Morning all and a strange morning it is for me, because I’m not sure whether I want to go all out schadenfreude after those Tiny Totts lost at home to Juve, given that the footballing fates are so fickle and will probably punish me by seeing Arsenal all but out tonight with a hammering.
On the other hand Arsenal have provided so little joy out of this season so far that perhaps that is the most sensible option because at least I can revel in somebody else’s misery for a change.
Particularly those Spurs fans who were tweeting things like “If Spurs go through tonight they’ll be the first North London team to reach the quarter final since 2011. Which was also Spurs”. Ahh how the chirpy have become, well, less chirpy.
Of course we’re not even remotely chirpy about tonight and nor do any of us have any reason to be. Arsenal are one of the most out of form Premier League teams in the country, playing Serie A’s in form team in Italy, on their home turf.
I’ll be honest with you I’m just hoping we keep the score respectable and we don’t have an impossible mountain to overcome in the return leg next week.
The problem we have is that we’re probably not going to score tonight. We’ll ignore the fact that we haven’t looked like scoring much in any game lately with our slow and ponderous build up, but in terms of the numbers, they are heavily stacked against us.
Milan have gone 10 hours without conceding in football matches. That’s just under seven matches.
Arsenal are missing their two £50million+ strikers and the only ones that have looked like scoring.
Danny ‘Bambi on Ice’ Welbeck will be asked to lead the line. His last goal was in the disgrace that was Nottingham Forest away and his last goal against top flight opposition was in the EFL cup against West Ham before Christmas. Hardly fills you with optimism that he’ll be breaching the Milan back line tonight, does it?
Behind him Mkhitaryan and Özil look like wizards without their wands and on Sunday Özil was diabolical. Still, he wasn’t as bad as Iwobi and it comes to something when I’m hoping that Özil and Mkhi play despite their shoddy form, just to keep Iwobi from starting on that football pitch.
Behind them we have no midfield and I suspect we’ll see the combo of Ramsey, Xhaka and Elneny to provide “cover”. Ha!
And with no Bellerin at right back we have the joys of seeing Calum Chambers get targeted and isolated at right back. Another day, another square peg, another round hole.
Personally I would flip the script tonight and go with three at the back, Holding or Chambers with Mustafi and Koscielny to offer the youngsters a little more protection, then aim to create some width in the team by chucking Maitland-Niles at right back, Kolasinac at left back, then telling them to provide an outlet going forward. We’ve lacked width all season and with our attacking players so why not counter that by playing with two players who will probably do a decent job getting forward in Kola and AMN?
Hey, Wenger’s rolled the dice and come up snake eyes plenty of times this season, so why not have another go now?
I think more than anything else today we need to see a reaction from the players. Defensively we are a circus but there are simple things defenders can do, like go long instead of hospital passes in front of your own defence (Koscielny) to avoid simple mistakes. We just need to cut those out.
I’m not confident, I think we’ll lose, but I’m hoping that we can just keep it to two goals max, then at least have the hope when we take them back to our gaff.
Cross everything, because this could be a long, long night….