This is a guest post by sports writer Thomas Rooney
Arsenal’s players and management team seem to be taking it in turns to promote the team’s title chances this season. They may well sit eight points off top spot, but they seem determined to let everyone know that they are not giving up hope.
The latest to have his say on proceedings is Abou Diaby. The midfielder appears to be very defiant as he insists that he and his team-mates will ‘not let up until the end of the season’. This means that they will do all they can to ‘get points in every game’, so that if the top teams do suffer a dip in form – Arsenal are ready to pounce.
It seems that the general consensus was that the point achieved at Everton in midweek was not enough for the Gunners, even though they only just managed this thanks to a late Robin van Persie strike.
Diaby sees this differently though and has claimed that it was ‘very important’ to get a point at Goodison Park. He also believes that considering the way Arsenal played that night, a draw was ‘good for us’. Overall, he admits that Everton were the better team.
As for the man who rescued a point for Arsenal on Tuesday night, Diaby has nothing but praise for his Dutch team-mate. He says that van Persie – who has now netted 13 times this season – has an ‘unbelievable first touch’ and that his presence in the team makes a ‘big difference’.
Diaby himself has been involved in the last few games and will be hoping to keep this run going for the rest of the season. The Frenchman is beginning to establish himself in the team and looks set to eclipse the amount of appearances he made in the last campaign before long. There is no doubt that he will want to have a big say on how Arsenal fair in the final 15 games of the season.
The 22-year-old will almost certainly be involved this weekend as Arsenal face West Ham at the Emirates. It will be the first of two successive Premier League London derbies for the Gunners as they face Tottenham at White Hart Lane next weekend.
As much as the fans may be looking towards the Spurs game though, the team must remain focused for this clash against Gianfranco Zola’s men. They have been very impressive of late and find themselves third in the form table.
Their performance against Hull on Tuesday night was a very assured one and they definitely have enough attacking talent to cause Arsenal’s defence some problems. The in-form Carlton Cole, David Di Michele and Mark Noble are the ones to watch.
It is also worth pointing out that this fixture sees the battle of the undefeated as Arsenal haven’t lost in nine games and West Ham haven’t tasted defeat in seven matches. It should make for an entertaining game of football.
As far as team news is concerned, well Arsene Wenger is going to have to do without Mikael Silvestre who has suffered an injury set back and will be missing for at least two or three weeks. Other than that, there appear to be no fresh injury worries.
In fact, the team may well be the same as the one that started at Goodison Park as Arsenal look to claim a valuable win that would see them progress over the 950 points mark for the Premier League.
By Thomas Rooney