This is a guest post by sports writer Thomas Rooney
To say that tomorrow’s game against Manchester United is crucial would probably rank as the biggest understatement of the season. After three games in all competitions without a win, it is vital that Arsenal at least avoid defeat against the Premier League champions.
If this fails to be achieved, then the confidence will be at an all-time low and the chance of Arsene Wenger’s side launching a title challenge would seem all the more unlikely. A nine point gap, even at this stage of the season, would probably be too much.
Speaking ahead of the game, Arsenal defender Kolo Toure has revealed that he and his team-mates are viewing the Manchester United game as a potential turning point for their season. The 27-year-old has said that a win would be ‘really fantastic’ and would prove to the critics that Arsenal ‘would be there for the title’.
Sometimes these type of comments have to be taken with a pinch of salt – what else is Toure going to say other than a win is important? However, this time around, the Arsenal man is bang on the money. A victory tomorrow would do wonders for the belief in the dressing room could be the start of a long unbeaten run for the team.
As Toure rightly points out, the season is ‘not in the second half yet’ and therefore it is important not to panic. However, I think he knows as much as anyone that defeat at the Emirates tomorrow really could have a detrimental effect. Arsenal will continue to ‘fight for the title’ regardless of the result, but this fight would be made a hell of a lot easier should they pick up the three points.
In terms of the team news for tomorrow’s clash, Arsenal have been hit with a number of injury problems. Theo Walcott, Bacary Sagna and William Gallas are doubtful, while Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Eboue are definitely out of the game.
These injuries mean that Nicklas Bendtner and Carlos Vela are going to be charged with the responsibility of breaking down Manchester United’s defence and getting the goals that win Arsenal the game. Neither of these youngsters will hold any fear going into this match, so perhaps their raw talent can prosper.
Overall, it is going to be a game where Arsenal fans arrive in hope rather than expectation. However, should the team pull together and produce a winning performance; it really could be the start of the turnaround.