Wenger's biggest challenge awaits - but it's not against City on Sunday

By Avenell Dave

If there is one thing no true football fan wants to hear, it's that players didn't take a game seriously.

Theo Walcott's comments last week can't fail to provoke ire when so much is at stake and so much is yet to do.

Arsenal are not guaranteed Champions League football this season, let alone the annual St Totteringham's Day that a few misguided fans started crowing about before the QPR defeat in a manner befitting no one but a T*tt*nh*m small timer.

Can you imagine Barca, for all their flair, taking a game easily? They may have lost a few games this season but every time they play they strangle the life out of the opposition to earn the right to play.

I fear that sometimes our players think skill alone is enough to win matches, but we need hard work as well to have a chance of asserting ourselves.

How Wenger is going to address this and make sure everyone is up for a game, I don't know.

Many Addicts shared the same fears I expressed last week about complacency and Wenger's public declarations himself were a timely reminder of the possible pitfalls that have beset Arsenal at times.

We have no Tony Adams, no Patrick Vieira, no Martin Keown or NIgel Winterburn, players who made sure everyone fought for every last ball. We still lack real leaders and one or two new faces will not be enough to change the culture.

The fact that we played virtually our strongest side against QPR makes it even more concerning, especially against a side not only featuring Joey Barton and managed by Mark Hughes - against whom there should be no further motivation required - but that it was one of our so-called easier games of the run-in.

Man Citeh are not the cute weaker cousin of M*nure as they used to be and while their plight means that they have to come out and fight - and therefore attack us in a way which should suit us on Sunday - they have enough firepower to beat us, especially if we play like we did last weekend.

I don't understand Roberto Mancini's claims that he would have subbed Mario Ballotelli after five minutes given that, mad as the guy is, he scored twice. With Sergio Aguero due back and Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko also available, it's going to be one hell of a tough afternoon.

We have to get at them and strangle them in a way we know we can - and not just assume that we should win because we're at home. It didn't stop M*nure winning at our place and we absolutely have to be at our best for 90+ minutes to win the game.

RvP needs a goal after a mini drought and I expect him to have a good game, but everyone, especially the midfield, needs to work until they drop. And then bring on defensive players like Andre Santos who can defend and attack with gusto.

There's a strong chance that T*tt*nh*m could be third by the time we play, so any slip up will leave us trailing them again and possibly be only two points ahead of Ch*vski.

Victory will reinvigorate the team but there will still be half a dozen games to go.

And no chance for taking it easy.

Addict XI


Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs

Rosicky Song Arteta

Walcott RvP Oxlade-Chamberlain

What do you think? Who should start against Man Citeh?