Written by Mean Lean on Wednesday, 03 October 2012 11:08
*THE CHAMPIONS DA DA DA DAAAA!!!*
Or however the music goes on these midweek nights. I reckon I have a better idea of how it goes than many of my N17 pals though. *Snobby chuckle*
It is time to shove the Chelsea defeat into a box marked 'sort later' and shove under the bed. Hopefully the B duo would have been working on the set pieces from Sunday to today or whenever the players last trained, so there is no time like the present to show that we have improved in that area. At least I hope we have.
Olympiacos roll into town with the aim to inflict more pain on us after having been on the end of a beating from German side Schalke in the first group stage game.
I am not so sure that a result like that is a good thing for us as it will almost certainly remove any potential compliancy on their part. We saw how dangerous they were last season when they had to get a result.
I have absolutely no idea how good tonight's opposition are. Absolutely none. I do know that they were the better team when we faced them with a pick and mix team at their place last season. They played an extremely high tempo game that day and did not let us have the time to sneeze on the night.
It will be interesting to see if they play that way tonight given the fact that we are playing at home. The Olympiacos staff would have watched the Chelsea footage and watched how our midfield was given no time to play which disrupted our game, so they may want to play copy cat. In fact I am willing to have a bet on www.partybingo.com that they will take a leaf from Chelsea's book.
It will be up to us to come up with answers to that type of question. We had to revert to crossing the ball more than we would have liked as the center was pretty much sealed and taped off, and without the presence of Oliver Giroud we did not get the best out of that tactic, that said, it was from a cross that Gervinho controlled spun and fired high past Cech.
I expect Oliver Giroud to be drafted back into the starting 11, not quite sure who he will replace as Gervinho could well keep his place but instead of the central role he could be pushed into the wide area. I guess that depends if Arsene wants another midfielder out wide to balance the team. We shall see.
@TheSquidBoyLike made a great point via Twitter that Lukas Podolski seems to thrive more on the pitch when he has Giroud as the foil. Giroud has played a large part in two of Podolski's goal thus far. One pull away to create the space against Liverpool and secondly a direct assist against Montpellier.
I am not quite sure that we will get the best out of Giroud or Gervinho by not letting either have a run in the position. It looks as if Arsene isn't quite sure what his best combination of attackers are at present. Maybe he is waiting for one of them to really step up and produce performances good enough that it is impossible to drop them.
Our midfield looked pretty damn secure early on but even at this early stage, we have been chopped away at. Mikel Arteta looks like joining Abou Diaby on the treatment table. I am not quite sure that we can suffer many more injuries in this area until we regain some legs from injury.
I would imagine that Francis Coquelin will replace Mikel Arteta in the middle so the question is, who will replace Diaby. I guess the choices are between Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain so it depends on the type of player Arsene wants in the side. I suspect that Arsene will go with experience, which is quite a weird thing to say when you think about how young Aaron Ramsey actually is.
The inclusion of Serge Gnabry in the squad is very interesting, as I said in yesterday's blog it will be interesting to see if Theo Walcott gets on the pitch ahead of the youngster. I guess it depends on the situation.
If we are in desperate need of a goal then you would imagine that Theo would be called upon if we find ourselves in a comfortable position then we may well see Gnabry make his Champions league debut.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
Theo Walcott is going to leave Arsenal, if he was going to stay then he would have signed a new deal already. Theo Walcott already knows which club he wants to go to and how much they are willing to pay him. That is what his agent is there for. The idea that Walcott will run his contract down and just hope that something good turns up is laughable.
Anyway, I do not wish to comment too much about players who have no interest in our club for the longer term but good luck tonight to the Arsenal players who are fully committed to the cause.
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