At last, we are back to club football after what has seemed like an eternally lasting international break. A good couple of weeks for England have coincided with another spate of injuries for Arsenal, with Gallas, Sagna and Bendtner all out of today’s match with Everton.
Van Persie has been passed fit though, and today would be a good day for he and Adebayor to click as they did against Porto. As Wenger says, with the next internationals months away, this is the start of the marathon, and kicking it off with an impressive win would build confidence and send the right message to the rest of the league.
Because as it stands, we are still being written off. Some were even claiming us to be out of title race after the Sunderland draw, ludicrous given that United were only a point better off this time last season, and went on to claim the league by more than that. But knee jerk reactions are something we have got very used to.
Back to today, and Everton are a much better team than their poor start suggests, and they won’t be easy. Having said that, nothing less than three points will do, and it is up to a couple of new names to make their mark. Silvestre is likely to make his debut with the absences at the back, and the thought of him pulling on an Arsenal shirt still seems bizarre to me. In midfield, Diaby is likely to feature at some point, making his first appearance of the season. It is a big year for the Frenchman – he has a real chance to earn himself that central midfield slot alongside Cesc, and to do that he needs to cut out the occasional laziness in his game.
Elsewhere, the team is pretty much as expected, and the good news from the Everton side is that Cahill is suspended, a welcome boost given his aerial ability and our utter fragility in that area. He would’ve been a real threat.
Enjoy the game.