So this is it then, the quarter final of the Champions league, the sort of game that the spuds can only dream of.
This time last year we screwed up at the Grove by having all the possession, but no killer instinct, granted the ref helped Liverpool, but we have to expect that, we have to play our own game and go for an early goal, if we do that, they will panic, because we have an away goal and they will come out.
The best way of ensuring qualification is to win both games, it’s not like we are playing Barcelona or Bayern Munich, we are playing one of the two sides that everyone wanted, tonight we should get a win under our belts and make the return game less fraught.
It seems that we will be starting with Theo out on the right wing and Nasri on the left, that should leave Denilson in the middle with Cesc and my feeling is he will play with 5 in midfield, so that means Song or Diaby, if fit I expect Diaby as he offers a more physical presence, and he knows where the goal is.
The back four pick themselves so that means Sagna, Kolo, Gallas and Clichy with Almunia in goal and Ade alone up front.
So more or less the same team that beat Man City, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. We have to keep it tight at the back which means the midfield must keep possession, do that and let nature take it’s course.
If we keep the ball it stops them scoring, if they don’t score, they won’t win, if we keep possession we can score, we can surprise them by frustrating them, then one killer pass from Cesc and bang, it’s all over.
It reminds me of one General James Wolf and when king George sent him to Canada to kick the French out in 1759, they had an impressive fortress called Quebec, we parked our Navy in the Saint Lawrence river and as they had home advantage they just sat back waiting for us to make the mistake of attacking them.
Wolf took his cannons and his entire army and scaled the impossible heights of Abraham at night and when the French under General Montcalm woke up, the entire British army was behind them, two hours of silly French attacking saw Wolf win the match and Canada was back in the hands of King George, Wolf knew how important away goals were, so he got a bunch of them. He did what they didn’t expect.
For Montcalm read Robert Pires and for General Wolf it’s the dashing Cesc Fabregas, Wenger is King George and Canada the Champions league.
Unfortunately Wolf lost his life in that battle, but his last words were ‘thank God I have done my duty’ this was repeated 46 years later by Horatio Nelson, Nelson so loved the picture of Wolf’s final moments, he commissioned the same artist to paint his own demise, really, that’s all true, he even used Wolf’s famous words.
So the moral of this story is we need to surprise them, do what they don’t expect and attack, attack, attack, attack, attack, do that and the day is ours, and then we can start to think about playing Porto in the semis, so Cesc, go and do your duty and we’ll thank God.
Have a great night tonight Grovers, this will be our day, I can feel it, the Arsenal will go to Spain all guns blazing.