Our last two games will not show up on this season’s highlight reel, but the best way to ease the awful images of those awful games is to win.
We’ve had to endure one week of misery, but Hull City visit The Emirates and it gives us the chance to rectify our wretched recent run. As we have learned to our cost so far this campaign though, it will be far from an easy task.
The stadium may well be half empty if rumours of a ‘stayaway’ are to be believed on Twitter. Will they be missing a welcome return to form? Or something more sinister like last week?
Arsene Wenger has been grilled by the Press since last week, and his conferences have revealed that Hector Bellerin may well miss out after having Marcus Alonso’s elbow nearly took his head off in the 3-1 defeat last weekend. The Spaniard will have a fitness test before the game to determine his availability, with Gabriel again waiting to stand in.
There is a boost as Mohamed Elneny has returned to London Colney after playing for Egypt in the AFCON. The Egyptian may well go straight into the side, as Granit Xhaka is still suspended and Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey are out through injury. This leaves Elneny, Coquelin and Oxlade-Chamberlain as the only viable choices for the central midfield roles, as well as impressive youngster Ainslie Maitland-Niles.
Alexis Sanchez has been in impressive form in the past against the Tigers. In three games, he has had a hand in six goals (five goals and one assist) and the Chilean will again be the main threat for us. Olivier Giroud, Lucas Perez, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott all wait for the teamsheet to find out if they will have a role in the team, but who will get the nod? Fans are clamouring for a Lucas Perez start, Theo and Welbeck have shown they play extremely well together, and Giroud has been enjoying a great run of goals.
Our squad may be in rude health in attacking numbers, but it has mattered little in terms of cohesion recently. Hull have toughened up under new boss Marco Silva, and our pool of talent may well be hard pushed to break the resistance that the away team will show up with. They did this to Liverpool to great effect, but will have to make do without skipper Michael Dawson and Abel Hernandez.
Silva has previous for wins at The Emirates – he was in charge of Olympiacos when they won 3-2 in the Champions League here last season, so the Portuguese boss is well aware of what makes our side tick.
Hull have an atrocious record against the Gunners – winless in thirteen games in all competitions – and the last win they recorded against us was in their first season in the Premiership back in 2008.
They recruited well in January though, and Lazar Markovic will return to the side after being ineligible to play against his parent club Liverpool. Ahmed Elmohamady will also return after playing alongside Elneny in Egypts run to the AFCON final. His pinpoint deliveries will provide excellent service from set-plays – something that they will look to capitalise on.
With Liverpool a point behind us – and amazingly Manchester United only two points behind us as well, we need a win. Any kind of win. A comprehensive thrashing would provide a salve of sorts after a hellish last week, but three points no matter how we achieve it, will be more than crucial.
Manchester City leapfrogged us, and with tottenham three points ahead of us and looking dangerous, we must ride through this storm and find form quickly.
The only way to get back our mojo is to grab victory.
Next up, we have Bayern Munich!!
Estimated Lineup: Cech, Gabriel, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Ozil, Alexis, Welbeck.
Estimated Scoreline: I’ve been off form lately, but I’m going for a 3-0 win.