Are Arsenal on a hiding to nothing in Wales on Sunday?

By Avenell Dave

Happy New Year everyone - it's good to be back after a break for the festive season. 

I've been thinking a lot about Theo Walcott's situation and how it reflects on the club.

We hear from the player and Arsene Wenger that Theo wants to stay and while there are rumblings that he wants to play centrally, it's hard to think that money is not at the root of it all.

Theo was superb in patches against Newcastle last weekend and pretty poor against Southampton earlier this week.

Not for one minute would I blame him for the lacklustre display, but his performances seem to reflect the inconsistent, heartless manner in which we play at times. Think Norwich, Swansea, Bradford, for instance.

There is something lacking in the team at times, something that stops us being able to fight or eek out victories when not playing so well.

Last season we had Robin van Persie to get us out of trouble and perhaps what we lack now is that match-winner who can unlock tight defences in the more difficult games.

We've heard a lot from Wenger about the market being quiet, the usual ramblings about only signing quality players and yet the departure of fringe players gives me the impression that we may have deals planned once squad spaces and wages have been made available.

What we need to do first of all is make sure we beat Swansea.

It's a sad state of affairs that in three Premier League games against the Swans, we've won one, due to a goalkeeping error, and lost the other two. 

Many Addicts I've spoken to don't fancy us to come away with anything from the game and even the eternal optimists are hoping for nothing more than a draw.

Michu's performance in the recent match at the Emirates was superb and there has been much debate about why we didn't know about him.

Depending on who you listen to, we either were not aware of him and he would have been a risk, or Wenger knew full well what Michu was capable of but decided not to sign him.

As anyone with a good memory of Arsenal will remind you, much of the frustration over our lack of trophies is linked to how well Wenger did when he arrived at the club. Expectations are high.

But now everyone is investing in their scouting networks - they've sen how well Wenger served us with the signings of Anelka, Henry, Petit and Vieira and they've wised up. It means new signings cost more because there's more competition.

The FA Cup may well be considered to be our best chance of a trophy now, so its importance increases to get this stupd media-driven trophy drought monkey off our backs.

Which Arsenal turns up on Sunday is anyone's guess - but no doubt Theo Walcott's will have a big impact on whether we come home looking forward to the next round or waiting for another media storm.

Addict XI


Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Santos

Wilshere Arteta Cazorla

Walcott Giroud Podolski