Gunners have history on their side against Portsmouth

I hope everyone had a good, reportable Christmas this year. Mine was filled with food and my not being able to move after having said food. We move ever onwards…

Cesc Fabregas has come out saying that one incentive of winning the Premier League (as if that were not enough) is to prove that the team is even better after losing ‘the world’s best’ in Thierry Henry at the beginning of the season. Fabregas has expressed ‘a hunger’ existing inside the dressing room; one filled with belief in their own abilities. Fabregas says:

The team is hungry and wants to achieve something to prove people wrong. We want to achieve a lot of things over the next 12 months. If we could win everything that would be perfect – but the Premier League is the competition it would be amazing to win.

Fabregas makes the point that not too long ago, scorelines often went along the lines of “Thierry Henry vs Opponent”, and now after the French maestro’s departure, there’s a wealth of players desperate to prove themselves capable of starring in his absence. In my mind, they’ve more than done that – apart from the title thing. Still got to win a few of those, first.

-{Arsenal, until they win the Premiership again, will remain an underrated side.}-

And with Arsenal currently topping the league’s ladder, there are quite a few players outside of the Gunner’s camp that are talking about us – the likes of Lampard and Rooney all saying that ‘they’ll catch up’ – Lampard says at season’s end, Rooney reckons as soon as January 1st.

The only opinion I offer to that is that both teams, as well as Liverpool, would gladly swap places with Arsenal in spite of their ‘poisoned-chalic’ view of us sitting pretty at “Pos: 1”. Were it us in Man Utd’s position, for instance, our kids would no doubt have the self same belief that we would overtake Manchester United by Christmas, but just think of the laughter such statements would be met by in the press. Arsenal, until they win the Premiership again, will remain an underrated side. Expect the league to continue to be the number one priority for Arsenal.

-{…if it’s just the usual ‘useless twat’ fare, I’m sure Sol’s £100,000-a-week wages can compensate for some therapy.}-

In the last bit of news, Arsene Wenger has sided with Sol Campbell on the issue of players’ copping heavy abuse from the fans on the terraces, right after I and a few other bloggers gave Sol the ‘aww, diddums’ treatment. Frankly, nothing the players in the English top flight have to put up with compares to what many African-descended players in Spain and other parts of Europe cop in the stands.

Wenger comparing the pedophile remarks he has to put up with with Sol’s pity party really cheapens Wenger’s burden. If Campbell and other players have to put up with racist or threatening remarks, then sure – that’s a cause for complaint – but if it’s just the usual ‘useless twat’ fare, I’m sure Sol’s £100,000-a-week wages can compensate for some therapy.

261207-A-PORAnd with that, it’s Boxing Day preview time! It’s worthy of note that Arsenal have not lost a Boxing Day fixture in seven years, and it’s been even longer since we lost to Portsmouth. First time for everything, of course, but there are reasons to be confident.

Portsmouth have not had the easiest time of late, and if I had the generosity, I’d give a prize to the man who could tell me when they last won at home (7-4 against Reading some few full moons ago).

Nevertheless, as many cynics have pointed out, it would be just our luck that Pompey show up against us in front of their home crowd, and complacency will be an enemy of ours for sure. I’ve gone with a 4-4-2 today after a few things became evident in the Tottenham match.

Firstly, Adebayor was far too isolated in the 4-5-1 in the first forty-five minutes, though that was remedied almost immediately in the second half. If that remedy can spill over into this match, then maybe we can forget about 4-4-2 until Robin van Persie finally makes a proper comeback.

However, as patient as a kid needs to be, I’m sure that somewhere in the back of Wenger’s mind, Bendtner’s itchiness to get a premiership start soon will be a factor, and a reason to try 4-4-2 both as an opportunity for the Dane, and to ensure there is an attacking intent from the off in Arsenal’s step to avoid complacency setting in.

