Arsène’s press conference today will be interesting, not least because despite strongly hinting at rotation for this European competition we find ourselves in this season, we still don’t categorically know just how much rotation the manager intends on tomorrow evening against Cologne.
Is he going to go the whole hog and switch the entire team around? Or does he spatter the side with some of the first team players to try to guarantee a more favourable result.
Personally I’m a fan of option A, because I think that whilst this competition represents something different that is also weirdly exciting, it is still a second rare European competition and as opposed to the Champions League, doesn’t warrant sacrificing any perceived advantage in terms of fitness of players in the Premier League.
So I hope that Arsène tells us today that he will be rotating a large number of players who will comprise of squad and development. Let’s be honest here, We have a big enough squad, so it seems madness not to have a complete switcheroo of the team. Ospina, Nelson, Chambers, Holding, Mertesacker, Monreal, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Walcott, Giroud and The Jeff could all make up a decent enough side that at home you’d expect to have enough to beat Cologne. It would also give almost the entire team a rest ahead of the game on Sunday against Chelski.
But we just don’t know what the manager is thinking until he takes to the stage later this morning, which is why I’m looking for indications that he’ll be shuffling his pack heavily, from what he says.
At least it’s different teams though, too, because the same games against Dortmund, PSG or Bayern were starting to grate. Oh yeah, let’s not forget Olympiakos in there as well.
It’ll be a strange one on Thursday because I wonder if more people will be excited to see some different players like me too. It’ll be like a ‘League Cup Plus’ game, just with better opponents for some of the players to test themselves. That’s what I’m looking forward to seeing. How well can Reiss Nelson adapt? Do we have a long term successor to Bellerin who, if we’re all honest with ourselves, is getting poached by Barca within the next two to three years?
At least we’re asking different questions from European football this season. That’s something. Had we been playing Olympiakos tonight in the first game of the Championd League, it would have all felt a bit samey, but in Cologne we have an opponent who we don’t really know if they’ll be a bit Mickey Mouse or an up and coming team. Occasionally in Europe you get teams like this who surprise everyone and I’m thinking about Sevilla who won the competition a couple of years in a row and now look like an established top Spanish outfit. It wasn’t that long ago that Sevilla was seen as a mid table Spanish team, so you don’t know whether or not Cologne have that same trajectory planned or whether this is a one-off season in Europe for them.
We’ll soon find out I guess.
And that’s really it from me for another day. We’ll get a bit more insight from the manager later, so thoughts on that and a pre match preview from me tomorrow.