Tricky in the sense of the phrase of "how on earth do we focus on Pompey?!!?" when we have such a big game next? To try and focus on a game that means less than the game after will be hard. Looking at the table, we're 6 points behind Chelsea and 10 points ahead of Aston Villa. We have 4 games to play. Can we finish 5th? Yes, but very unlikely, Villa would have to win all four of their last four games, and we'd have to lose all of them... even if we play a reserve side against Pompey, I still don't think that will happen. Can we finish 3rd, well, maybe - we would have to win all four of our last four games and hope Chelsea lose 2 of them (yes we do play them) and in addition, hope that their goal difference is reduced.
So, what I am getting at... well, we should really accept that we are 4th and have only a slim chance of finishing 3rd or 5th and therefore it's time to put our eggs into the only basket we have left. The Champions League basket. We should really do whatever we can to rest players against Pompey on Saturday and focus all steam ahead on the big game this Tuesday.
Let's listen to Kolo:
“We have to win the second leg, and it is going to be really tight, but we know we can beat any team at Emirates. United are a really strong team, they are used to playing in the Champions League as they won it last season and still have a lot of the same strong players. We will have to be on the top of our game to win against them but we can score two goals at Emirates, we just need to defend better. We have made some good clean sheets at home already, and beat Manchester there earlier in the season. That can give us some belief.”
It’s crazy when you watch the goal we conceded, our team was all over the place. Ade left the far post and Kolo ran towards the ball when there were already three players there, leaving 2 United players completely unmarked. Okay, not the right time to dwell on that incident. Maybe a better time to think about Eduardo. He is the most unfortunate kid on the block. The injury he suffered all those many months ago was horrific and since he’s been back, it’s been a catalogue of injuries.
“He is really distraught. We have had a few players who have been down [through injuries] but this time I think it has affected him a lot. The season is over for him, he’ll be out for three weeks. It’s the first of May today, it is hard to come back to football competitiveness three weeks afterwards. Maybe if Croatia plays in June he has a chance. It looks like since he’s come back just every single thing that can happen has happened to him. We watched the incident on Tuesday carefully again on the slow motion and he has absolutely no chance to escape. He is on the ground and Rio Ferdinand falls on him with the knee on his groin and you see the groin going. He turns his body completely but he has no chance to escape. It’s just a bad coincidence. Before his groin injury was compensation, but this time it was purely accidental.”
With Van Persie out, our Champions League game next Tuesday was primed for Eduardo, but his five minute cameo against United last Wednesday saw the Crozilian injured and out for the season. He must be the unluckiest player ever.
It’s a tough one tomorrow, with so many players out, a game we want to win, but a game we need to rest players in. Let’s take a look at a possible line up for tomorrow:
Eboue – Toure – Djourou – Gibbs
Nasri – Denilson – Cesc – Arshavin
Bendtner – Vela
I’d prefer him to rest Nasri, Cesc and Toure too, but with Silvestre and Gallas out, there is really no-one, except for maybe Alex Song, who can come in for Toure. Cesc could be rested and Ramsey could get a game, and of course, Wilshere or Merida could also start if Nasri was to be rested. Diaby may be a decent option to play too, and if he does start, that may indicate that he won’t play against United midweek. It’s all touch and go, and we’ll see what Arsene decides tomorrow. Whatever he decides, he’s definitely giving the illusion of wanting to play a strong team.
“It is a significant weekend. Three or four games before the end, usually that is the time for the final blow or the final hope. Usually the title or Champions League hopes are decided with three of four weekends to go. I will build a strong team at Portsmouth. I will try to accommodate both. I will try to give the players who need a breather, a rest but also put out a strong team. Sometimes it’s good to play players, sometimes it’s good to rest players but we will have a strong team and we want to win the game. When you are on the pitch you focus on the game. You live in the present, not next week. When top-level footballers play they are not somewhere else. I believe what is most important is not to rate our chances and how difficult it is. We have a Semi-Final at home with a good chance. We will go in with full belief and certainty. I believe we will do it.”
Come on you Gooners!
On one more note, Stan Kroenke has increased his Arsenal share holding… more on that tomorrow.]]>