Arsenal News Blog

fact and opinion intertwined

Arsenal preview for Watford trip

Posted by James Dall on 26, December 2006

Morning all, I hope you had a fantastic Christmas yesterday. Another relaxing day on the cards for everyone? Watford at 5.30 today and I am excited about the trip. I am aware we have stumbled against some of the supposed lesser teams over the season however we are looking a lot stronger at the moment, 6 games unbeaten and a victory today would be a massive boost.

There are a couple of interviews with our two main strikers, van Persie touches on a few important issues. The main theme of the interview appears to be how much he loves playing in an Arsenal team that plays such good football, he then goes on a tangent mentioning how the Christmas period is very tough –

Everyone knows that the Christmas period is a tough one. My first season here we had a difficult time in the Christmas period. I wasn’t playing that often and I experienced how hard it was. I saw it was very hard mentally and physically because we played every three or four days. Sometimes every two days. It will be hard but honestly, if we get ourselves together and get the right spirit, I am quite confident about it.

Good on you Robin, being more actively involved helps any player. I think we all knew, given a good run in the team he would really excel (sustained with the fact he is our top goalscorer with 9 this season). Another player who has benefited from a consistent run out is Adebayor, who has looked excellent in recent games. There were doubters of his ability for a while, I admit I had a few doubts but always respected his work rate.  I love this –

Today I am very happy to be one of the loved players with the fans of Arsenal. But I am just enjoying myself and, for me, the important thing is to give what I have in my heart. Whether I score or not the important thing for me is to enjoy winning games.

I think defenders are starting to become a little bit frightened of him. How do you deal with someone who can play as a target man and as a player who can run with the ball at pace? It certainly is difficult. Defenders will be unsure of whether to get tight to him or to drop off. The fans have now really taken to him and rightly so. Before I go onto the starting line-up for today’s game Arsene says he simply cannot drop Adebayor right now due to his current form.

I cannot rest him at the moment. He has won the fans over because he fights hard. I think he has a good mixture between the English game and the French game. He challenges in the air, goes for every ball, likes physical contact and is good with his feet as well. That is why people have quickly loved him.

Ok so the starting line-up today. It is a tough one, by my guess of who is available – obviously there are the usual absentees Gallas, Ljungberg, Diaby and Thierry. I am unsure if Eboue will be available today after missing the weekend. If he is I would start him, Hoyte is suspect. Lauren will be on the bench I imagine, to give him his first start in 11 months away from home would not be wise in my opinion. Now I am sure Wenger will rotate but I hope not too much, for me the key is not to change the defence to much, it is vital not to mess around with such a key part of the pitch, so –

Lehman in net, Eboue if available, Toure (do not rest him, we need him), Djourou (although I have a nagging feeling Sendros might play, I doubt Djourou acutally needs a rest though), Clichy will start no other option really. Ok so that will be our back 5 area. I really really pray that he is sensible and does not tinker with such a pivotal area. Moving onto the midfield, will it be a 5 man  or 4 man midfield? hmmm? away but to Watford, plus we scored six with 2 up top in our last game, so please play 4 man. Walcott may start I think, Rosicky I think will continue as he needs the games. So I would like to think those two will occupy the wings. Central please play Gilberto and Fabregas. They have been excellent and to mess about with such a key area would be daft. Without Fabregas we look a bit lost, as if someone is waiting for someone to be Fabregas. Something tells me though that Flamini might slot in somewhere though, now I like him but Arsene don’t be a fool and put him in for Fabregas. If we have 4 in midfield and we are to trust Arsene in that he won’t drop Adebayor, he will be up there now will van Persie start or will we see Baptista up top with him. Either combo I would be happy with.

Right I am off to shower and sort myself out for the rest of the day, out for lunch then back in time for a few drinks and to watch the game. Enoy your Boxing Day.

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