Tonight is a great fixture to build on the momentum we've gained in the last few weeks. As long as the commitment remains and the eagerness to win the ball back quickly is present then I see nothing other than an Arsenal victory.
You may think that is complacent or arrogant and you may well be correct but that is the reality. Not only that but these words won't change a jot as long as the players are going into tonight fully focused on the task at hand.
Quick post today as real life has really knocked on the door over the last few days so time is not on my side today.
With Jack Wilshere missing with the lurgies it means that Arsène may not be forced to make a system decision. The 4-4-1-1 that has worked so well over the last few weeks can remain. With Aaron Ramsey hopefully over his sickness I wonder if he will come back into the side to give us a little more quality in the middle.
If we are to keep the same system, which I suspect we will and Ramsey replaces Flamini then Aaron Ramsey will have to apply the handbrakes to his game. Arsène basically told Ramsey to stop being obsessed with scoring goals and focus on the rest of his game. I'd have to agree with that.
This season I've noticed that Ramsey is shooting when he has team mates placed in better positions often killing a move. Going back to the end of the 2012 season Rambo was pivotal to our defensive platform with his wonderful partnership with Arteta. I'd like him to focus on that side of his game because I think we've forgotten just how wonderful he is at winning the ball from the opposition due to his incredible energy.
His goals will return because he has a knack of ghosting into the right positions but he can't try and do that continuously in this new system otherwise we'll be left horribly exposed, if not against tonight's opponents then in the coming weeks against stronger attacks.
If we are to play the same way, allowing our full backs higher up the pitch then I'd be up for Lukas Podolski starting because you'd think he'd have a decent amount of time inside the opponents penalty area. Santi Cazorla could do with a mental refresh I reckon as his wayward finishing may have been taking a toll on him.
I fully expect both us and Dortmund to qualify this evening given that both sides are at home against teams that both sides should be beating, even if Klopps side are in the relegation zone at present. Which is quite crazy, especially given just how good they were against us at the start of the season.
Anyway short one today, hopefully back later with the usual. Hopefully.
Mean Lean's Preferred Line Up:
I was supposed to have Mikel Arteta in place of Flamini but instead of changing the graphic I am going to give an argument for including the Frenchman ahead of our captain. A combination of Ramsey and Flamini is not a central pairing that I can remember seeing a great deal. Maybe my memory is getting worse by the day. (it is) In a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1- system I think the Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini could compliment each other pretty well. Flamini's technical deficiencies would not be as exposed with someone like Ramsey to take the ball off him, just as Arteta does. But also Flamini's extra mobility and energy over Arteta means that Ramsey could be granted more license to get forward knowing that he has someone to cover him more than Arteta could if a break took place. The running power of both Flamini and Ramsey could also give the full backs less of a problem when it comes to transitions.
That said, Arteta is the captain and the launcher of our attacks from the back. If he is fit then he's likely to play right?
Put it this way, I couldn't give a monkeys who starts in the middle today, we should be strong enough for the three points anyway.
You lot better prove me right tonight :)