Gunners need to get back to basics

By Avenell Dave

The last time Arsenal kept a clean sheet against one of the Big Four was the corresponding fixture against the Ch*vs two seasons ago.

As Thomas Vermaelen says in a Sunday Times interview today (which erroneously says it's 18 games since we kept such a clean sheet), letting in goals sticks in the throat.

Remember, while we've been scoring goals for fun in all but one of our games this season, Portsmouth, Birmingham and Wolves have all scored against us and closing out games and keeping clean sheets is something that ahsn't been as much of a priority as it should be.

Us Gooners may have started to get used to the champagne football that wins us plaudits rather than trophies but for any of us with more than ten years support behind us, the miserly defence was always something to behold.

It's what helped AC Milan to a number of Champions League trophies and it's what we need to improve on if we're to be consistent winners rather than also-rans.

Alex Song, William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen will probably play every game they can this season - unless Arsene Wenger does the sensible thing and buys a couple of quality squad players who can keep them on their toes.

I still believe that, despite playing impressively, we should let Gallas go in the summer and bring in a taller, more aggressive partner for Vermaelel to provide a perfect blend in defence - which would no doubt cost us significantly less in wages as well as a better long term partnership.

But onto today and I'm starting to get that adrenaline feeling of huge excitement as this afternoon nears - and it's not based on fear.

I hate to say it, but whoever finished above the Ch*vs this season will win the title - and the fact that Carlo Ancelotti says he won't buy in january despite losing players to the African Cup of Nations AND that he prefers to win the Champions League to the Premier League suggests there could still be a twist or five in this race yet.

We have to get amongst the Chavs today and not let their midfield play, not leave Divba or Anelka free without two players in front of them and that fractional sight of goal where they can prove so deadly.

Play our own game and we can win this. Play with discipline and without fear, boys.

We need everyone to be on top form to stop the Ch*vs playing and have them running around as we did M*nure earlier this season.

We are Arsenal.

Win or lose today, class is permanent, form is temporary.

Everyone needs to remain focused, the fans need to sing our hearts out (yes, even you in Blocks 133/134 near me!).


**As a footnote, I don't know whether it was deliberate, but I wonder if there is a link between this being Charity day with all the players and officials giving a days wages to Great Ormond Street Hospital (donate HERE) and Ivan Gazidis saying we will never splash the cash like the Ch*vs?

David Dein once said that  ‘Roman Abramovich has parked his Russian tanks on the lawn and is firing £50 notes at us’, and when you think of Ch*vski you think of fat gold bracelets, orange tans, Cristal champagne drunk by new-money shellsuit-wearing money grabbing oiks like C*shley and Fat Frank.

One day Abromovich will get bored and find a new plaything to amuse him. But there will always be an Arsenal, doing things the right way.