Arsenal get back ho Premier League action today with a home game against Wigan Athletic. It's a game that they have to win to keep up the pressure on the two Manchester teams that are above them in the league. With "Manure" playing their game in hand away to Blackpool in midweek, Arsenal have to take three points to make sure that they don't stretch their lead too much. I am very confident that "Manure" will slip during a tough run of games they have in February, and Arsenal need to be ready to take advantage of that.
When Arsenal played away to Wigan only a couple of weeks ago, they only managed a 2-2 draw. In that game they started poorly, and went behind when Charles N'Zogbia dived for a penalty, but they came back to lead 2-1. N'Zogbia was sent off towards the end, after head butting Jack Wilshere, and Arsenal looked like the three points would be theirs. However, Sebastien Squillaci managed to head into his own goal, and Arsenal dropped two points from a position where they should not have.
I wasn't overly happy with the team selected in that game by Arsene Wenger, as it had too many changes from the previous game. As it turned out the team that was selected put in an inadequete performance, but it has hopefully made the boss realise that he needs to play his best team available to him in every single Premier League game. With that in mind I hope that he plays the same team that beat West Ham in today's game, with the exception of Bakary Sagna returning to replace Emmanuel Eboue.
I know there is a Carling Cup semi final second leg to play on Tuesday night, but the Premier League needs to take priority for today. I think the boss will play a fairly strong team against Ipswich Town on Tuesday night, and Arsenal will progress to the Carling Cup final. There is a school of thought that Arsenal should rest a few players today, to ensure a victory against Ipswich, but as long as the team put in the right effort I'm sure they will get the win.
Arsenal's form hasn't been great at home in the Premier League this season with only six wins in ten games, and the three defeats they have suffered are a real worry. At times they have struggled to play their best football at home, but against both Chelsea and Man City they managed to play a lot better. I know they didn't beat City, but it wasn't for lack of trying, and on any other day they might have scored three or four goals.
As usual Arsenal need to start the game with crisp passing, and real tempo to their game. Wigan try to play good football, and given the chance they will cause Arsenal problems occasionally. If Arsenal can get Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri on the ball, and involve Robin Van Persie in the play as much as possible I think that they will have too much for Wigan. The way Arsenal have played in some of their recent league games points to the possibility of them giving some team a real hiding very soon, but I don't think it will be Wigan today.
I'm predicting a 3-0 win for Arsenal, and I'm hoping that RVP keeps up the form that he has shown, with 3 goals in little more than 110 minutes, in his last two games. His return from injury is a huge boost to the team, as he is a top class striker, and as long as he stays fit he could well be the difference between Arsenal winning a trophy, or being runners up again. I just hope that he can stay injury free for the last four months of the season, as it's an awful long time for him to manage to do so.
In other news Aaron Ramsey has apparently returned to his former club on loan, until just before the end of February. He will join Jay Emmanuel Thomas, who is already on loan there, and I hope to see them both get plenty of game time. Cardiff City are pushing hard for automatic promotion, and if those two players can play to their potential I think they could help Cardiff to achieve that goal. Ramsey needs to play some games, after his loan spell at Nottingham Forest was badly affected by the bad weather in December. JET is a player who needs to be playing first team football, and I think that he can grab the opportunity with both hands.
Here's a look at what JET can do.
That's it for today.
See You Tomorrow