The rest of the side picks itself, in truth – should Bendtner not start, it will be Eboue to take up the right wing position with Hleb ghosting in behind Adebayor.

Here’s hoping for three points at what is a tough ground to take anything from. The team know that, in spite of points coming their way in two consecutive local derbies, they can play better still. Christmas might herald a starting anew approach to Arsenal’s game – let’s hope for a points-reflection as evidence.

A 1-0 to Arsenal, perhaps? Fingers crossed.

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10 Comments

Filed under Arsenal, Blogging, English Premier League

10 responses to “Gunners have history on their side against Portsmouth

  1. jammathon

    Welcome to Third-Gen. I rig those up the morning/night before a match in the previews. Thanks for the kudos 😉

  2. shotta gunnah

    4-4-2? Why do we all get fixated with formations? The problem with your starting XI is it is unbalanced and overly offensive. Your graphic tells the tale. In such a formation Cesc will have to play deeper than usual, closer to the defenders, a position where he is least effective. Even if he plays deep, the defending looks light-weight. Apart from Flamini, none of the midfielders are tacklers and ball-winners. Portsmouth is a counter-attacking team and there key players are either big or speedy (Harry prefers both). Muntari, Benjani, Kanu, Utaka, Diop et al will make mince-meat of lightweight defenders. Remember Reading. Arsene Wenger is a pragmatic man. He will not engage in a Keeganesque shoot-out with Pompey. He is here to win the league playing attractive football and with ManU breathing down our necks the starting XI will include Eboue who offers more defensively.

  3. Cjones

    With all due respect shotta gunna, I side with jammathon. The football of the first two months of the season that all the critics (as much as I loathe to admit their opinion is pertinent to how things actually are) creamed themselves over was 4-4-2 with a heathy Van persie and Adebayor up front. Arsenal is a club that thrives on two things: possession and passing. You are right to assert that with a club who strives for total football that formations are facetious, but to think that we are so pragmatic to assume that we have one man designated to put the ball in the net is a tad. Simply put, this club loves to score goals. We need 3 points from this game. Remember, Manure is at Sunderland today. If Roy Keane doesn’t give Demento a late Christmas present I will be very surprised. However, I see a strong ex-Arsenal contingent at Portsmouth (Kanu, Lauren, Campbell, et al..) putting up quite a fight. We play for three, and I think Bendtner starts.
    PS Hleb and Rosicky, though not true ball winners, I have seen make some fine tackles, particularly Hleb

  4. Cjones

    I apologize, after “tad” I meant to put “naive”. Cheers

  5. jammathon

    Both of you have very strong points. Shotta, ball winners are nigh-on essential, and Flamini is certainly the designated one, but do not forget that Fabregas has developed a very nasty bite to his tackle, and as CJones has emphasized, the two wingers are coming along nicely in that department, too.

    4-5-1, while very effective given the right attitude, has the tendency to isolate our lone striker (usually Adebayor), and cause the team to become complacent through passing the ball around too much without penetration.

    Still, Im not one to scream ‘shoot’ too often, as the huge amount of possession works in our favour 95% of the time anyway.

  6. Cjones

    However, to be fair, now that I think about it, at least 5 times so far in the season I have said to myself “God, why is Eboue in the team today?” So, truthfully, in a road game, against a team that can be full of goals, and with a team that paradoxically plays brave football and boring formations means that probably Eboue starts in place of Bendtner.

  7. jammathon

    Whenever I’ve got the team spot on, we haven’t done so well.

    So hopefully Eboue plays ;).

  8. Cjones

    ha ha. cheers to that

  9. Gunnin'

    PORTSMOUTH 0 ARSENAL 0. WTF.

    WENGER MUST REVERT BACK TO 4-4-2.
    BENDTNER MUST PAIR-UP ADE OR DROP ADE TO RVP.
    RVP-BENDTNER UPFRONT.
    ADE BECOMING MORE AND MORE ‘HENRY’: SELFISH AND BRAINLESS.