SPORTING C.P. PREVIEW: EMERY WANTS TO TOP THE GROUP. LENO AND AUBA START.
Emery wants to top the group and to him Sporting C.P. at away represents the critical game. If he gets a victory at Lisbon the odds are that we would finish on top of the group. That gives him a much better assurance of an easier 1st knockout stage opponent. Emery is a man of fine details. He leaves nothing to chance. And just like you and I, he is equally a baby who’d take a huge fancy to a perfect 11. However with 3 games in 6 days the philosophy of OGAAT must be shaking at its foundation. He must be fancying, again like you and I, not just the perfect 11 but also the perfect 12 come Sunday against Crystal Palace. That demands some juggling and balancing meaning that any prediction of what Emery would come up with is just that .. a prediction.
Sporting is at maximum 6 pts, level with us, and they have won all their home matches this season all competitions. They would be seeking their own perfect 6. That’s a tough call for them with Auba leading our line and Sokratis and Holding holding the fort.
Our two regular fullbacks are still not available so expect Lichsteiner to start there with Bellerin at right back. If we do the unexpected of being well in front by the interval, we are likely to see an early 2nd half substitution of Bellerin by Lichsteiner to make space for our new found left back sensation, Granit Xhaka of all people. Wonders would never cease!
My prediction of Emeryball:-
Bellerin. Sokratis. Holding. Lichsteiner
Bench:- Martinez, Mustafi, Torreira, Xhaka, Iwobi, Ozil, Lacazette.
That’s a strong 11 that can give us the perfect 11. That’s also a powerful bench. Monsieur Wenger kept his promise. He left us a strong squad and what’s more, there is so much sunshine in that camp. A certain dark cloud had long ago drifted away into a certain sinking ship. Emery is left having a ball and us with him.
It’s “OPERATION PERFECT-11”.