The biggest game of the season for Arsenal so far will be tonight’s at the Sinobo stadium. Winning a European cup would be great and we are now just three games away from the final.
I know that winning this cup would also automatically qualify us for the money-ball that is the Champions League, but for me this is much less important. In fact, I dislike this ‘additional benefit’ that simply undermines the importance of winning the UEFA League Cup as a major prize on its own. There used to be three European Cups to be won every season but now it all seems to be about the elitist and utterly predictable Champions League, with just the odd season throwing in a surprise.
Anyway, let’s enjoy the moment and that Arsenal are playing European football at a level that we can deal with right now. Tonight we will play in beautiful Prague and we have a big job to do. We will have to score at least once and therefore need to attack, but we don’t have to go overboard. We know that every away goal will count double in case we end up in a draw so, 2-2, 3-3 etc will all be in our favour. Last week we played too tentatively and it cost us in the end; today we need to play with real purpose and confidence… and with all guns blazing of course. We need goals and to mean business, and I am confident the boys will be well up for this.
Who will start? Hard to predict but I reckon our starting-11 will/could look something like this:
It could be Mari or Big Gab partnering Holdingho, but with Xhaka as left-footed left back likely to continue in the same position, the passing out from the left should be much better and Gabriel’s dynamism will be needed. Soares is our best right back and I would play him there ahead of Bels or Calum.
If ESR or Odegaard are not fully fit, expect Ceballos, who had a good game on Sunday, to start instead. The attacking midfield of a deeper Partey with the young, mobile wolves of Emile and Martin in front of him is mouthwatering. In attack it should be Saka and Laca and then there is a choice between Auba and Martinelli (Willian or Pepe). You can pick your favourite but I would go for Auba’s experience to take chances when they come his way. If after 60 minutes or so Auba has not done so then bring on Martinelli or Pepe. The good news is that we have options in most positions and all are very keen to play tonight. They’ll need to be.
Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners!