Matchday today means that we have another opportunity for a win and hopefully some sort of momentum building as we hit the busy festive period.

The reality of the situation is that unless there is a monumental cock up of epic proportions – a five goal defeat would do it – we are through to the next round. But this is about Arsenal getting back to winning ways so I suspect that whilst Freddie will rotate the team heavily tonight with Man City on Sunday, he’ll still want us to get a win under our belts so it’s a happy camp for Saturday’s training session.

Quite who will start I don’t really know, because both midweek and weekend teams appear to have blended together in coming weeks, as two separate managers have shuffled their pack in an attempt to get results with a failing team. But I suspect it’ll be much changed from Monday night so if I was to hazard a guess I’d say:

  • Martinez
  • Mainland-Niles
  • Kolasinac
  • Luiz
  • Mustafi
  • Willock
  • Guendouzi
  • Smith-Rowe
  • Nelson
  • Lacazette
  • Saka
  • I don’t think you can play Lacazette on Sunday and so he has to play tonight in my opinion. Plus we have an option to give some of those young, creative, attacking players a chance to shine in a game in which the pressure is relatively minimal. So let’s hope they take that and run with it because I’d love to see a similar performance to the one at The Emirates earlier in the season. We scored early, we looked good, controlled the game and possession and deservedly walked away with all three points.
  • I’d love to see Nelson and Saka on the scoresheet because particularly for the former, it feels like he’s hit a bit of a wall. If you remember the Emirates cup a couple of years ago, we had a young kid who absolutely lit the place up and I for one am desperate to see THAT Reiss Nelson get back on the pitch and show us his potential because we all want to see it. And let’s face it, with the rumours that Auba and Laca probably won’t sign new deals, we need some of our offensive playing youngsters to fill what could be quite a sizeable void. Nelson is one of those, as is Smith-Rowe, so I’m crossing everything that both can stay fit and get plenty of minutes under their belt.

    As for Standard Liege, well let’s just not even pretend that I’m an expert in them or their game plan tonight, but I’m sure they’ll want to put on a show for their fans. They’ve lost one in their last seven matches and are currently third in the league, quite some way away from Club Brugge though so it’s not like they’re romping their league. They need a win to have any hope of qualifying so I suspect they’ll be going all out and it’ll most likely make it a tougher game. But we should have the players – even the younger ones – with the technical capability to beat this Belgian side.

    Whether the confidence has been completely restored from Monday’s win I’m not sure, but certainly I hope there are some more signs of green shoots, because we need all the help we can get ahead of Man City’s visit to us on Sunday.

    Not really a lot else to say about this game to be honest, so I’ll keep todays musings short and sweet, and catch you wonderful human beings in the morrow.

    Oh, actually, a PS here. Some sad news to hear that Dave aka ‘Goonerholic’ is in hospital and the outlook doesn’t look too great for him. I met him a couple of times before games and often chatted online. Such a lovely man and my heart and thoughts go out to him at this difficult time.