So Manchester City wanted to prove that they too could take down the mighty Bayern in their own back yard. Bravo I say. Germany not looking quite as strong this year is it? As Simon Kuper said on our failed podcast, two teams from the same country in the final of the Champions League does not signal a power shift in world football.
Anyway, slightly scary that we’ll be playing them in fine form with a days extra rest. Not to mention that they rested a whole heap of their key players. Oh well, you gots to beat them all, right?
We head to Naples this evening with the remit of not losing by 3 goals. Now, I don’t like that. City didn’t go to Bayern hoping not to lose by a set amount. They, in fact, believed incorrectly they has to chase 5 goals. We should be heading to the Italian capital of Mafia fun times with the intention of smashing Napoli.
The great news from where I’m sitting is that they have to go for the jugular from the off. Our game this season has been geared around soaking up pressure and snapping back on the counter attack (well, away from home at least). We have a defence capable of standing up to pressure and we have a team goal confident. I’d imagine we’ll start Theo to put the fear of life in them… and to make sure they think twice about bombarding our back line.
If Jenkinson starts, expect them to pressure down his side. He is the weak link in the back four, but hopefully he can take inspiration from his form last season when Sagna was out. He’s more than capable of having a blinding, well disciplined game. On the left, I have to say, I might be tempted to go with Monreal. He’s the more stable of the two left backs when it comes to rigid defensive discipline. So if locking down the game is the plan, we should play him. It also frees Gibbs to play a fresh game against City.
Up top, we need Giroud to play like a demon. He needs to hold the ball up, bring the midfield into the game and cause a nuisance. He also needs to get his shooting boots on. Arsenal fans have slumped into this Alex Song type forgiveness… like Giroud is the special kid at school because he works hard. He’s paid to score goals. The other bits that he does are important as well, but fundamentally, if he wants to avoid us buying a mega striker this summer, he has to start taking more chances. There’s not reason he can’t start banging them in… he did for Montpellier.
3 points would be lovely this evening. Winning the group is imperative if we want to progress beyond the next game. Madrid, PSG, Bayern, Athletico and Barca await if we fail to make the grade. We need to finish this group with a flourish and show the world we mean business.
Trouble is… losing to City, will ultimately harm us more than losing 1-0 to Napoli with a rested team. It’s going to be interesting to see how much Arsene trusts his squad tonight. Well, actually, it’ll be hard to know what he’s thinking… if he goes for a full team… he might really want top spot and he might think that dropping points away at City is no shame.
It’s a tough call… I’m excited to see what he does. Good luck to all the fans out in Italy, stay safe, and if someone asks you the time on a scooter… run off, they’re going to stab you in the arse (my uncle used to tell me that about Italian away days).
HAVE A SUPER DAY THAT IS MADE EVEN MORE SUPER BECAUSE WE WON THE FOOTBALL X X X