Weekend Preview: Arsenal Shooting Down Wolves Like Sarah Palin

Somewhat of a shorter Preview today... unfortunately, I can't comment much on the Alkmaar match, being that I was completely decimated by work throughout it... what can I say, I'm a Gooner, not a Scouser... we have jobs. Not that I'd have had much luck anyway, being that I couldn't find a good stream once throughout the match. And once I was able to watch and was able to find a decent stream, Alkmaar immediately got their consolation goal; this in itself was a bit of a gift from the ref, who should've called a handball in the box against Alkmaar, but waved play on out of what I can only think was mercy.

Otherwise, as I'm sure you know, Arsenal were simply brilliant. Arshavin picked up a hat-trick of assists, Cesc scored two more goals, Nasri netting his first in slick fashion, and Diaby netting the fourth, set up by some lovely play from Eduardo and Arshavin. I think the most positive thing I can take from the highlights of the match (below) is the return of the counter-attack to Arsenal's repertoire. Gooners will remember the Invincibles were among the most gifted counter-attacking sides in memory, and this has been an element of the game that has been missing from Arsenal's play for far too long.

Arsenal sit atop the group with 10 points, and a win in either of the next two group matches (home to Standard Oil--er, Liege; away to Olympiakos) will see the Gunners clinch top spot in the group. No less than I think we all hoped for after the draw, but Euro matches are never easy, so well done to the Gunners on their current showing in Europe so far. Maybe in the knockout stages we can face a German team...

Back at home in England, Arsenal face the daunting *giggle* *snicker* prospect of Wolves away. This Wolves squad is a typical Mick McCarthy side, in that they work hard, get promoted to the Premiership and are immediately relegated (at least that's where they're headed on current form). Now, I say these things and make light of Wolves' performance in the league this far, but lest we forget that many of us, including I would assume the Arsenal players, had a similar attitude going into a home match versus Premier League newcomers Hull City, and that result wasn't exactly pleasing, was it?

Still, in my own opinion, this appears to be a more mature, focused Arsenal side, and free of some of the distractions of last season (Ebooooouegate, Gallasgate, and the cloying dark cloud of Adebaywhore), and the players are coming off of consecutive confidence-inspiring wins, including a demoralizing, crushing 3-0 shutout of Spuds at the Grove. There's absolutely no reason Arsenal can't walk into the Molineux and own the place, and I expect that the boys will do just that.

It wouldn't be an Arsenal season without injury concerns, and this one is no different in that respect. Arsene will be without Bendtner (groin) and Clichy (stress fracture - back) for an undisclosed period, most likely over a month. These come in addition to existing injuries to Denilson, Vela and Traore. Clichy's left back spot should be in safe hands with the talented Kieran Gibbs deputizing, while Bendtner's absence is a blow, considering the Gunners lack another forward with Bendtner's power and directness. Not to mention height.

Still, hope remains with the return to fitness and first-team action of Tomas Rosicky and Samir Nasri, and both of these players will bring a creativity to their play that is above many of their peers. If we could get Nasri, Rosicky, Cesc and Arshavin playing together at their best... what a sight to behold that would be. Almost too beautiful to look upon...

My lack of time/laziness once again dictates that we will be without a celebrity for Celebrity Pick 'Em, so you're stuck with me again. I nearly got the nazi guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark, but apparently he's dead, proof that you just can't live without a face.

Aston Villa v Bolton
PREDICTION: Villa 3-1 Bolton
I've come to the conclusion that there's very little sense to picking Villa matches. It seems that in order to discourage sports-betting, Villa occasionally field a team of donkeys disguised as Villa. Throws everybody off. Oh, and Bolton suck.

Blackburn v Portsmouth
PREDICTION: Really? I have to pick this? My prediction is they both suck.
Really, it's a foolproof pick. No matter what the result, the guarantee that both teams suck as pretty much ensured.

Man City v Burnley
PREDICTION: Citeh 3-0 Burnley
Poor Burnley. Anyway, if you guys are gonna get relegated, would you mind doing a Martin Taylor on Adebayor? That would really help us out. KTHXBAI!

Tottenham v Sunderland
PREDICTION: Scum 1-1 Sunderland
Sunderland really should beat the spuds, but at Shite Hart Lane, I can't see them getting more than a point. Although that would be great.

Hull City v Stoke City
PREDICTION: Hull 0-1 Stoke
Phil Brown, fake tan, relegation. Stoke have one weapon and should be able to nick a goal and a win from the Tigers. RELEGATORS! Mount up.

West Ham v Everton
PREDICTION: West Ham 1-1 Everton
Hammers took that comeback against Arsenal to heart, and have really been on good form, clawing themselves out of the relegation zone for the time-being. Everton have been as inconsistent as Rush Limbaugh's bowel movements, so West Ham should be able to get a result if they keep playing with intensity.

Wigan v Fulham
PREDICTION: Wigan 1-2 Fulham
I probably shouldn't do this, since Fulham don't seem to do well when I pick them to win, but even at home, Wigan have been completely hit or miss. Mostly miss.

Chelsea v Man Utd
PREDICTION: Chavs 1-1 Uniturd
The Match of the Week... tough one to call, seeing as Chelsea have dropped a few points despite being the better side (on paper at least), while United have won a few despite being the inferior side. So I'll just split the difference.

Liverpool v Birmingham
PREDICTION: Liverpool 4-0 Birmingham
Seeing as Liverpool lost last week, it's time for a yo-yo result. They'll stomp the shit out of Birmingham so that all the pundits can claim them title contenders again, just so they can blow it again in their next match. If the Scouser fans out there are feeling a bit masochistic this season, it means you're paying for your ridiculous luck in previous seasons. Suck it up.

And now for something completely different: A picture of Maradona getting high:

And back to Wolves v Arsenal. Arsenal have the advantage in attack, midfield and defense, and I'm going to assume in goal. Arsenal have the stronger manager. Wolves will be at home, which basically means their fans have disadvantage in having more of them present to be disappointed. My only concern is that the Gunners may be looking past this team a bit, in the "we just have to show up to win" mode that we've seen so many times. Hopefully Capitan Cesc will keep everyone's eyes on the task at hand: beat Wolves, three points.

Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Wolves.

Not much more to say really. Lots of football this weekend, looks like some nice autumn weather in which to enjoy it. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!

Until next time, you stay classy, Gooner nation.

- B, a Gooner.