Thankfully Arsenal will be playing on a Saturday afternoon for a change this week and it means that we won't be playing catch up on the other title challengers for a once. While we are at home to bottom of the table West Ham most of our rivals have much trickier games. Chelsea make the difficult trip to Blackburn, Man City travel to Wolves and "Manure" and The Spuds play each other at Old Trafford.
When you're challenging for the league I suppose every game is a must win game but we just cannot afford to slip up against also rans like West Ham if we are to be taken seriously. I know we lost at home to West Brom a few weeks ago in a game where they were given no chance but at least West Brom are in a good position in the table and seem to be playing with plenty of spirit, commitment and skill. Until Wednesday night's victory over Stoke RFC in the Carling Cup the same could not be said about West Ham and there are rumblings in east London about the possible removal of their manager.
We need to go out on Saturday and lay down a marker for the rest of the league by showing them exactly what we can do from first minute to last. As it stands we have scored 43 goals in 14 games in all competitions so far this season and which is an average of just over three goals per game. We started last season in a similar fashion in the goal scoring stakes but the difference then was that our scoring rate dropped off significantly when Robin Van Persie got injured. This season we are banging all of those goals in without the injury prone Dutchman and it augers very well in my opinion.
I read a statistic yesterday that Theo Walcott has one goal every 52 minutes so far this season and I know it's only early days yet but he looks far more composed in front of goal to me this season than he has done in the past. He seems to come in from his role on the right hand side at just the right time to get on to through balls from our midfield and his blistering pace is very difficult for defences to handle. When he first arrived at the club he was seen as the long term replacement for Thierry Henry and right now it looks as if he might have a chance of living up to that tag.
Arsenal may have had a bit of a blip a few weeks ago with only one point in three games but they seem to have put it behind them now and they will be looking to make up some of the five point gap to Chelsea who are the only team above them in the table. With back to back home games against West Ham and Newcastle to come and Chelsea traveling to Blackburn and Liverpool at the same time there is a possibility that the gap may not be quite so much by the time Arsenal travel to Wolves for a midweek league game on November 10th.
In injury news the boss has confirmed that Kieran Gibbs will be out for a few weeks with the knee injury he sustained against Newcastle. He said that the injury is relatively short term, although with Gibbs luck he won't be back too long before the next injury strikes him down. The boss also said that RVP and Aaron Ramsey will be returning to full training at the end of next week. Ramsey will still need plenty of time before he's ready to play again but hopefully we will see RVP available for first team duty by the middle of November.
With all the talk of RVP being injury prone and rarely available to play it shouldn't be forgotten that he has a genuine love for Arsenal and an enormous desire to win trophies with Arsenal. I'm sure he must be even more frustrated than the Arsenal fans with his seemingly endless run of injury problems and I really hope that the extra time being allowed to him to recover this time will make all the difference. He will also be acutely aware that other players have taken advantage of his continued absence to become an intrical part of the team and he won't just walk back into the side.
The latest on the other absentees is that Tomas Vermaelen and Manuel Almunia are still not ready to return and by the sound of what the boss said we won't see them for a while yet. Abu Diaby has another ankle injury but I got the impression that he might just be ready to make the trip to face Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night. That just leaves Jack Wilshere who serves the final game of his ban tomorrow and will cause the boss a real headache by being available again. Just who will get the nod in midfield with Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song is anybody's guess but it's all good for Arsenal which is the most important thing as far as I'm concerned.
I'll be playing football myself tonight if I can manage to strap my knee up enough to stop the puss oozing from my skinned right knee. It's a self inflicted injury so there's no sympathy from anybody and to be honest it would take a little more than a bit of pain to stop me playing football. Just before my football starts I'll be posting my Premier League predictions for this weekend and they're always worth reading as you can usually win a few bob by betting against whatever my forecasts are. There have been an awful lot of surprise scorelines so far this season and I'm hoping for that to continue at Blackburn tomorrow.
See You Tomorrow.