Early preview for the game tomorrow, with the news just out that RvP is not available.
Not sure how big a blow that is, as I would imagine Wenger was going to line up with the 4-2-3-1 he used on Saturday. With Nasri coming in for Arshavin in a straight swap, I'd expect to see us line up the same formation. This can nominally change to a 4-5-1 when defending, but the onus is on the wide players to step up and hug the touchline as soon as we are in possession.
Nikki B can come off the bench and carry his increased threat through better movement off the ball (I'm not dropping it Anonymous) and we can also use Vela and Eboue in wide positions, should Nasri or Theo tire.
Obviously you want RvP/Eduardo fit for these games, but that is why we have the players we have. It will be a big game for Song & Denilson to carry on their recent improvements - Senna is top of the game in terms of midfield holdings players and it will be a great chance to prove themselves. Pires has been playing the “libero” role in la liga, and I would expect us to have too much pace for him when we’re in possession. However, when we are not on the ball we know what Bobby can do, and he still does it well.
Not sure of the impact of losing Santi Cazorla to them – he looked a great player at the Euros, and I am sure his attacking play is integral to allowing Senna to sit deep and own the middle of the park. Rossi is an improving player and is dangerous if given time on the edge of the box.
My gut feeling is that we will be able to nullify their goal threat, and with some patience in possession we should be able to create some openings. I can see Cesc popping up with one, and if Cygan is playing maybe a goal from a set piece as well.
So I’m going 2-0 to the Gooners, but I won’t be putting any money on it as I am frighteningly tight, and the thought of losing a £5 brings me out in a cold sweat. Similar to Le Boss at the thought of the summer silly season I’d imagine.