It has been a long week. If it feels like it to you, imagine what the players have been through. If you find yourself angry at the slew of articles sniping at Wenger, Cesc or us, the fans, at a time when all focus should be on Ramsey, just stop for a moment and put yourself in the shoes of the team. They must be steaming.
Ramsey himself is doing well, and put out an official statement focusing on the messages that have flooded in:
“I have been overwhelmed by the terrific support I have received from so many people including fans from many different football clubs. In particular, I would like to thank the medical team here at Arsenal for their efforts as well as the staff at both hospitals. Glenn Whelan was especially kind and I really appreciated his immediate assistance on the pitch as well as the medical support from Stoke City. I also want to say thanks to Arsenal for helping my family this week.”
“Last but certainly not least I have been blown away by the fantastic messages of support from the Arsenal fans. I am proud to be an Arsenal player and your support has been incredibly touching. Finally, I want to wish my teammates all the best for the remainder of the season. I know that we are capable of winning a trophy and I will be backing them all the way.”
Class. Nice touch to give a nod to Glenn Whelan, who stood head and shoulders above the rest last weekend, and I’m sure the flurry of supportive messages will help him get through the first major obstacle of his career. He’ll be back.
There will be tributes tomorrow – banners are planned, and you can expect to hear the Welshman’s name sung from the rafters – it promises to be a very special day. From a football point of view, you could not ask for much more than a home game against a side who have managed just a single point on the road all season. We need to build some momentum, and there is no more appropriate fixture.
I could talk about Leon Cort’s inflammatory comments, predicting a series of mistimed and hard tackles tomorrow, but there seems little point – he has served only to warn the referee that he is a prize idiot, and I can’t see the benefit to him or his team for that. I mean no disrespect when I say that tomorrow should not be about Burnley. If last week’s team unity and drive re-emerges tomorrow, then they won’t have an answer.
Diaby, Denilson and Arshavin return, but Ramsey (clearly), Song and Campbell are out. Sol will probably return against Porto, and Wenger probably believes this is a game we can win even with Silvestre in the side. Diaby and Denilson are likely to slot straight into the midfield alongside Cesc, with Arshavin replacing Walcott up front.
I cansee us absolutely smashing Burnley tomorrow. Leaky at the best of times, they don’t look set up to contain, and are on poor form – they lost to Portsmouth last weekend and conceded five in their previous road trip, to an Aston Villa side that couldn’t buy a goal at the time.
So with the Bet of the Day in good form, I’m going for a 5-1 victory, which you can get at 28/1 with Sportingbet here. We don’t tend to keep clean sheets when hammering opponents, and Burnley score a fair few goals, so a win to nil isn’t likely. Elsewhere, you could get 5-2 at 80/1, or 6-1 at 50/1.
But I’m sticking with a 5-1 victory. Come on you reds.
Before I go, I just want to congratulate the ladies team, for completely humiliating Spurs in the form of a 10-0 drubbing in a cup semi final. Priceless.
One of the hallmarks of Wenger’s previous title-winning sides was their ability to have a game won by half time. Fingers crossed we can take out all our frustration on Burnley, leapfrog Chelsea in the league (they are on cup duty) before inviting Porto to the Grove for some sweet revenge.
Let’s make it a good week for you, for me, for Aaron Ramsey. Enjoy the game.