Recharge the Canon and Take Down the Claret and Blue Army
After Wednesday’s bonus game v Pool we are back to business, tomorrow. It would have been nice to get something from the Pool game but, as Arteta rightly stuck to playing with the same system and did not park the bus against Klopp’s team, a loss was almost inevitable. It was a necessary test to see where we are when it comes to playing the top teams, and we should be encouraged from our recent performances against Citeh and Liverpool. In the end we lost through small individual mistakes and lack of confidence/experience at the crucial moments. A better final ball after fine dribbling by Martinelli and it’s one nil; one more touch before shooting by the Ode and he can pick his spot; a stronger hand by Ramsdale and it is still 0-0, and; a midfielder running to block the pass and it stays 0-1 and we are still in the game. Small margins but the team will get better and better and maybe next time it will be us who finish victoriously.
We are not quite there yet and for me it is more a matter of the young players becoming stronger than strengthening the team through many purchases. We need more strength in depth for next season and one or two positions could do with an improvement, but the biggest gain will come from keeping this group of players together and letting them grow. And that includes the likes of Xhaka and Laca for whom I doff my hat at the end of every game.
We tamed the Foxes, bees, hornets and wolves in recent games and now it is time to sort out the Lions of Birmingham. I have a lot of respect for that club and the current manager and they will feel they have a good chance to get three points of us. The assumption will be that we are a bit tired after that Pool test, but I think the boys will be ready to take them on and show who is boss. They know this is a bread and butter game and Villa are nowhere near as strong as Pool. There will be frustration in Arteta’s youngsters and nothing is better than to play a game almost straightaway. I expect them to do us proud.
I cannot see many changes but it looks time to give Emile and Tomiyasu a start (the manager is cagey about the latter which makes me think he will actually start tomorrow). No doubt the players will tire a bit around seventy minutes and Arteta will be able to bring on new blood then.
So my predicted lineup is something like this:
Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!