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I am hoping beyond hope that the trio of Cazorla, Alexis and Özil can continue where they left off in midweek. When those players produce that level of football you can almost allow the rest of the team to focus on being defensively stable and not making mistakes because you know one of those three will do something special during the course of 90 minutes to find a breakthrough or two. The understanding between the three was evident against Zagreb. The understanding between Cazorla and Özil seems obvious while the Özil and Alexis duo seems to be flourishing more and more. Norwich cannot be seen as pushovers though, it took a big effort from Chelsea to squeeze past the Canaries by a single goal last weekend, Norwich have really attempted to tighten up defensively ever since Newcastle stuck six past them in October so it might have to be a case of looking back at what went wrong against West Brom and sticking to what went well

So it's knife edge stuff this evening isn't it? If we are to hold onto any hopes of the knock out rounds then nothing less than an Arsenal victory tonight will do. Even if we win we could still be dumped out of the competition should Olympiacos get anything at all from Bayern Munich in Germany. Not impossible but gee whiz I'd be surprised. If results go as we hope/think then it will leave Arsenal and Olympiacos going for a final group game shoot out. But that is too far away for me to think about right now in too much detail.

We were starting to look somewhat jaded before the players flew off to different parts of the world. It felt as if we were pushing the limits of our squad somewhat, especially in midfield and attack so it will be interesting to see how the players look and feel after being away from the squad for a few weeks. We were hoping to have Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain back after the break but it seems as if they are not yet ready to take part in the squad. Arsène did say that those two will be back for midweek but I am not entirely sure what that means. Back in the squad? back in training? back to the future? Who knows. But at least we have Hector Bellerin back for this afternoon. I thought his absence was felt against

Fast forward a season and we are on equal points with the league leaders but a familiar obstacle has resurfaced. I had been really encouraged by the fitness of our squad during the second half of last season, perhaps Shad and the gang were making good progress and a corner had been turned. This was the season where our injury nightmares would be put behind us, yet at the time of writing this, we are without at least seven

If anything, if Gibbs is to come into the side then I would go for Giroud as the player to make way. He played 90 minutes against Everton, 90 again against Sheffield Wednesday and then a further 84 minutes at Swansea. Without Theo Walcott around, Arsène will want him ready for Tottenham on the weekend so can he afford to play him from the start tonight? It is far from ideal but either Alexis or Campbell could play in Giroud's place if need be and that will a) throw Bayern a little, especially after Pep's pre match comments on our game plan. I wouldn't be surprised if his centre backs would have been practicing getting a man in front and behind Giroud from our goal kicks during the last few days and b) would give us a fast

Nine months later and my view of the player hasn't changed one bit. He looks to me like a typical Arsenal player in the way he always wants to come to the ball rather than run away from it, he likes to drift inside and he can spot a pass but whenever I have seen him play, he finds it difficult to knit everything together and makes the wrong decisions. Now a run of games has often been the cure for many but that doesn't mean it is a guarantee for Joel Campbell. As the manager said pre match, this is an opportunity that he will need to grab in the next three weeks. He needed a Coquelin situation to arise just like last season, all the players who are ahead of him in the pecking order are just not available to play

The games have come thick and fast in recent weeks, not only that but we have also played against Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Everton. Three teams who are good at keeping the ball so we have had plenty of chasing around to do, so the Capital One Cup is a good chance to give those desperate for a game, a chance to gain some vital match sharpness but perhaps more importantly rest some weary limbs. And I imagine we have a few of those.

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more