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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.

But just like it was ridiculously premature to write Arsenal off from having a successful season after only a couple of hours into the new campaign, it would be equally insane to get complacent after a good run of form as we are barely approaching the quarter mark in a long marathon. There will be plenty of tests ahead of us that we will need to overcome before we know our fate. One of those tests will be to shake off a physically grueling match in midweek to go again only a few days later, against a side who will be fresh and desperate for Premier League points

In an ideal world we would take six points off Bayern Munich over these next two games, confidence would be flowing and we would go on a crazy winning run both domestically and abroad, no injuries and the quadruple in our sights but the reality is that we will not be able to play that many games at full pelt especially as we have three important squad players in Welbeck, Wilshere and Rosicky not being able to contribute to the first part of this season.

  • 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