Today’s game sees a team full of potential match-winners take on a side desperately out of form. The question is: which is which?
As poor as our form has been recently, QPR’s is worse. They haven’t won yet this season. Then again, neither had Norwich before they played us. For the Canaries, Grant Holt posed a fairly singular threat. QPR have a whole host of players who could cause us troubles. Adel Taraabt is showing signs of transferring his blistering Championship form to the top flight, Esteban Granero looks like a quality signing, and Djibril Cisse loves goals almost as much as he loves getting sent off and preposterous haircuts.
Then there’s Bobby Zamora. Whenever he comes up against Arsenal, and Thomas Vermaelen in particular, he gives us a torrid time. Whilst he’s far from the perfect striker, he does have a phenomenal ability to hold the ball with his back to goal. Vermaelen’s instinct is to nip ahead of the striker and win the ball early, but Zamora’s upper-body strength and neat first touch are like kryptonite on the Belgian.
Arsenal, of course, have players of their own who can do damage. In recent the games the team’s dour performances mean that individuals, like Podolski and Cazorla, have suffered. With that in mind, Arsene will be keen to freshen it up. Bacary Sagna could be in contention to oust a jaded Carl Jenkinson at full-back, whilst Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has a “60%” chance of inclusion. If he’s fit, I expect The Ox to start. Gervinho was out of sorts on Wednesday night, so replacing him with the direct running and brio of Chamberlain seems a natural choice.
I’d be slightly shocked if the Ivorian started at all – surely Olivier Giroud must be primed to reclaim his central spot. It’s time for the Frenchman to be bedded in now, and that means a regular run of games. Whatever your reservations, he is surely the best option we have for the time being.
The big question surrounds Jack Wilshere, and whether or not Arsene will see fit to throw him back in to the fray after 14 months on the sidelines. It would doubtless give the team and the crowd a lift, and the pre-game whispers are that Jack could be set to start. Imagine the ovation he’ll get if he does.
The first goal today will be crucial. Arsenal have picked up a nasty habit of falling behind in recent games. If we do so again, then we run the risk of another disastrous result. Go ahead, and things will look a lot sunnier.
Today could be the day when Jack relaunches his Arsenal career. Let’s hope it’s also the day that Arsenal relaunch their season.
Couple of quick notes for Any Other Business: