View From The Town End: Arsenal

Laurence Griffiths

And we're back! After two weeks, a managerial appointment and some dire England matches, Ted Harwood from SB Nation's Arsenal Blog, The Short Fuse. joins us to give us the Arsenal perspective on tomorrow's game at The Emirates.

How would you sum up Arsenal's season so far?

It's been a lot like last year; very up and down, with some defensive performances that are shaky at best and some lack of creativity. And like last season, there seems to be somegrowing stability as we reach March.


When we last met in December, the knives were starting to be sharpened for Wenger, do you think he's still got the backing of the fans?

I think he has the backing of the majority of fans still, but the minority is very loud. If Arsenal don't manage fourth place this year, I think the minority will get even louder. But as one rarely hears from the folks who still back him strongly, it's often hard to tell.

Our two meetings at the Madejski have been 'interesting' to say the least. What did you make of Reading from those two crazy games?

I didn't get to see the 7-5, but both games show that Reading can score a bit (35 GF is much better than a lot of teams in the league). I know that's not the most penetrative insight in the world, but. I think from a Reading perspective, I'd be very encouraged by the fact that the Royals were able to take advantage of gaps in the Arsenal defense when they appear, which they often have.

The club have replaced Brian McDermott with Nigel Adkins, what's your views on the move?

I was honestly surprised that McDermott was sacked. I think getting Adkins was a good move, and I think he likes his teams to play in a positive way, and I hope that he can continue that with Reading. If he can figure out a way to shore up the defending...

Looking at Saturday, who should Reading be especially worried about on recent form?

I think one has to be wary of Santi Cazorla right now. He had a drop-off in form a couple of months ago, but lately he's come back up again, and he's been looking particularly enterprising in the last couple of matches for Arsenal. Out of all the attackers on the team right now, he's having the best spell; Walcott hasn't scored in a while now, Podolski's been injured, Giroud is struggling a bit with goalscoring.

Anyone that Arsenal fans are worried about in Reading's team?

I'm always worried about LeFondre, who's shown that he can score against just about anyone he wants. I'm also personally worried about Hal Robson-Kanu, because his name is Robson-Kanu.

Score prediction.

I think Arsenal are going to continue their recent defensive solidity, so my best guess is 2-0 for Arsenal right now, based on form. But, given the 7-5, nothing would shock me at this point.

Where do you think both teams will end up this season?

I honestly still think that Arsenal will finish fourth. As for Reading, it's looking a bit grim, I know, and I'm afraid that it's going to be hard to climb out of the relegation spots, although if Wigan can't take advantage of their game in hand, it's certainly looking possible.

Finally, any advice for Royals fans heading to The Emirates?

Well, I live in Chicago, so any advice I have would be only in the abstract, I'm afraid. Watch out for Gunnersaurus.

Thanks again to Ted, and you can follow the guys from The Short Fuse on Twitter @TheShortFuse.

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