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By Fab4.

Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey

Premier League football is back this weekend after another round of internationals during the week. I hate international weeks, the only positive was that Arsenal managed to come through without suffering any serious injuries.

Arsenal have been in the news a lot this week with the Ramsey injury-Showcross tackle still heavily publicised, and Theo has been hammered fro his performance against Egypt. What made me laugh was how John Motson picked on Theo for criticism after 30 minutes when England were 1-0 down. Every player was useless, Terry had made a couple of errors, Upson slipped for the goal, Gerrard  and Lampard were annonomous, Defoe had hardly touched the ball…but no, it was Theo performance that made Motson say ‘Walcott, look at him, just what is he doing out there?’. Well Motty, he’s playing badly just like the rest of the England team. The funny part was that it was Walcott’s run and cut back that had produced England’s only real chance in the match to that point. Did he miss that? Did he miss Lampards pathetic finish? Why pick on a 21-year old who has played 8 games all season?

Brainless pundits

The fall-out from Ramsey’s injury continued throughout the week. Some of the rubbish supposed ‘experts’ came out with made my blood boil. Lou Macari and Stan ‘wifebeater’ Collymore being the worst culprits. People like them keep missing the point. Arsene doesnt’ want tackling banned from the game, he wants players protected from idiotic dangerous tackles. Tackles that are the result of brainless managers dishing out irresponsible tactics.

All i hear is ‘there was no malice in the tackle’. SO WHAT! Malice is not the point Arsene and Arsenal fans are talking about here. Nobody thinks Showcross was intending to break Ramsey’s leg. What it’s about it the very clear bully-boy tactics that are adopted against Arsenal can result in serious injury. Managers, players and pundits all love to claim Arsenal are soft, weak and easy to bully when it suites them, but as soon as it all goes wrong they deny all knowledge and start bringing up Arsene’s disciplinary record and how dirty a player Vieira was. What could be more irrelevant to this situation than a player who played for us 5 years ago getting sent off 8 times?! Were any of those sending offs due to Vieira breaking any legs? No, didn’t think so.

We are talking about the here and now, and the fact is teams DO go in to games to bully Arsenal about with over-zealous tactics. What Arsene is saying is that serious injuries like Ramsey’s can be the result. It’s blatantly obvious to anyone who wants to see it.

Rafa Benitez style facts:

  • Certain teams DO take an overly physical approach against Arsenal
  • Players have admitted to this in the build up to games
  • It is well documented in the media that Arsenal ‘don’t like it up em’
  • We are the second most fouled team in the league
  • 3 broken legs in 4 seasons, all by English players playing for Northern teams with English managers.

I really don’t see where the confusion is. Why these people don’t have the balls to just apologise and say taking a physical approach is the only way to stop Arsenal is beyond me. To make it even more ridiculous, they cite the Gallas incident against Bolton a few weeks ago as being just as bad a tackle as Showcross, with some saying it was WORSE! Are these people serious? Gallas didn’t  go diving in with all his body-weight with a  two-footed slide tackle with raised foot, Shawcross did. To compare the two tackles is crazy.

Burnley: 5-0 please

So Burnley at home tomorrow in the premier league, if we can’t win this game we don’t deserve to be champions so three points is a minimum. What i am looking for is a 5-0 victory to see us reach the top of the premier league….for a couple of hours at least. These are the types of home games where you need an early goal and the flood gates should open. Arsenal currently have the 3rd best goal difference in the league with +35, Chelsea are on +39 and United +42. We’re only 3 points behind Chelsea, so goal difference could be important at the end of the season. Lets take advantage of Chelsea playing in the FA Cup and Manchester United playing away and record a comfortable victory, boost the goal difference, and put some pressure on Chelsea and United.

This is what you wanted Arsene…to be playing Burnley at home instead of an FA Cup tie days before the Champions League second leg, so don’t mess it up by being too clever and resting the big-guns. Put the best team out, thump Burnley and we’ll be full of confidence going into the Porto game.

It will be interesting to see if Theo Walcott gets a start after his England performance. Eboue played the full 90 minutes for Ivory Coast, so maybe this would be a good game for Theo to get back in and gain some confidence. I would like to see him start in a front three with Arshavin and Bendtner. Arsene may start Arshavin from the bench just to give him a little bit more time to recover ahead of the Porto tie, so Rosicky could be given the nod on the left.

I don’t want Nasri and Rosicky to be our two wide players playing off Bendtner, they are too alike and we don’t have enough variety in our game when they play on the flanks together. We need either Eboue or Walcott on the right to give us some direct pace.

With Song suspended and Diaby only rated 50:50 to recover from injury, it gives Wenger the perfect opportunity to bring in his beloved Denilson. If Diaby is passed fit i hope he is given the holding role with Nasri and Fabregas ahead of him. But we all know Denilson will play. Just before his injury, Ramsey seemed to have replaced the clueless Brazilian, but now Wenger has an excuse to play him again.

Gallas is still missing and Sol Campbell is a doubt with a groin problem so Silvestre may start. Normally i would shake with fear at the thought of that, but a home game against relegation candidates….even Silvestre should cope with that. Carlos Vela wont be considered due to fatigue after his goal-scoring performance for Mexico.

Preferred team:


Sagna                 Vermaelen                   Silvestre                   Clichy


Fabregas                               Nasri

Walcott                                                             Rosicky/Arshavin


This is the team i would like to see, but i’m sure Denilson will force his way in somewhere. It may be harsh on Eboue to drop him after his impressive performance’s of late but Theo needs a chance and this is a good game for him. Eduardo got 20 minutes for Croatia in mid-week so he should be available as a super-sub.

Lets put some pressure on with a big win. Im backing Bendtner to continue his goalscoring form with a brace.

Will Theo make the world cup squad? What’s your take on the Aaron Ramsey affair? What’s your starting eleven against Burnley? Please leave you comments below….

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