When we had 12 or 13 games remaining and there were talks of us winning all the games, I’d thought of this fixture as our toughest. Now that the challenge for top spot has fizzled out and we’ve lost more than half our first team to injuries it looks even more daunting.
I guess my weekend travel comes at a good time. I’ll be missing this game and somehow that comes as a relief. As a consequence of the travel the match analysis and other posts will be delayed till I’m back and can catch the game on ATVO.
This section is getting irrelevant. I can write whatever tactics I think of but Arsenal hardly change their tack. We will line up with the same formation and play pretty much the same game.
The only tactical change I can see in our approach would be that our full backs might stay deeper in this game to counter the threat of Bellamy, Johnson and co. We just have to hope that our defence can handle their forward line and counter attacks.
Citeh for their part will fight for every ball as they have a lot to gain. Arsenal can at best hold on to third spot and hopefully that should be motivation enough for our players.
The other change could be in personnel. Van Persie might get a start although I’m not sure he’s fit enough to play in a game of such intensity. Song could come back into the starting line up and that will automatically make us twice as strong as the team we sent out at Wigan.
Diaby and Nasri will keep their place and so will the back four. Is it possible that we see Mannone between the sticks? If Fabianski can get chance after chance why not Don Vito!?
Up front Arsene will have some tough choices. If RvP starts, then Bendtner has to move to a wing. He could play Eboue on the right and Bendtner on the left. Or he could have the young Dane on the right and Rosicky might keep his place on the left. That makes more sense as we’ll need at least one technical player along with Nasri to control some of the possession.
The team I’d like to see is,
Mannone; Sagna, Campbell, Silvestre, Clichy; Song, Diaby, Nasri; Bendtner, RvP, Rosicky.
This game would have been a challenge for our full first team. City have done the double over Chelsea and have troubled United in both the games. If our reserve team can get a draw it’ll be an achievement.