Wednesday becomes all about responses – and not just for the points. To say that the Reds looked lethargic on Sunday would be a massive understatement; with crunch matches against Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea peeking over the horizon, Brendan Rodgers will do well to show the opposition that his side will be able to cope without the injured Daniel Sturridge. That, of course, starts with making an example of Norwich City tomorrow.
Don’t get me wrong; that’s meant in the nicest possible way. Maybe it’s the hangover from last Saturday’s rollercoaster that has all the endorphins used up — those of you who listened to a lot of acid house back then know what I’m talking about — but a meeting with the Yorkshire side just doesn’t get the blood boiling like going toe-to-toe with a rival like Everton does; I’m sure the sentiment is reciprocal. Still, the prospect of three points and a return to winning ways is always welcome — as it sticking it to old fat head himself.
In this fixture, it’s never even considered; the mere thought of giving less than your all in a match that can make or break entire seasons is met with nothing less than mass condemnation. Even when you put the over-hyped rhetoric aside for a moment and look at it for what it is – a match worth three points, just like the others – anything less than a win tomorrow looks like an absolute catastrophe.
Fixtures interruptions and car metaphors aside, the Reds have a shot at hanging onto third place and going into yet another international break in a Champions League spot – an enviable position that very few would have predicted at the beginning of the season. The Cottagers, on the other hand, are in a similar position, but it’s far from enviable.
After a shaky start, the Gunners have taken the league by the scruff of the neck and currently sits at the top of the heap; we’ve seen this show before and about halfway through they begin to implode. Injuries and inexperience are usually the main culprits pulling Arsene Wenger’s side down the table and it looks like the downward slide has already begun with a number of key squad members taking up residence on the treatment table. Will Saturday be the start of the annual Arsenal meltdown?
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