The Big Game

attack attack attack.

Diaby and Eduardo have passed their fitness tests and should feature in the squad, but both surely on the bench as both are short of match practice. Van Persie passed a fitness test this morning but noises coming out of the camp are that he may start on the bench as he’s not fully recovered yet.

Arsene spoke about the defence yesterday when he said:

“You don’t need a manager to pick the defence. Gibbs has no experience and Alex Song has not played a lot at centre back. But at least we can have someone close to Gibbs who has experience [in Silvestre].

There is a question mark over who will start in midfield – either Denilson or Song will partner Cesc – and of course whether VP will be fit enough to start.

The possible line up could be:

Fabianski

Sagna – Toure – Silvestre – Gibbs

Walcott – Denilson or Song – Cesc – Nasri

Adebayor – VP or Bendtner

Arsene says that the current crop of players has a “never say die” attitude and this may come into to play today as it definitely be a stern test to get into the last 4 of the competition – Villareal have nothing to lose and we saw yesterday how a game can develop in a variety of ways when Liverpool were a goal line clearance of going 5-3 up and progressing into the next round.

“For me the most important thing is that this team continues to develop and you show that in big games like this one. I believe that we will. But people don’t realise how difficult that job is – every three days to turn up and be performing. It is really an exam every three days and until now we have done that very well and have been consistent. That is what I always respect most in this job. We have suffered a lot this season,” he went on. “But we have shown strong responses because we have grown from game to game. I have never seen any sign of ‘OK, we’re giving up’. There has always been a strong unit in there in training, a high focus. I want them to be rewarded and therefore we want to perform.”

The boss really want us to score goals and has a genuine desire to attack. Of course, if we go for a 0-0, the likelihood of losing 1-0 is much higher. A silly mistake in the last minute and we’re out. For that reason, I’m sure Arsene wants a 2-0 or 3-0 scoreline going into the last 10 minutes.

“Yes that would do, as we want to qualify,” said the 59-year-old. “But we do not go in with that intention. However the unpredictability of the game is that you can play 1000 years football and nobody can say what will happen. It can be a fantastic open game, or a boring 0-0 even if we don’t go into that game with that idea. However I believe we want to go into the game with a positive attitude because we just want to win it. It is very dangerous otherwise.”

Of course, tonight is the game of our lives. Porto managed a 2-2 scoreline at United last week and the same scoreline will see Villareal progress. We must attack and must be disciplined at the back. How exciting, scary and nerve wracking is this game!!

Okay, we’ll all we can do is sit back and wait for the game – I’ll be at the Emirates tonight, I kind of want to go there now…

Come on you Gooners!]]>

  • devday

    < ![CDATA[Arsene compares Ade to Bendtner...

    "He has that combination of physical strength, technical quality and a determined attitude. I believe he is a needed presence in the middle - like [Nicklas] Bendtner.]]>

  • Dan

    …crapping my pants. Oh its fun being a gooner!

  • devday

    We’re going to do it – I have a good feeling about tonight.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I have a feeling we're going to start with another 4 - 5 - 1, no matter what them at Arsenal FC will have you believe - '... we're not going with the intention of a 0 - 0 ...... blah blah...'.

    And I have a feeling we're going to see another boring first half, where we're possibly only trying to be solid defensively. We seem to have made a habit of playing a poor first half. Somehow we've become resigned to the assumption that the first half is not for Arsenal to win. I don't like it.

    On another note, it's good to see Eduardo, VanPersie and Diaby back.]]>

  • zohaib

    Dev, you seem to be surprised/baffled that Wenger’s compared Adebayor to Bendtner ?

  • devday

    Well, it shows that he thinks highly of Bendtner considering he’s called Ade “close” to a world class player… when Bendtner is on form, he is very good, but when he’s off form, he is very bad. Also shows that he puts them as very similar players.

  • devday

    You may be right Zohaib, Van Persie deployed alongside Adebayor – but when we defend, he’ll slot into a 4-5-1… I’m awaiting more news… but no more news yet!!

  • devday

    On a separate note – I can’t wait to see Bobby Pires back home…

  • devday

    < ![CDATA[Manuel Pellegrini believes Villarreal can “profit” from Arsenal’s defensive injury problems.

    “We know that Arsenal have a few players who won’t be playing but if they don’t have those players we’ll be trying to profit from it,” the manager said.

    “I think we played well at El Madrigal – perhaps we should have won but we got a draw. Hopefully we’ll win tomorrow.

    “I wish we can win before extra time but we will have to play extra time I’m happy with that. We’re not going to try and get to extra time, we’ll be trying to win in the first 90 minutes.”]]>

  • Fabrez

    Now Sagna is out?? What’s going on??? MAJOR defensive worries!! I’m not to worried about how weird our back 4 looks for some odd reason…not for thi

  • Fabrez

    *not for this game anyway… Against Chelsea, I hope we get Djourou and Sagna back. What is the problem with Sagna???

  • unspoken

    < ![CDATA[but we shouldnt worry about RB so much. we have eboue who's quite good at RB.

    and we're playing quite well.]]>

  • Fabrez

    :D Well done guys! Defended like a team and flowed offensively!

  • http://kierandelaney.net/ kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Adebayor though, how wasteful can one player be?

    Great team performance - Adebayor aside and Nasri looked a little out of it at times, the entire team performance was great. Song and Cesc were excellent. Van Persie showed his class by setting up Ade and Walcott was brilliant - for the first time this season I was impressed by his end product.

    The ref was appalling though - giving us a penalty that never was, booking players for nothing. He didn't seem to favour either team, his decisions to both sides were poor, but that's about the only positive you could take from his performance.

    Defence and goalkeepers though. Brilliant. And even Eboue shone.

    Great night tonight.]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[3-0 to the Arsenal!!! :D

    Very happy about that result, and the overall performance. not sure what I'm more pleased about, the 3 goals or the clean sheet. Fabianski did very well for this game, Gibbs got better as the game went on and Eboue did a sterling job at RB and linked up nicely with Theo.

    Ade had flashes of brilliance here and there amid the resurfacing of some of his bad habits e.g. off-sides, missed goal-scoring oppertunities etc. His goal was nice though, composed finish, but he should have burried at that header of his that was cleared off the line.

    Theo was a man on fire from the start and deserved to be on the scoresheet. Cesc and Song (barring a few over-zealous tackle) worked very well together.

    We certainly have our work cut out over the next month or so. I think we play a total of 6 games in all competitions against Liverpool, Chelsea and Man United lol. Well done to the lads for getting this far, especially after how this season has been.]]>