Of portents, signs and not much tactics…My very short match preview, if you will.
Normally, I’d be all about tactics and how to play the game, maximise our strengths and so on. But, time, tide, injuries and such have taken their toll. So, today, a bit of a metaphysical approach. First, the “context”.
For me, this is now a “nothing to lose” game. The “must win” before the last game or two was if we’d won or drawn Chavs and beaten Swansea. It would have been the 3rd of my 3 top games of March (Spurs, Chavs, City). So far, we are 1W and 1L (followed by a draw against Swansea).
Now, the must win games are Everton and Wembley (at least nearer term)…
I didn’t expect to win the league, so that we are close and will hopefully remain so, is good enough. We are in the picture for one of the better trophies so should be happy about that. For those disbelieving regulars on this site, re-read the tone after 3-1 loss at home to AV in game 1… My overall take, we are not so bad as the last two, and not quite so good as the first 65% of the season that came after the AV game #1. Without injuries it is far closer to the latter than the former, and so be it…
Now on to the game tomorrow / today itself.. I think we need to focus defensively and play our game. Not too aggressive. The first 20 mins are our downfall or our victory all too often. I think we play for the 0-0 or 1-0 stolen win, given the cast of players available. My lineup, I have two, the “standard” and the “jgc chefs special”. I expect the first, which is:
I see Flamini wanting to make up for last time and we still need some steel.
Now the chef’s special.
This one says that if you stop Yaya you are a long way to stopping City. Of course, easily written in a few key strokes and they’ve plenty of others to step up and attack but basically, it’s time to clog the middle and I think for those who want to see something really different:
Yes, gentelfolk, the world famous 4-2-4-0. Nothing says I want to hammer any ***hole who comes down the middle like Flamini-TV5 in the middle. Rosicky will have to drop more to provide some service forward perhaps.. Kallstrom has played outside back and can again methinks, if you are worried about Jenks.. The front 4 can be more fluid and will have to work forward and with some aggro as needed, but Rosicky, Pod and Ox are all comfortable going forward at the front if needed and perhaps that would open up some “threat” we have not been able to with all our injuries. Finally, I have a major prize for anyone who a) believes this will happen; and if b) it does actually happen!!
Now, onto the omens, because tactics aside, with all these injuries, it’s gotta be about the burnt offerings and reading the chicken innards. So, here goes…
The SIGN: I wore my Arsenal jersey today for the first time in awhile, mostly due to different reasons of not being able to on prior game days. I have not worn it since we were last winning lots, as happens.
The PORTENT: Was out riding a kids duathlon course with my 7 and 10 year olds this afternoon. The 10 year old blasted ahead as he does, I was with the 7 year old. Anyway, he’s a bit of a dreamer and, how shall we say, tends to use all the footpath, as he looks about at everything. In doing this and going around/between a couple of people while riding in front of me, he loses it on a small footpath edge and falls .. Of course right in front of me.
I have few options here. There are people and small dogs everywhere (and I know how Gerry is about running over dogs!), but I am headed right towards his neck (likely also bad). So, swerving to a side we put several years of bicycle racing experience to work and bunny hop him. Sadly, not clipped in like the old days so height is limited, but I miss him and do my first ollie over the handlebars in 20 years (it’s not magically gotten any more fun, I have to say!).
The bad ones: Well, we crashed and there were huge tears (not to mention the 7 year old 🙂 ). Equally, I dislocated a finger and his perfect 7 year old chin is marred by a small cut from his helmet straps.
The good ones: Well, the ladies cricket team was there playing and rushed to our aid, and both he and I like sporty young women. He eventually did ride the 6km home, an attractive 20-something physio cricketer helped me stop from pointing left whenever I meant forward.
The great one: My Arsenal jersey was unmarked or damaged.
So, read what you will into all that… I am calling it either 1-0 Arsenal or 37M – 3 City. It’s all about the first 20 mins for us lately so…
Gentleman (and Ladies)….
Find your couch (to hide behind)!!
cheers — jgc