The Yellow Submarine is our new opponent on the way to the UEFA League final. They are of course managed by Arteta’s predecessor, Unai Emery, and if there is one thing that nobody can argue with it’s the fact that Unai is an UEFA-league specialist. Will the extremely ambitious Spaniard be extra extra motivated to give us a bloody nose tonight? You betcha!
I must admit that I have not seen much of Villareal this season. They scored 50 goals in La Liga and conceded 38 and are currently seventh, so not much better than us. They play in the beautifully named Estadio de la Ceramica or (even more beautifully and unofficially named) El Madrigal. You can say anything in Spanish and it sounds beautiful, though. A cheese sandwich is bocadillo de queso and whereas the former hardly gets me excited the latter is simply mouthwatering! Tengo diez por favor! 😀 Furthermore, a small city/town situated near the sunny east coast and that prides itself for its oranges and ceramics is one I would love to visit, and what a shame it is we still cannot do so.
Arteta had some heavenly news for us yesterday; as per per Mikel’s own words on Arsenal.com: They are all in contention. All of them. Including Aubameyang, Laca and Kieran. They are all in contention for the game. Yes [it is good news].
So what can I say about our first team selection. If all are truly fit then that will have given Arteta a sleepless night. The only thing to compare it with is when you have been out and several girls (or boys) have been eyeing you up and made advances… who to pick, who to pick?! I guess what is key here is who is actually fully match fit? This only Mikel will be able to judge.
So I am going with my hunch regarding match fitness and build further on the great comments made in the last Bergkampesque post.
This would be my team to start against the Yellow Submarine, and I am going for 3-4-3 to make us stronger on the flanks and through the middle:
If Laca is fit then of course he should play but Martinelli must have been penciled in for this one. I expect us to play compact and attack with seven or eight at a time, so in reality it is more like 3-7 or 3-6-1 for large parts of the game because I expect us to take the game to them tonight. If KT is fully fit then we could play 4-2-3-1 again with Soares making way and Saka moving up a position. Pepe has been good in Europe but I would prefer (a fit) Odegaard to start as he is much more ball tight. I am sure Arteta will have a few surprises for us tonight and that I got it pretty wrong with my preferred selection, but as long as the boys put in a great performance we will all be happy. Looking forward to this one. COYRRGs!!