Match day again and it’s Chelski away in the League Cup and having seen Bristol go one up against City last night it made me realise that anything is possible, including Arsenal actually beating them on their own turf this evening, although I also acknowledge that City did ultimately win it in the end. And they’ll probably win the return leg. And the final.
But hey! If our sorry band of misfits can get a result – or at least keep it close and maybe even win at home – perhaps we’ll get another day out at Wembley!
It’s hard to look too far ahead with Arsenal at the moment though. What with all of the disarray, defeats, lack of structure and discipline in our team n’all. So to say that I’m confident about tonight wouldn’t just be a slight misnomer, it would be a complete untruth. Like telling everyone that Donald Trump is the greatest and most caring President the US has ever seen, only thinking of others and the people, ahead of his own ego.
So what if this evening then? What do we do? How do we approach it.
Beats me. I’m also beaten when it comes to trying to work out who plays tonight because I thought we’d see one or two first teamers at least on the bench at the weekend. Many of us were led to believe that it would mean he’d put out a strong side tonight but honestly, can you see that happening, given how erratic his selection decisions have been for a large number of games?
I hope he does though. I’d expect to see Ospina and I think Chambers might play, but if Mustafi is a fitness test away as he said in his pre match presser, I wonder if that means he’ll gamble with him tonight. One thing he can’t do is go with another sluggish and slow back four, so I’d be stunned if Big Per, Holding and Debuchy all start together. Perhaps he’ll play Holding in a three, but I’d expect Monreal (if fit) to at least offer some cover. Then on the right you’d say Hector, but perhaps he goes with Reiss Nelson given his impressive performances when given the chance; he was certainly one of the better players on Sunday.
Midfield should not be including the likes of Elneny given the Egyptian was part of the Nottingham debacle, but I suspect it might include Jack, possibly with Coquelin if the Frenchman isn’t on a plane to Valencia during the course of today. One suspects it would be his last game if he did play and Wenger being a sentimental old boy and not beyond playing players who are already halfway out the door, I could certainly see him getting his Coq out one last time.
Then you come to the front three. Again, I have to say I’m of the opinion that there should be some repercussions for such abysmal showings, which is why I think we should go first choice front three. Not least because if we do get through somehow over two legs, I can see the advantages of having Alexis cup tied for Man City in the final.
But jokes aside this will be a tough Chelski team we will see tonight. It will likely include a few of Morata, Willian, Pedro, Hazard, Batshuayi, all of which have pace and having seen our lumbering defence on Sunday all of which will know that balls in to the channels need to be their soup de jour. if we play the same slow defence then it’s almost inevitable that they’ll get chances and inevitable they will score.
If I can offer some ray of light however, it would be that we’ll not likely see a Chelski team that will want to sit on the edge of their own box and just hit us on the counter, rope-a-dope style. If this was the Emirates I’d probably argue that it could be their approach but on their home turf I think Chelski will see this as a game in which they have to control and dominate possession and perhaps that can play into our hands. Providing our defence can be stopped from pressing higher up the pitch and make sure everything is played out in front of us, I could see us at least avoiding the constant fear of a striker getting in behind time and time again.
But if I’m honest I don’t hold out too much confidence at the moment. We’ve always been a confidence team under Wenger and right now it feels like we’re absolutely empty on that front. It’s up to the players to prove me wrong and I would be delighted if that were the case but tonight I suspect we’ll be beat.
That isn’t the end of the world though, as long as we don’t get beat too heavily, making the return leg redundant. Let’s just hope that Arsenal can keep it to within one goal and I’d probably take that right now.
Right, off for another day in the smog, so I’ll catch you all with a match review tomorrow.