And the big games just keep on coming.
Liverpool at Anfield tonight. After a few years of plenty we’ve had a bad run against the Scousers of late, if no points and no goals whilst conceding 12 can be classed as merely ‘bad’ in these days of hype and hyperbole. Still the number of goals being shipped is gradually reducing, five, then four, then three meaning that things are turning in our favour.
It’d be lovely for the players to have more time to relish and take the plaudits from Saturday’s marvellous victory and performance but it’s a case of once more unto the breach, and if we’re being realistic it’s probably more likely that we’ll be challenging Liverpool for a top six league place than the Gooners for a top four at the end of the season. Win this one and the players will have plenty of time to soak up the praise and for me to reassess that prediction, thanks to Leicester we don’t have a game at the weekend.
Pochettino will probably change things around a bit tonight, but not in the key positions. Davies, Stambouli, Chadli and Fazio will all be eyeing the team sheet closely when it goes up in the dressing room as they might fancy their chances of getting a start. Some of these will probably play; it’s very unlikely that all of them will however.
For Liverpool, there’s a report that Sterling will have to sit this one out which is a boon in one way but a blow in another if it gives Sturridge the chance to start. Jordan Ibe provided a bit of speed and flash on Saturday, if Sterling’s out then that improves his chances of getting a game. Gerrard’s inability to play twice a week to a standard required from Rodgers has been quoted as a reason for him being eased out at the end of the season so it’s unlikely he’ll feature from the beginning tonight.
On Saturday we swamped Arsenal, their midfield was left shocked and stunned by the tenacity and running of Kane, Bentaleb, Eriksen and Mason. I suspect we’ll be more cagey tonight for the most part, trying to take the sting and momentum from the home team before setting Kane loose at Sakho and Skrtel. Dembele’s ability to hold possession could be crucial in allowing Eriksen and Chadli to support Harry. He may give the appearance of doing everything himself, I’m sure he’d appreciate some help though.
There are some nice lines in the onlinegooner’s match report on Saturday’s game – “Arsenal’s midfield made Ryan Mason look like Yaya Toure” is one but two digs at Wenger “the developer of youth was in the home dugout” and “Project youth wins the day” are my favourites. The youth will be tested tonight.
It’s a big game, as I say. The rewards are obvious but there’s also the desire to make sure that the good work done on Saturday is not thrown away just a few days later. We have the confidence, belief, the coach and the players to achieve a good result.
Fatty Dowd is the ref. COYS.
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