With Arsenal in town, we caught up
once more with 'Mean Lean' from the Arsenal website
He gives his views on the Gunners' start to the season, their Champions League
struggles, their Premier League prospects, and more. You can also follow Arsenal Vision on Twitter
How would you view Arsenal’s
season so far?
It has been a strange season for Arsenal so far I must say, or at least it feels
that way. Losing at home to West Ham on the opening day of the season, having a
faltering Champions League campaign and also having to deal with the annual
injury crisis feels like it has been a disaster start to the season but a quick
glance at the league table and we are equal on points with 1st placed Manchester
This gives me a lot of hope. We have sparkled in a few games so far this season
but for the most part we have been tough and have managed to get the job done.
We usually go on a good run of form as we did at the end of last season so I am
praying for that to happen before our domestic results go south.
Chelsea seemingly out of the picture and Manchester United far from their best,
is there a feeling that this could be the season where the Gunners finally get
their hands on the Premier League title again?
It is our best chance for a title in a while I'd say. But even if that is the
case, we are still not the favourites. Manchester City have spent a lot of money
(once again) on their squad and probably have the strongest squad in the league
but as much as they will be a challenge for us, our biggest challenge for us is
keeping our key squad players fit for a large chunk of the season. If we can
stay relatively fit then we are a match for anyone in this league. Oh and did
you mention Chelsea?
After the defeat to
Bayern Munich, it looks as though it’s going to be difficult for Arsenal to
reach the next stage of the Champions League. Is there still hope that you can
do it? Why have results been so disappointing in the competition?
The Champions League is a funny one and I am not entirely sure how I feel about
it. Firstly I don't think Arsène prioritised that competition in the first two
games. We rested key players and used players who have not had any games under
their belts and the team under performed. Losing those two games sent us way off
track. In a way I'd be ok with finishing last in our CL atble and not having to
deal with European competition this season. It may sound spoilt but I am not
sure we can manage the two competitions with our injury record the way it is. If
we managed to squeeze through then obviously I want us to do well.
Who’s caught the eye
for the Gunners so far this season?
There have been a few. Players who perhaps don't get the publicity are players
such as Nacho Monreal who has been ridiculously consistent for the last 18ish
months. Hector Bellerin on the other side has been sensational, especially in
his attacking play from right back. Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla have been
very consistent in midfield and of course Petr Cech has shown just how much of a
boost it is to have a world class keeper but the stand out player for me has to
be Mesut Özil. He is a special player, one of the most intelligent players I
have ever seen on the pitch. His assists and key pass numbers say it all.
been particularly disappointing?
Oxlade-Chamberlain has yet to reach his very high standards so far but that is
largely down to the amount of time he has been afforded on the pitch, so maybe
that is a tad unfair. I consider Laurent Koscielny the best centre back in the
league and he has set the bar very high for me but I think he can cut out a few
mistakes that he has made in the last few weeks and get back to his best.
Prediction for Arsenal eh? Ok, I reckon we are going to hit a wall when the
fixtures start coming thick and fast, we will lose players through injury and
drop some points, but then I expect us to bounce back after January and we will
have a collection of rested players due to missing large chunks of the season
and we will hit our stride. Our league finish will depend on the only team above
us in the table at present. 1st or 2nd.
With Pulis at the helm you will more than likely be organised enough not to be
sucked into any relegation battles with Chelsea, so I predict a mid-table finish
come the end of the season.
Premier League champs?
Come on? You are looking at one of the supporters right now! or erm.. Manchester
City or who knows Manchester United.
To be honest I am not too bothered about who goes down unless it is Chelsea
(which unfortunately it won't be) if they did keep losing and end up in the
bottom three, it would have to be the best and most exciting relegation of the
Premier League by some way. You may be able to tell that I have a rather
unhealthy dislike of that
West London club.
prediction for Saturday’s game? How are Arsenal likely to line-up?
Ok so it is going to be a super tough game as most of the games are away from
home against a Tony Pulis side. We were very tired just before the International
break and our form had taken a bit of a dip. It will be interesting to see if we
can click as a team after the break, something we have found difficult to do in
years gone by. I don't expect you guys to leave much space in behind and you
will be physical in the challenge, so we are going to have to stand up to that.
If Arsenal can keep West
Brom out until late in the second half then I think we have enough quality to
find a way through.
As for the line up, we do not have a great deal of options because well, being
Arsenal and all, all our options are out injured. So we are more than likely
going to start with the following: