AS Roma v Arsenal
UEFA Champions League, Stadio Olimpico
Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 19:45
The squad has been announced and it’s pretty much the same as we thought it would be with the inclusion of Walcott, Toure and Eduardo:
Arsenal squad for AS Roma
1 Manuel ALMUNIA (GK), 2 Abou DIABY, 3 Bacary SAGNA, 5 Kolo TOURE, 8 Samir NASRI, 9 EDUARDO, 10 William GALLAS, 11 Robin VAN PERSIE, 12 Carlos VELA, 14 Theo WALCOTT, 15 DENILSON, 16 Aaron RAMSEY, 17 Alex SONG, 20 Johan DJOUROU, 21 Lukasz FABIANSKI (GK), 22 Gael CLICHY, 26 Nicklas BENDTNER, 27 Emmanuel EBOUE, 40 Kieran GIBBS
Based on this, I suspect Arsene will go for the formation and personnel as discussed yesterday. Rumours are that he will start with Denilson and Diaby in the middle with Nasri just behind Van Persie and Eboue and Bendtner on either side. I’ve seen this in a newspaper too, but really can’t see Arsene playing Bendtner on the left if we have so many other players back and ready to start. After Song’s impressive display against Burnley, he may have won his place in this starting line up.
Arsene has options and it’s clear he plans on using them:
“I want the freedom to change my mind,” he explained. “There’s one or two positions which are not completely set. It is 90 per cent not 100 per cent there but that gives you the opportunity to change it.”
In reality, I think the two positions he is talking about is whether to start with Toure or Djourou, as Toure must not be 100% fit. The other deliberation is whether to play three “defensive” midfielders or two in what I believe will be a 5 man midfield.
Eboue I’m sure will be a starter as he has got more defensive attributes, but if we do start with Diaongson (Diaby, Song and Denilson) then we might not… I don’t think I am making sense – it’s so hard having so many options… We do have to be defensive. If we don’t concede, we will go through. But at the same time, if we score – and score just one, they’ll need 3. Arsene agrees:
“I will try to convince the players we want a positive attitude and not just sit back,” he said. “As a team we are strong going forward. If we only defend we put ourselves in trouble. If we score we have a very, very strong chance to go through. So we will go into the game wanting to win it. You need to play good football and be strong in your recovery of the ball away from home. That’s our first task but the second one is that, after we have recovered the ball, we must go forward. We have the experience of playing in places like Madrid and Milan and we never hid then. That should convince us the way to approach the game is to be positive. That’s our style of play and our culture.”
Okay, so let’s try once more to second guess the gaffer:
Djourou – Toure – Gallas
Walcott – Denilson – Nasri
Van Persie – Vela – Eduardo
In a 3-3-3-1 formation?
Okay, yes, that was a joke.
I still think we’ll line up like this:
Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Clichy
Eboue – Denilson – Song – Diaby – Nasri
So bring on Roma… let’s see what we’re made of, let’s see what we can do, let’s see how much we want it. For those of you out there, have a good time, enjoy the game… and bring on the next round….]]>