Big game tomorrow - every game is from now until the end of the season though.
Before I begin, apologies for a lack of posts in the last few days, the international break crushed my spirits, but with REAL football returning this weekend, I'm back!
The main news in the build-up to this game is the huge boost of having Cesc, Song, Theo and Robin all back. Diaby also returns - I think I've made it clear what I think of him - but Ramsey and Denilson miss out. Nicklas Bendtner is also in the squad, while Arsene has confirmed that Manuel Almunia will start, despite his error against West Brom.
It is absolutely massive to have all these players back at such a crucial stage of the season, a time when we're still fighting for the title. The combination of Theo, Robin, Samir and Cesc is so difficult to stop, they really can destroy teams. The last sustained period that they were together was from the Chelsea game all the way until beating Huddersfield in the FA Cup. During those games, we lost just once, to Ipswich in the first round of the Carling Cup semi final. We won six times, and drew three games.
We also scored a lot of goals in that period, putting three goals past Chelsea, Birmingham, West Ham, Wigan, Leeds and Ipswich. Since then, the only time that quartet of players has been together was Barcelona at home. Need I say more?
Arsene has been talking about how we need to regain our mentality from earlier in the season, when we were destroying teams, during the time I was just talking about. He says we need to relax, and find the balance between enjoying our football and focusing. I completely agree with him. Now it seems like the players are suffering under the pressure. Before, we were in four competitions and had plenty of chances to end the drought. Fast forward a month, and the Premier League is our only chance of that silverware we so crave.
I don't think we had enough players to take responsibility and pull the team back up after we crumbled in three competitions - we were deprived of our captain and some inspirational players, like Walcott. Those two are back now though, and there are more players to take the responsibility and the pressure from Nasri, Wilshere and RVP's shoulders. Hopefully that'll also help take the spotlight off of Almunia.
With Jack having played so many games this season, and played 150 or so minutes for England during the international break, some have suggested Diaby will play, with Jack rested. I have to say, it frustrated me how Diaby can just walk back into the side, without having to work for his place. Don't get me wrong, he's a talented player, no doubting that, but it's his attitude that just grinds my gears.
85% of the time, he just strolls around the pitch, happy to let his team mates do the work, making the occasional pass, losing the ball a lot. It's such a shame that he has that mentality, because we've seen how good he can be. And that's not just before his injury, which many have blamed for his development, or lack of it. I was watching a video of Arsenal counter-attack goals, and his goals vs Aston Villa and AZ Alkmaar were featured. He covered so much ground and did so well to score those goals, but it's something we see so rarely from him these days.
Finally, I have recruited a new blogger to post, and, stuff. Please welcome Dan Bird! He'll be popping in every now and then to give his opinion, so you won't have to listen to my rubbish all the time. Until tomorrow!