It’s the super-awesome-mega-important-one-you-definitely-want-to-win cup tonight! You know the one I mean. They named it after a Thai goat or something. The one where the draw is done in the middle of the Himalayas so that the Asian fans don’t have to get up so early, because that’s a really important draw for them to see, and not an actual game (rolls eyes at the attempted placating by the football league).
Arsenal are up against Donny and it’s an opportunity for more rotation following Sunday’s exertions against the racists, but I’d expect to see a lot more than what we had against Cologne last midweek. Although we don’t play until Monday night, this is a competition in which we have to see how well equipped we are from a squad rotation perspective and so personally, I’d like to see a one to 11 change around.
(I’m fully aware of the irony of that saying these days, given the team numbers of half our first teamers)
So my pick for tonight would include Ospina, Nelson at right wing back, Holding, Mertesacker and if fit, Chambers, with a question mark on the left. Ideally you’d want Monreal and Kolasinac out, but if that makes for a square peg in a round hole like Maitland-Niles, I’d be inclined to delve deeper into the youth ranks for another left back. It can’t do Maitland-Niles much help playing out of position and competitions like this need him being given a chance in his natural position as a holding midfielder. So that’s where I’d have him.
Alongside him I’d have the experience of Elneny and with those two protecting the back three, it would give licence to see what the wing backs could do against a Doncaster Rovers side who will surely come to sit deep.
In front of them I think we should see Walcott and Giroud and behind them I’d love to see Jack operating in a free role. That would be awesome and a chance for him to get some minutes under his belt. It would also ensure that we are giving minutes to players who will invariably be called on this season and with Danny Welbeck already breaking down, it feels somewhat inevitable that we’ll see more problems as the season unfolds, so I’d like to have our squad players ready, willing and capable when called upon. We can’t have players coming in and take three games to get up to proper Premier League standard match fitness.
I know nothing of Doncaster Rovers. I don’t know any players, I haven’t watched them this season, I don’t even know what colour their away kit is, but I do know that they are still an obstacle that need to be overcome and ultimately they are still a professional football club. I would be surprised to see a Wrexham-esque meltdown from the Arsenal players, but that doesn’t mean Doncaster can’t cause us issues and so what our players need to produce is an authoritative display and hopefully a few goals too.
This isn’t a main focus of a competition, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be valuable preparation for later on in the season, so I’m hoping that we can continue our stay for a few more rounds. Which means a nice comfortable win tonight will be mightily handy.
I’m off to workie now. Catch you’s on the other side of the daily grind.