Bale v Szczesny
This may seem like an odd player battle; but look at some of Gareth’s recent goals. The two home free-kicks against Lyon totally bamboozled Vercoutre in goal, showing how Szc… will have to be on his best form to deny Bale. The Welsh Wizard can create chances out of nothing; Sir Chesney in goal will have to be totally alert to prevent him from adding to his 15 league goals so far this season. I could now go through every other member of Arsenal’s back 5, discussing their battle with Bale, but I won’t: basically, they’ll need to be always on their guard as a single inch of room can prove costly, as shown twice on Monday night.
Oompa Loompa + Wheelchair v The Moose + Nosey
Arguably the most important battle in relation to Arsenal’s attacking threat. Most of their goals come through the middle; Cazorla + Wheelchair are a key part of this. But Mousa and Scotty P can prevent their forward bursts, if they are on their game. Although Scott has been less impressive since his return from injury – which kept him out of action for the first 4 months of the season – he can still do a job, and he needs to let Arsenal know that he won’t be beaten easily.
Woolcoat v BAE
Don’t get me wrong, the Goons still pose a threat down the channels. Kyle Naughton was unfortunately terrorised by Walcott in the reverse fixture at the Emirate, when our Cameroonian left back was out injured. But BAE is back now, and he has a job to do. He needs to stop crosses coming in from the Arsenal right, as Giroud is a strong presence in the air, as are the oft-marauding Vermaelen and Mertesacker.
Azza Blud v Montreal
Lennon’s form has been inconsistent this season, but he has produced some marvellous performances. The Mancs at home was a superb display from the little fella and he likes nothing more than squaring up an opponent before sprinting past him. Monreal will need to be on his guard to stop his little ‘dink’ crosses from flying in; although he shouldn’t have any worries about Ade converting any chances. Azza does have a scoring threat too; incredibly, we haven’t lost a single game when he has scored (25 games, I think it is).
AVB v Wenger
This could well be a very cagey affair; Arsenal will be absolutely desperate not to lose and we won’t want to over-commit too early in the game. Hence, substitutions could be crucial. In the game against the Spammers, AVB’s subs changed the game. Sigurdsson transformed the game after replacing the fading Holtby, and Carroll kept the ball moving, providing an assist for the Bale wonder striker. Neither side has world beaters on their bench, but clever manipulation of the available options could well prove crucial in this game.
By Alex Beck
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