Well, don’t speak too soon… but it’s a stunning day outside, which has me more excited than I was to hear Crystal Palace were in for Chamakh. When the sun is out, you feel the Arsenal team come out. Well, that’s my theory at least.
Sun = Arsenal playing well
Pretty heroic theorising considering how late my night was…
So what’s the vibe today? Well, I think we’re going to win. I think the game will be open and exciting, and I’m positive we can nab a result.
I said to much derision yesterday that Chelsea losing to Manchester City was probably a result Mourinho will have secretly fist pumped to. No one wants to lose ground to a rival, but at the same time, if you look at the fixture list coming up, no one wants a quarter final wedged in between a Champions League game meaning a midweek game popping up somewhere. It’s an aggravation.
I didn’t watch the whole Chelsea game, but it was telling that Jose took off Ramires, one of his most important players, on 61 minutes, he also pulled Eto’o early, another who has legs that need saving. Fans think the FA Cup is important, sadly, managers don’t… regardless of what they say. Fans know it though… only 16,000 showed up for the Sunderland game yesterday. It’s too much expense for a Cup you don’t get 100% from clubs in. Not just that, but the FA don’t help themselves… why aren’t Arsenal being given a helping hand with this fixture. Bayern played yesterday. This game should have been on a Friday. Instead, by bowing down to TV companies, they’ll end up with a worse product because the club will be forced into making a choice between two trophies… this one being the less lucrative.
Anyway, big difference today is that Arsenal need a trophy, so I’m sure Arsene will charge the team he sends out with urgency vibes. He’ll have to make changes from the United game because certain players are dead. In should come Nik B, Podolski, Vermaelen, Gnabry and Flamini. That’s enough to inject some energy into our performances and it’s enough to show Liverpool a different hand. If Rodgers doesn’t rest players, we’ll have a different game plan from the one we saw last weekend. I think we’ll take them apart today… Liverpool are inconsistent, I’m hoping we see the bad side of that today… the fans will be up for it, but if we lose, I fear the reactions… because Bayern is going to be incredibly tough on Wednedsay.
There’s a great article from Rapha Honigstein about Bayern Munich here. The jist of it is we’re playing a Bayern who don’t lose games. We’re playing a team so dominant, the Dortmund CEO is complaining about Scottish like conditions in the German league… we’re in for a tough ride. The article is slightly depressing. Guardiola isn’t just a good manager, he’s a genius in footballing terms. That layered with his outrageous work ethic and intensity has turned Bayern into an even more imposing beast this year. Lahm (interestingly, a right back they’ve turned into a holding midfielder) had this to say on his manager…
“He’s fan, expert and coach all rolled into one. He studies every opponent minutely, and he shows us solutions: where are the spaces, where are the opportunities, how should we play.”
Guardiola’s big idea at Bayern is to have no big idea, just lots of little ones. He’ll make changes all the time, he’s constantly tinkering with his side. Now, you need a certain level of player to be able to operate like that, but this is the difference at this level. Arsenal have great players, Wenger could operate like Pep does, but he chooses not to. So when you come up against a manager who has technically brilliant players, motivated mentally and armed with the tools to destroy you, well, you’re on a back foot if you don’t have a plan. That’s not to say we can’t beat them, it’s just saying it’s a massive ask because they’ll set out to exploit our weaknesses and absorb out strengths… we’ll set up to play football and express ourselves… which for me, with the current squad, is not a great plan.
They rested key players yesterday… it’d be foolish to think we won’t do the same today. Let’s hope the players that come in can provide the home support with something a bit different to what they’ve been watching of late.
Liverpool and sunshine… have a good one!