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.
I agree that it will be Nasri for Arshavin.
The pace and skill of Nasri and Walcott can support the lone Adebayor. While Bendtner can give us a threat from the bench.
It's a real shame that Arshavin is cup tied as he gives us another dimension.
I think this kind of 4-5-1 with attacking wide men, plus Cesc pushing on from the middle can work.
It doesn't work when you have no support for the striker, so that'll be the key.
Cesc's role against Citeh seemed to be playing "in the hole", so I think he will perform the creative role almost exclusively. With 2 players shielding him, it could be a great position for him.
Apparently there are also some doubts about Theo, but given that Eboue's form is good, I don't have as amny reservations with him coming in as I did previously.
We have also used Bendtner wide, so that may be an option as well, and would give us the chance to switch to a 4-4-2 without the need for any susbsitutions.
Should be a good game, but we have to approach it seriously and show Villareal respect - they are a good side and can be dangerous.
Eboue is decent, but I'd much prefer so see Theo there, just so much more pace to scare them and not as careless in possession as Eboue can be, we really need to be good at retaining the ball tonight to take the sting out the game if we can
Don't want to sound pessimistic, but winning 2-0 away from home at this stage of the Champs League would be a blinding result.
Maybe 1-1 is more likely?
2-0 would be a blinding result, but we know the danger of not taking something back home with you.
We are on form in attack, and look much improved defensively. My view is that we have to approach the game positively, though not recklessly, and dominate the tie from the first minute of the first leg.
We were happy with the draw, and to my mind unless we take full advantage in the first leg, the tie instantly becomes much more difficult. Wenger and the team will know that, and I think it will result in a win for us.
I've just seen the line-ups. As expected (and hoped for) from Arsenal - same as the weekend with Nasri in for Arshavin.
No Pires in the starting XI for Villareal. Puzzling...
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