An Arsenal fan talks to us ahead of the big game tomorrow and also gives his support to City’s talisman…
1) Are the crowd still with Wenger? He seems to be able to get away with ‘nearly’ being a success every year as long as he profits from transfers. Are fans getting impatient for success now or still with him?
I think the majority are. You’re never going to please all the people all the time, but I reckon most people are happy enough, not ecstatic, but happy. That’s not to say we don’t want improvement and success, but there’s something about having a club run seemingly the right way that instils a bit of pride. We do have sections of the fans that would prefer Wenger to either spend huge wedges of cash on the latest superstar, or those that think that his time has come to step down, but most think he’s still the right man for the job.
2) There must be a point when the fans/board get fed up with the same old finish to a season right? You always seem to crash out of every competition in March.
No-one is happy with crashing out of any competition, it’s painful, but that said at least we’re lasting till March right? Most clubs would kill to finish the season the way we have for the last 15 years. Wenger is a victim of his own success. Are you fed up with the way your seasons have finished? I bet you’d like to do what we’ve done year in, year out? It’s all about perspective.
3) Has there been a noticeable impact from the loss of Pat Rice and appointment of Steve Bould?
This is a tricky one. But the signs of Bould’s input are there for all to see and it’s excellent having him back, there’s no doubt he’s a big asset to the club. But Arsene’s acquisitions this summer have had a huge impact also, it’s difficult to see where one line stops and the other begins. I think it’s best to assume that everyone who has been brought in this summer, and all the hard work the existing staff have put in that has led to the marked improvement this year rather than just heaping all the praise on Steve Bould.
4) Do you think Henry will come back again – he was always my favourite non-City player and he has been in great form for New York Red Bulls.
As a matter of fact I do. I think we’ll lose Gervinho to the African Cup of Nations again in the new year, so a free player to fill in will benefit us all. His impact last season was beyond all our wildest dreams, indeed, without his last minute winner against Sunderland we wouldn’t be in the Champions League this season. The man is a legend and I can’t wait to see him back.
5) Giroud seems to have found his feet now – he’s not your typical Arsenal player is he – what are your thoughts on him so far, dare I say he is a French Grant Holt (having come up through the French leagues)
Giroud has always had his feet. Much was made of his lack of a Premier League goal this season, and the media were weighing in with claims that he`s the new Chamakh etc etc, however he’s got 2 goals and is our leading assist maker so far this season. His work ethic, drive and ability to bring other into play will be very valuable this season.
6) What is your view of Chris Hughton, do you think he was a good appointment and do you think he will keep us up?
It would be a lie if I said I’ve always liked Chris, he used to work for Spurs so I wasn’t allowed to. But that aside I think he’s a top bloke. He’s always carried himself with great dignity and was treated appallingly by Newcastle. I hope he does well this season.
7) Who do you fear/respect most in the Norwich City side?
It’s got to be Grant Holt. He’s a bit of a beast isn’t he? I thought he was very unlucky not to make the Euros this summer, it was probably his last chance too. It’s a shame that players like him don’t always get the recognition they deserve.
8) Where do you think you will finish up this year – and how about us?
I think we can go as high as the top two if we can remain relatively injury free, especially to the likes of Cazorla, Arteta, Podolski and so on. But wouldn’t be massively surprised to see us limp over the finish line in 4th place.
I honestly couldn’t hazard a guess about Norwich, the league is so tight these days a good run could see you fighting for top ten, or a bad run could see you in a relegation dog fight, it’s just too close to call.
9) What is the likely starting XI?
I’d guess at Mannone, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud, Gervinho.
10) Prediction for the game?
I’ll go 3-1 to the Gunners.