On the back of successive defeats, a difficult Carling Cup tie is upon us. I see this game as a direct battle between two philosophies. Citeh will send out a team largely composed of expensive signings. Wenger will play his “boys”.
The half way line will divide players who have caught the eye with their talent and stars that have caught the eye with their transfer fees. One side is about potential that may some day evolve into greatness. The other is about perceived greatness that is yet to deliver results. Neither approach is a proven formula and both difficult to implement. One needs unending hard work and a precocious football brain, the other a benefactor rolling in dough.
It must be a difficult game for Le Boss. Another loss could severely affect the team morale and supporter confidence. Playing the first team would mean risking more players before a league game and breaking his own principles.
In some ways though, he has already changed his approach. Against Liverpool, the side that was sent out had more senior players than previous years. I think the defeat against Spuds a couple of years ago has made Arsene understand that a young team might suffer if the opposition plays their first team. Our last two visits to the City of Manchester Stadium don’t inspire much confidence either. This calls for the inclusion of some experienced players. On the other hand, Arsene also needs to make sure that we don’t pick up another injury to an important player. An unenviable task indeed!
Arsene’s pre-match interview is not yet available on ATVO, but he has said that we will see the likes of Wilshere and Eastmond. I am really keen to see how young Jack performs on the big stage. Amongst all the exciting young players at the club, Wilshere, to me, is most likely to be a Ballon d’Or winner some day. It will also be interesting to see the position Arsene gives to him. My guess would be a right sided attacking player.
The dreaded S&S central defence is likely to be restored giving numbers 5 and 10 a well deserved breather. Cruise might come in at left back as it doesn’t make sense to risk Traore. Gilbert might be the right back, although the name of Bartley has also been mentioned.
The midfield might see the likes of Eastmond, Coquelin, Merida, Frimpong and Randall compete for places alongside Ramsey. I would like to see Eastmond and Ramsey get a holding role and Merida given some Cesc like freedom.
The forward line might see the two southpaws (If I can borrow a term from cricket/tennis! What are left footed footballers called anyway?), Wilshere and Vela, joined by Jay Emmanuel Thomas. The other options are Sanchez Watt and Giles Sunu.
The starting line up could look like
Fabianski; Gilbert, Senderos, Silvestre, Cruise; Ramsey, Eastmond, Merida; Wilshere, Vela, JET.
This team does look a little light when compared to the quality and more importantly experience of the opposition. But what is Arsene if not a man who sticks to his (young)guns!
Update: Well, Wenger has put Song, Traore, Rosicky and Eboue in the squad. You can see the whole squad here. I think he wants more experience after all. A good choice in my opinion, Eboue and Rosicky can certainly use the game. Song might support Ramsey and Merida in the middle or come in later. I don’t see Senderos in the team, does this mean the end to his Arsenal career? I hope Song isn’t Center Back. Young Bartley to take on Greedybayor! Should be fun.