The big day has arrived…
It’s Arsenal vs Barcelona, at the Emirates… our biggest game of the season and we’re on top of our game, so Arsene says and raring to go for this one. I’ve spoken to a lot of fellow Gooners and there is a genuine excitement and buzz around the place… a different buzz, a confident buzz, a “we’re going to beat Barcelona” buzz… the question is, is the team ready for their biggest test of the season… actually, the biggest test of any Arsene Wenger team perhaps?
Straight onto the team news… straight to Arsene’s recent announcement of the squad:
“Samir Nasri is in the squad. But the starting line-up will be decided tomorrow. He’s recovered quicker than expected. I said it will be 21 days but it will be only 17 days. Everybody’s absolutely adamant that he’s completely medically available. It’s down to me to make the decision. I will take no medical risk but it’s good to have him in the squad. Rosicky is available. He’s in the squad. But there’s no Diaby. He has a calf problem. He did it with the French national squad against Brazil.”
So, what do I think about the Samir Nasri situation? Yes, he is back in the squad, but it’s been quite a while since he’s played. If he is 100% fit, he should play – if he is not 100% fit and there is any chance that he will get injured again, then he shouldn’t. The conundrum is that if Arshavin plays, but is not on top of his game, then he is a weak link – but if Nasri plays and gets injured, then we’re shooting ourselves in the foot…
Would I play him from the start? No, I wouldn’t. He shouldn’t – if a player is injured, and returning, he needs to be eased into the team by small outings and 20 minutes at the end of the game – I can’t see any good in risking the player, considering it’s mid season and we have another leg.
My predicted team is therefore…
Eboue – Djourou – Koscielny – Clichy
Wilshere – Song
Walcott – Cesc – Arshavin
With a bench of Almunia, Gibbs, Squillaci, Denilson, Nasri, Chamakh and Bendtner
This year, I honestly believe that we can do it – I don’t know why!
Maybe because Arsene keeps on saying things like this….
“The only thing I can say is we are in an ideal condition to face them. We cannot complain. We have the belief, the confidence and the players available. We are 90 per cent in February and that was not the case last year. I feel we are in an ideal position to face them. We just want to show how good we are. We want to show the belief we have in our game, in our quality, more than looking at the past. We have practiced. We are determined, focused and we want to win this competition. We know we face the super-favourites of this competition but the only way to do it is to knock them out.
Arsene – he is the eternal optimist!
Let’s see what we’re made of… for those of you fgoing to the game… come down to the Tollington pre-game… I promise I will be there…!