex Song and Denilson joining long-term absentee Aaron Ramsey in the treatment room.
Abou Diaby faces a late fitness test – but should be fine to play – whilst Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie will likely start on the bench after extended post-World Cup rests.
The absentees mean Laurent Koscielny will make his Arsenal debut alongside Thomas Vermaelen in the centre of defence, flanked by Bacary Sagna on the right and Gael Clichy on the left.
The midfield is slightly more complicated, however, and hinges on the availability of Diaby.
Should the Frenchman be passed fit then I believe he will play as the holding midfielder with Samir Nasri in the Fabregas role and one of Tomas Rosicky, Emmanuel Frimpong, Jack Wilshere or Emmanuel Eboue as the other midfielder.
My personal choice would be Eboue, who actually started last season’s opener against West Bromwich Albion as the holding midfielder, to add some steel and experience to what will be the most important area of the pitch.
Up front the options are excellent.
Marouane Chamakh will lead the attack from the centre with support from Andrey Arshavin on the left and Theo Walcott on the right.
As someone who has remained relatively blind to the pre-season happenings at Arsenal I am extremely excited to see Chamakh play tomorrow and really hope he can mark his debut with a strong performance and more importantly, a goal.
The final position to be decided for the game is that of the goalkeeper.
Arsene Wenger has remained extremely tight-lipped about his choice for the weekend, stating that it will be a good opportunity for whoever he selects to impress.
My only real thought on this is that I hope it is neither Lukasz Fabianski nor Vito Mannone, but one of Manuel Almunia or Wojciech Szczęsny, in order to promote some positivity in what has been a troublesome area of the pitch thus far.
As I mentioned at the start of the piece, I feel a draw away at Liverpool, one of the top six clubs in England, would be a terrific result for Arsenal under the circumstances.
A win, on the other hand, would be a marvelous start.
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