It’s been a crazy 7 days, and we end this busy period with a game against Hull at the Emirates…
Since our last home game, we’ve gone to Olympiakos with a very young side and were unfortunate not to get something from the game. We then went to Liverpool, played a terrible first half and an then a brilliant second half and came back with all three, only to drop 2 at the might Burnley… and after all this, we were drawn with Porto in the Champions League.
So, let’s take a look at the Champions League draw and personally I think Porto was an awesome draw for us. On the preview, I listed the teams I wanted to draw and Porto were number 2 on the list after Stuutgart. It was a very nervy draw as it was down to United and us on one side and AC Milan and Porto on the other side. So the end result saw us get the Portuguese team and United get AC. For us, Porto represent a team who we know quite well, and I think we’re better than them and don’t think they lack too many big name players… the full draw was:
Stuttgart v Barcelona
Olympiakos v Bordeaux
Inter Milan v Chelsea
Bayern Munich v Fiorentina
CSKA Moscow v Sevilla
Lyon v Real Madrid
Porto v Arsenal
AC Milan v Manchester United
And Arsene was a little less optimistic than me…
“It is a 50/50 game. Porto are always in there and always difficult to play against. The little advantage is that we have the second game at home but it’s important that we negotiate well our first game and try to score away from home. It’s a difficult draw. Last season we had a very good game at home and away we lost 2-0. But it’s the Champions League, it’s a cup game now, it’s form of the day and I believe it’s feasible. Difficult but feasible.”
More difficult than Inter Milan, AC Milan, Bayern Munich or Fiorentina, I doubt it! More difficult than a trip to Moscow… I’m sure Arsene is just be diplomatic about it – it was an awesome result! There are two major clashes, and they involve the Milan teams as Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge and David Beckham returns to Old Trafford as Chelsea take on Inter and Man U take on AC Milan. Some mouth watering ties there.
On to today’s game and we’re without Cesc as he’s still injured after the Burnley game – he’s got a hamstring injury and he’ll probably be back on Dec 30th to face Portsmouth. In his absence, I’d like to see Ramsey start in his position. Against Olympiakos, he was awesome. He’s shown so much improvement that it’s time to play him when possible. I don’t want to play him with Cesc as they are so similar, but as Cesc is out, it’s a perfect time to play the trio of Ramsey, Denilson and Song.
Yes, I agree that Diaby is an alternative, and despite the Frenchman being injured most of the season and also being not that great when on the pitch, I’ve noticed he does have a lot more support from Gooners than Denilson – a player who I think has done incredibly well this season. He’s someone I am very comfortable with when he’s on the pitch.
With Arshavin becoming that player we always seem to play and always want to play, we’re kind of becoming quite reliant on the player and I suppose he’s taken on the mantle from Robin as the main attacking influence, and with Cesc injured away, there will be extra onus on him. Based on this, I’d like him to be be deployed on the left and Nasri on the right. Yes, Walcott needs games, but surely after his recent performances, he has to go back to being an impact sub until he improves.
My stance on Eduardo is different – he has already proved that he can play well consistently, so I think he needs games and with Robin out for the season, we’ve got to give him some games, and maybe at the Emirates, he’ll feel more confident – for that reason, I’m choosing the following team:
Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Silvestre
Denilson – Song
Nasri – Ramsey – Arshavin
With a bench of Fabianski, Senderos, Eboue, Diaby, Wilshere, Walcott and Vela.
Now, Hull won’t be easy – we lost to them at home last season – but even saying that, we simply have to beat them! Last year we had the spitgate scandal where Hull made up a whole load of codswallop and then took it to court… well we all know what happened there… Arsene briefly touched on it:
“We treated that problem with calmness and the video proved, in fact, that [accusation] was wrong,” he said. “I have not spoken with Phil Brown since then. But I have no personal problem with him. It was more with his assistant [Horton] that there was a problem against Fabregas. But that has been cleared so, I don’t know why there should be any bad feeling.”
So, that’s that… the game kicks off at 5.30pm today.
And just before I go, who thinks Jack Wilshere to Burnley is a good idea?