My brain is an arsehole. “Just one gigantic whiskey before you go to bed. Go on!”
I need to stop listening to my brain although I’m not sure who I should listen to in that case. I guess it’s another reason why I’ve always been a fan of butlers. “Should I have one gigantic whiskey before I go to bed, Carmichael?”
“That’s up to you, sir. I can fetch it for you if you would like.”
“Make it super gigantic!”
Hmmm, that wouldn’t work either, although I would still like a butler. Anyway, the essence of this opening is *boilk*. But then this is Saturday morning and that’s fair enough.
After a quite pleasant, if uneventful week, we’ve got to get down to business today with a trip to Sunderland. Yes, yes, Martin O’Neill, blah blah, revitalised, blah di blah blah, skippity-hoppity curly haired leprechaun simpering twee blah blah backhanded compliments blah blah twat blah. Bottom line is that under Mrs Doubtfire Sunderland were a bit poo, under O’Neill, not that poo at all.
And we ought to remember that when they were poo it took a fairly late, but exceptionally great, free kick from Robin van Persie to win us the game at home. We got into the game buoyed by our 7-1 demolition of Blackburn last weekend and Arsene Wenger knows this is just the first part of what’s going to be a very busy and demanding week.
We go into a period that will decide our season. I think it is that important because in one week we play three games in three different competitions.
In every single competition we are, of course, in a position where we want to win our games. I feel the team has the mental strength and a fantastic attitude on a daily basis. And from what we have learned from last year.
Mentul strengfff, that old reliable. Not sure where it was in January, but there you go. Still, the boss is right about this week deciding our season. And while it’s normal to have half an eye on a midweek trip to Milan, we can’t lose sight of the fact that the game today is by far and away the most important. Then the Milan game will be most important. Then the next Sunderland game the most important. And so on.
Team selection today is relatively easy, I guess, although he might bring back Gibbs and give one of the centre-halves a rest. He also has to decide if he stays with Rosicky in midfield or returns to Ramsey who, as Goonerboy points out, is not doing as badly as some people seem to think. Still, I guess the temptation would be stick with the midfield trio that did so well against Blackburn.
Up front, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott either side of van Persie is as obvious as it gets, and between them they were involved in six of the seven goals last weekend. Sunderland will obviously work hard to nullify that threat, it’s rare to find a Martin O’Neill side that doesn’t work its hole off so I’d expect nothing less today.
The fact that they did 120 minutes in midweek might be a factor though, particularly as the game wears on. If there are some tired legs I hope we can exploit that, particularly with the pace we’ve got down the wings. So, it’s going to be a tough test, as are most games for us due to our lack of consistency. You just never quite know which Arsenal is going to turn up. Hopefully it’s the same one we saw against Blackburn, the one that didn’t just create chances, it finished them too.
Wastefulness today will cost us points, so fingers crossed we’ve got our shooting boots on. Bar the free kick last weekend Blackburn didn’t really threaten (during the period they had 11 men) so if we can marry our attacking verve with the defensive solidity we showed then we can be relatively confident that this is a game that’s within our capability to win. Three points today are a must, no doubt about it, and it can start the gentle trundle of momentum which will be badly needed as the season heads towards its final stages.
In other news yesterday Marca ran a story about Robin van Persie and Real Madrid. The manager called it ‘creative’, while the skipper took to Twitter to say:
Contrary to reports in Spain I have NEVER spoken to Marca newspaper and never gave any interview. Enjoy your day.
Boom. In your stupid face, Marca! And I like the fact that as well as debunking a story, which I figure is going to appear again and again until such time as his future is slightly more clear, he wanted us to have a nice day. ‘Enjoy your day’. It’s so thoughtful. And different from other players on Twitter whose responses would have less considerate. There’s no plaintive cry to make him a martyr, no zany facts about himself, just a pleasant sign off. What a guy.
Finally for today, Leopold Mendacions returns on ANR with part II of his epic scrolls - The Oracle Speaketh.
And that’s about that. You can follow the game later on the live blog. Check back later for the live blog post or you can bookmark the default live blog page. It works on all devices meaning you can get up to the second live text commentary if you’re out and about and you can’t see the game for one reason or another.
We’re also 500-1 to win 7-1 today, that’s with Paddy Power and if you sign up with them you can get up to £50 in a free bet. Click here to register.
Right then, time for breakfast, catch you later for the game.