Time for total focus and total effort at Arsenal
Arsenal definitely visited sucker-punch city last week and it was quite a humbling experience. They beat Wigan in a game of great spirit and effort, but lost. And then our under 23s went up to Bolton and were looking the more likely team to score before Sol Campbell (slightly over 23- how did he get into the team!?!) failed to push up and played Stelios onside for a text-book headed finish.
But if there is such a thing as affordable losses in football they are in domestic cup competitions. And this is especially the case for Arsenal in a season of many injuries and patchy Premiership form that has made Champs League qualification look uncertain.
Now there are no more games where Arsenal can afford a loss. Every game demands a total focus, total effort, and the best possible result. It’s the Premiership and Champs League from now on… and no other distractions to take AFC off the eye of doing our best in either of these competitions.
Lauren is the latest injury victim for AFC but the fantastic Kerrea Gilbert will not let anyone down as his replacement. Cole is not going to be back until next week at the earliest, but when he does return we will have a far better balance and stability to our defence. The Thruam-like Kolo Toure plays Cameroon and Samuel Eto'o at the weekend- which opens up the prospect that he could be back sometime next week along with Eboue. The return of Cole and Toure to our defence will be massive boosts for AFC.
Up front, Adebayor will be available for selection very soon, as will Theo Walcott. With Van Persie and Dennis Bergkamp also back to fitness- AFC's sheer variety of attacking options in the next few weeks promises to be at its greatest for quite some time. It may hopefully also see Wenger decide to abandon his - one goal in nine matches - 4-5-1 experiment.
The addition of Diaby is significant! He has the presence in midfield that AFC were crying out for, and has all the asset's to develop into a magnificent squad member. I have also been impressed with Flamini in recent games, who is developing quickly into a promising midfield organiser. I'm hoping Fabregas will also flourish with the pressure now taken off him to play every game.
So in every department there is promise for improvement very soon. This is what gives me grounds for optimism that AFC can fight back over the important next few weeks and months. A good result against West Ham tonight will be a fantastic way to start things off.