It’s been a full day, one way or another, and a preview post awaits. Let’s see what we can do at this hour of the night. Positives to take into Monday night? Middlesex, Yanited, and ‘Pool have all dropped points this weekend. Tougher is that we need to win at Bramall Lane to reclaim our top four berth having been overhauled by Chelsea and Leicester, both with home wins by the narrowest of margins on Saturday.
The good news is that we are back to full strength, Reiss Nelson aside. Now Unai Emery really starts to earn his corn. Bernd Leno will retain his place in goal, but oh, the options ahead of him. Does he bring both full-backs together after their extended injury breaks? With Calum Chambers in surprisingly good form in recent weeks there is no need to take any chances on the right, but Kieran Tierney seems to be an irresistible option on the left.
In the centre of the defence, where we can expect some considerable pressure on Monday, the hardest choice of all remains. Rob Holding has come back looking in decent form but his problem is that he is a left-sided player as is David Luis. Perhaps the experienced Luis could switch to the right to take Sokratis Papastathopoulos out of the firing line, but it would be a risk. Shkodran Mustafi, impressive in the cups this season remains the great question mark.
With Granit Xhaka somehow being a given for the head coach his partner at the base of the midfield will be the improving Matteo Guendouzi or the hopefully more defensive-minded Lucas Torreira. The latter may be preferred for a cold Monday night battle in South Yorkshire. By the same logic Dani Ceballos should see off a potential return for Mesut Ozil as the German and Emery make conciliatory noises to each other.
If Alexandre Lacazette is deemed fully fit then he surely returns alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe up front. Harsh on Bukayo Saka? Probably not. His time will come again and he will surely return a far more confident member of the side.
The Blades made a confident return to the top flight and whilst giving a good account of themselves early on three consecutive defeats have seen them slip to a point clear of the relegation places. They are a better side than that suggests as manager Chris Wilder pointed out pre-match.
“We are competitive and we fancy our chances and we are bullish. At the same time, however, understanding the threat and pace and power that Arsenal have in the top end of the pitch, we must respect that.”
The ‘holic pound
If we are being honest a draw looks very tempting, but when have I ever backed the status quo? If there is to be a result this has all the makings of a single goal triumph either way. 0-1 or 1-2? I’ve wrestled with it but have a feeling the hosts will force one over the line, so I’m on 1-2 at a best of 8/1.
If you are making the journey you have my admiration. I remember doing midweek trips up north many moons ago and the journeys home were generally unenjoyable affairs involving milk trains. Do they still run?
Here’s hoping all of us will be celebrating a return to form away from home just before ten.
Have a good one, holics.