Today sees us give our young team another run out and they didn’t do that great against Man City, so have a chance to do better today. Yes, it’s harsh as Man City were at home and their team cost £300m+, but ultimately, it’s these types of games that our younger players need.
The team tonight should be much weaker / younger than that which took the field against Man City and we’ll see a few of the players who’ve done well in our reserve and under 18 games come through. Let’s take a look at a probable line up for tonight and then let’s hear from the gaffer.
Tonight, we may just see this XI:
Gilbert – Bartley – Silvestre – Cruise
I’ve chosen Fabianski because ultimately, as choice #2 he needs the games. I have additional faith him based on the fact that he becomes a world class goalie in Pro Evo 2010, so let’s see how he fairs. Gilbert is the chosen right back as there is no Eboue in the squad and Luke Ayling is a backup. Ayling can play at right back or centre back, but I think Bartley will chosen along side the captain of the night Silvestre.
Coquelin – Eastmond
I think we see Coquelin and Eastond deployed in the centre of the park, but defensive minded but with a bit of creatively. Coquelin has an amazing Engine and Eastmond has a good effective simple game that will compliment the Frenchman
Wilshere – Ramsey – Merida
And further up field, I’d expect to see the trio of Ramsey, Wilshere and Merida get a run out. In addition, I’d like to see Walcott get a run out as a striker – after all, I Arsene has been talking about it for ages. The only change that I see Arsene making to this XI is maybe putting in Vela rather than Coquelin and shifting Wilshere central and Ramsey deeper with Theo on the right.
I doubt Arsene will play Song and if he doesn’t then our bench won’t be too weak. In a perfect world, he’d give Ayling and Bartley both centre back positions, but I think he’ll opt for Silvestre with his experience to help the team.
Okay, let’s listen to Arsene:
“I want to respect the competition and I know that Olympiacos plays for a point to qualify,” he said. “But the most important is that we do well, we have a fair game and a good chance to win. Sometimes a team like this will be more focused than a team who is already qualified but has regular players. You will see Silvestre, Song, Ramsey, Gilbert and Vela. These are all players who have played at the top level. We want to have a good game, and what is the most important is the quality of our play. We could draw, for example, with a normal team and that would not be a bad result. We are committed, and will fight to win the game. Afterwards, if Standard are in that position, it is because they could not win the games before.”
So based on this, maybe it will be Song & Silvestre at the back as well as Vela up front, one thing we know for certain is that Tom Cruise will start at left back!
“For me there is only one Tom Cruise and it is the one who plays for Arsenal Football Club. I don’t care about headlines. Headlines or not Tom Cruise will play at left back. If you are in his boots, at the start of the season you would not think for a second that you will play in the Champions League. It is good for him to get an opportunity in these games. I would not like him to be under too much pressure. But I believe he is a very good footballer.”
Whoever plays, it’ll be an interesting game… Join me for Match Day Live a little later!