Was Wenger right to keep the warchest shut in January?

By Avenell Dave

The problem with playing on a Wednesday evening is that it doesn't give a huge amount of time to recover for a Saturday afternoon game.

Thankfully, we're at home and against the side who we first faced in anger when the Emirates was opened a few years ago.

It didn't go according to plan that day and we needed a late equaliser to ensure we didn't start life at our new home with a defeat but things are very different now.

Flying form and third in the table, given the resources at our disposal and those of our rivals - not to mention their financial approach to the game - things are looking good for us right now.

And if there's one thing the last few weeks has taught us, is that the team is as strong as anyone else's in the Premier League.

The return of the full-backs, Arteta and the revival of Rosicky have had a massive impact on how we've performed and while there are many who question why Wenger didn't buy a full-back, the way Taiwo has performed at QPR underlines the futility of signing players for the ultra short term (Henry excepted) when we have players returning.

Where we struggle, of course, is in the strength of our squad, even if the midfield could still be bolstered by Jack Wilshere and Diaby and we now have a plethora of midfield options.

Yes, we could have bought a striker, we could have signed another defender or even a playmaker but I do feel that whatever frustrations we have with the club hierachy or Wenger himself, they need to take some credit for keeping calm when things got really tough.

In terms of availability and value for money, I really don't think we would have benefited from signing anyone in January, and the lack of transfers in general proves that point.

We have to be confident of a top four finish now and even though that should not be the pinnacle of our expectations, it is still such a tremendous turnaround following the personnel crises that hampered us both at the start of the season and in January.

I hope Wenger resists any temptation to change the team too much against Villa - fielding a stable side has certainly had an impact on our results.

There's no such thing as a gimme in football but beating Villa on Saturday is about as close as it gets given their form this season.

Yes, we needed a late goal to beat them last year at Villa Park, but when their own fans are so resigned to simply hoping for Premier league survival, that should say everything about their expectations.

I keep saying how many tough games we have coming up (Ch*vs, Citeh and Stoke away) and so three points, as always, is vital.

With our London rivals playing each other earlier in the day, a win will ensure we move further ahead of one if not both of them.

It could be another memorable weekend, Addicts...

Addict XI


Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs

Rosicky ArtetaSong

Walcott RvP Ox