Tomorrow’s game against The Jacks – the first of ten consecutive Cup Finals – at the beautifully named Liberty stadium, is a massive one for Arsenal. Whilst Swansea can play this game with an incredible lightness of being – they have reached the magical 40 points mark, won the League Cup, are already guaranteed European football for next season, and their manager has just extended his contract – Arsenal have the considerable weight on their shoulders of having to pick up all three points; so we can put pressure on both the Chavs and the Spuds in our joint race/chase for a top-3/top4 PL spot.
The 2-0 win against Bayern midweek has given our confidence a massive boost. This season, other than perhaps our result against Liverpool away, we have not achieved a better result against a top team, home or away. And still there was plenty of room for improvement, in terms of our passing game and creating chances, which will continue to be work in progress.
The Jacks play football as it should be played, and this promises to be an open game with quality football on display. The big question is whether we will play conservative again – just as we did against Bayern – as in sitting a bit deeper, and our two DMs predominantly focussed on shielding our defence by staying close in front of them.
The risk of this conservative approach is not producing enough opportunities for our four attack-minded players, and as in most of our games this season, the key lays with whoever will be playing in the lynch-pin role. Jack is not available to face his namesakes tomorrow, and Ramsey and Arteta come with limitations for this pivotal role. Diaby has probably been our best lynch-pin player of them all, but that was at the start of the season, and his recent form has been quite poor.
Yet, I feel Diaby will start tomorrow, and so will Ramsey: I reckon they will be our ‘2’ in our 4-2-1-3 system. Maybe Arteta will start, but I cannot see him finish the whole ninety minutes. We need a lot of energy and running in midfield against the mobile and good passers of the ball; Britton, De Guzman etc, and that’s why I reckon both Ramsey and Diaby will start tomorrow.
The most intriguing question with regards to our line-up is what is Arsene going to do with our back-five: will Fabianski start in goal again, will Vermaelen once again be left out, and will BFG-Koz be our CB-pairing again? My answer to this is yes, yes, and yes. Sagna is injured so Jenkinson will get another game, whilst Gibbs will get a rest and Nacho will replace him.
I expect Arsene to take courage from the defensive performance against Bayern and only make the necessary change of resting Gibbs; who only just returned from a long injury. Why break up a ‘winning’ defence? At this time of the season, Arsene has to stick with what seems to be working, and build on top of that.
Up-front we will probably see a similar formation as we had towards the end of our game on Wednesday: Cazorla in the hole, Theo on the right, work-horse Giroud in the centre, and Gervinho to start on the left. I don’t expect Rosicky to get another start so quickly after his start against Bayern, but if that is the case, I reckon Gervinho will start on the bench and Cazorla will move the left wing again.
This should be a very good game to watch, and it will be a big test for our boys. If we win tomorrow, it will give us great momentum, and the Chavs and Spuds will start to get very nervous of the ominous sound of the roaring canon behind their sweaty backs.
Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners!
Written by: TotalArsenal.