By 1970's Gooner
The result of today’s game at the Emirates against Birmingham really depends on what Arsenal do rather than on how the opponents approach the game. This is generally the case when one of the teams in a game is superior and also playing at home.
Birmingham on the other hand has an added incentive today in that it is the first game under new (richer) ownership. This is bound to “encourage” the players to up their performance with the January transfer window soon approaching.
McLeish is likely to approach the game with the same tactics adopted against Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier in the season loosing in the end by one goal to nil.
They played in a defensive formation but came out more in the last 15 minutes to try and salvage a draw which they nearly did.
I was impressed with their performance on that day and that is why I think that today’s game will be won by Arsenal only if mistakes are kept to a minimum at the back and ruthlessness employed in front of goal.
If Arsenal scores an early goal then I would expect another rout of a low rank team at the Emirates. If however we allow them to get ahead first then I do not see Birmingham being as generous as Blackburn at the back.
The positive aspect about Arsenal this season, however, is the democratic approach to goal scoring. There are goals from everywhere in the team, reminiscent once again of the “total football” approach that Arsene Wenger’s style brings about.
With players like Arshavin, van Persie, Rosicky, Fabregas, Gallas and of course Vermaelen around the goal threat is very real and this bodes well when playing against lower quality opposition.
This allows a certain amount of optimism that this season we will not drop so many points against the likes of Birmingham.
If we get our defensive effectiveness right against the better teams of the League then we have a real chance for the title.
Predicted line up:
Sagna Galas Vermaelen Gibbs
Arshavin van Persie Rosicky
Prediction: Arsenal 3 Birmingham 0