Saturday, 23 August 2014

Everton preview + EPL triple swoop thoughts

Preview | Pre-match conference | Team news

Right, I'm a bit lax on time, so I'll keep this short.

Three points are perfectly reasonable to expect from a team that have objectives of winning the league. No way should we be going to Goodison and playing out for a draw. Our competitors Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool sure won't.

Everton is a very good team, one we've historically found hard to break down. But put simply, Arsenal are the better team. We match them in every aspect - even striker, if Alexis plays down the middle apart from Giroud. We have depth, we have quality; there's no reason why we shouldn't be confident about our chances. We shouldn't let past experiences hamstring us.

Big clubs aren't be fazed by such occasions. Yes, Everton are much more of a threat than the Besiktas we drew against, but we still should be walking out of Goodison with maximum points. Having the players to sustain a title challenge is job half done, but making use of the right talents at the right time are quite another, and the last piece of the puzzle.

Ozil and Mertesacker's return just makes us stronger, with Podolski suspiciously left behind. To me, a bold, pacey lineup of Szczesny - Debuchy - Mertesacker - Koscielny - Monreal - Flamini - Ramsey - Ozil - Chamberlain - Rosicky - Sanchez should win it. Even if we panic and screw up, there are options on the bench in Wilshere, Giroud and Campbell to help make amends.

Too early to say, but this is kind of a must win if we want to assert our credentials in the Premier League. Matches like these our exactly why pundits tip Arsenal for fourth again. Let's prove them wrong.

Let's go Gunners!


In other news, transfer news are hotting up. Well, not hotting up as much as forming into molten lava and evaporating ice buckets across London.

Truly, this is insanity. Balotelli to Liverpool, Di Maria to United, and Khedira to Arsenal?!

I have no doubt that if Di Maria somehow makes it to United, and Balotelli finalizes his imminent deal to Liverpool, the Premier League would be a genuine five-horse race for at least 25 Gameweeks. Under normal circumstances I'd be worried sick, but this time I'm not. I'm excited.

I've made pretty vocal that the reason I'm salivating every second of this league season is because it's so unpredictable. Every top team - even Arsenal - is a team I don't know where will finish. The predictable nature of Arsenal has been changed by proactive deals and backroom changes. For once, I have absolutely no clue what's going to happen. Di Maria and Balotelli would simply compound the uncertainty.

One thing's for sure, though. Khedira or not, we need to get a really good DM and a centre back for depth. Should the likes of Liverpool and United strengthen (as seems increasingly likely) forget first - even our beloved fourth would look in danger.

I don't concur with everyone's cries of wanting a striker. I'm pretty sure Alexis is going to be our striker this season. Why would Wenger buy Sanchez as a winger, when he already had Walcott, Chamberlain, Santi, Podolski, Gnabry and Campbell at his disposal? That being said, I do think we need a defensive midfielder and a centre back.

Khedira might not be the perfect solution to our DM woes, but his sheer pedigree and big-name signing would imply another Ozil-esque psychological boost. If Wenger goes for him and say, Manolas, I could proclaim with confidence that second would be guaranteed.

Hopefully that won't come back to bite me!

-Santi [Follow me on Twitter @ArsenalBlogz ]