It's Tuesday and tonight sees the return of Champions League as Liverpool and Bayern try to overturn a 3-1 and 4-0 first leg deficit against Chelsea and Barcelona respectively to progress to the next round. Tomorrow, of course, will be more interesting with Porto pushing United all the way and of course, the big game, Arsenal vs Villareal at the Emirates where we're in pole position.
News surrounding Villareal is that influential midfielders Carzola and scorer in the first leg Senna are both definitely not available to play. That may see a start for Robert Pires, in what will be an emotional return to Arsenal, and I'm sure you'll see a massive ovation for the former Gunners legend.
The boss has been talking about the game and is sure of our positive intent. He's urged the team to go out and really win this game, putting to bed any chance that Villareal may have.
“We know we are in a situation where we don’t want to be tentative at all,” the manager said. “We want to be decisive but you can only do that if you decide to play in a very positive way. We have scored that away goal so it could have an importance at the end of the day. I don’t believe that we are a team who can play for 0-0, that’s not our natural way. If there are five minutes to go and it’s 0-0 even goal kicks make you nervous. I personally don’t expect any weaknesses from them, I expect some strength from us to say, ‘listen, we have the opportunity to get to the Semi Final at home, let’s take it’. I am confident we will and we have the needed quality to do that. But you know from their game that they can be dangerous as well.”
And for that reason, I’m convinced we’ll attack and try our best to score early and score a few. We’ll have to be on our best behaviour at the back and that’s why I hope we stick with the back four that ended the game on the weekend, with Silvestre and Toure in the middle and Gibbs and Sagna in the full back positions. Many are calling for Silvestre to drop to left back and Song to come into central defence, but Song being playing in central midfield all season and we have others available, it doesn’t make sense to play someone out of position.
News coming from the Arsenal camp is that Djourou will be back for the weekend trip to Wembley – so many important games coming so quickly one after each other.
Although Senna will miss the game, he’s been in the press with a little bit of fighting talk telling us that they’re on a mission and it’s a good reminder that this is the game of their season too, so we’ve got to be disciplined in defence and incisive in attack.
“We are capable of winning in London and going through. We are certainly stronger than we were three years ago. We have a far more complete group of players now than we had back then. We have real depth to our squad. It is everything or nothing. It is do or die. And we know we are good enough to win.”
It’s do or die for us too and overall, we have the better team, are in the better position and are at home.
It’s time of us to step it up.
Part 3 tomorrow…]]>