Sanchez: Will he break? | Arsenal Champions League prospects for last 16

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via @t0wey (instagram)

via @t0wey (instagram)

So much news to blast through this morning, what a treat. I was having some good chat in the comments section yesterday and one of the regulars was pointing out that maybe we should be resting Sanchez for the United game.

‘What’I said,

…I said, quizzically?

Not so crazy a thought when you look at the man’s schedule over the next few months.

Spurs -Nov 6th (Prem)
Columbia-Nov 10th
Uruguay-Nov 15th
Man U-Nov 19th (Prem)
PSG-Nov 23rd (UCL)
Bournemouth-Nov 27th (Prem)
Soton-Nov 30th (EFL Cup)

That is a beyond meaty November that contains 7 additional games, plus the one he’s just played away at Ludogorets. Are we really going to put him through all those matches? If we do, will there be ramifications for December, which also contains a hideous run?

He’ll need to be chained to the bench at some point, or given holiday time. I have my doubts he will be, but we’ll see. The man is not a machine, despite what Wenger thinks. Those two games in South America are a total joke. The whole FIFA system is a joke in my opinion. It’s not fit for the modern game and it’s certainly not built with players or paymasters in mind.

Talking of FIFA, how about them jumping in and getting involved in the poppy stuff for the international game against Scotland on the 11th? I mean, is it really any of their business? Theresa May gave them what for…

“Before they start telling us what to do, they jolly well ought to sort their own house out.”

So British. Like listening to your mum bemoaning the next door neighbor because they complained the cat keeps sh*tting on their lawn.

Banter in the CL last night as Madrid lost to Legia Warsaw. Some are now saying that it’s better we finish 2nd in the group, because let’s be honest, if we top it, you know we’re getting a hard team. Anyway, read this:

<BacaryisGod: From the Comments>

For those saying that we might be better off finishing 2nd in our UCL group, you’re crazy. Here’s why.

Group B: It’s going to be between Napoli, Besiktas or Benfica. No major advantage for us either way. We would want one of these three teams in the last 16 against most other alternatives.

Group C. If we win, we won’t have to play Man City. If we are runners-up, then we might have to play Barcelona.

Group D. Either Bayern or Atletico will be tough but I would take Atletico all day over Bayern. I still think Bayern will end of winning this group so for us it would be better to win ours and avoid them.

Group E. It’s a 3 way fight between Tottenham, Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen. I want Tottenham to finish 3rd and will happily take Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen in the round of 16. If Tottenham win the group, we wouldn’t be able to play them even if we were runners-up and it would make Barca, Real or Bayern more likely.

Group F. Again, it’s likely that Real win the group with the final game at home. If this is the case, then I would much rather win our group and face Dortmund than Real Madrid.

Group G. Leicester have basically won the group. Copenhagen or Porto are dream opponents for us here if we win our group. We can’t play Leicester in Round of 16 which again makes Barca, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid more likely.

Group H. Either Juve or Sevilla will be a tricky opponent so this one’s a wash. Makes no difference if we win or finish 2nd in our group here.

To summarize, if we win our group the likely opponents will be between the following:

Napoli/Besiktas/Benfica (B)
No Opponent-can’t play Man City (C)
Atletico (D)
Monaco/Leverkusen (E) (or maybe no-one if Spurs come 2nd)
Dortmund (F)
Copenhagen/Porto (G)
Juventus/Sevilla (H)

That gives us between a 50% (3 games out of 6) or a 60% (3 games out of 5) chance of a tough fixture but they are all winnable.

If we are runners-up:

Napoli/Besiktas/Benfica (B)
Barcelona (C)
Bayern Munich (D)
Monaco/Leverkusen (E) (or maybe no-one if Spurs come 2nd)
Real Madrid (F)
No Opponent (G) (Leicester ruled out)
Juventus/Sevilla (H)

This gives us between 67% (4 games out of 6) and 80% (4 games out of 5) or facing a tough opponent. Based on the last few years and the accompanying psychological scars there’s no chance we beat Bayern Munich or Barca and little chance we can overcome Real Madrid.

That’s why it’s critical we win our group!


So there you have it. Wenger agrees as well…

“Our prime target is to win the group but let’s just try and focus on the next match and continue this strong run. We have to keep a good balance between vigilance and confidence. That’s what we will do. Our destiny lies in the mind of the players: how strongly they are focused, how hungry they are in every single game, starting here.”

We need to win that damn group.

Other news floating around the ether… Wenger doesn’t see Giroud as anything other than first team because, laughably, Wenger says he doesn’t believe in Plan Bs. He just looks at the next game.

“There is no plan B in any squad, I never thought about my players like that,”  “The team who is the most effective for the next game, that’s what you pick and I consider everyone as a regular player. That is basically what a manager thinks, what is [best] for the next game.

“The team who is the most effective for the next game, that’s what you pick and I consider everyone as a regular player. That is basically what a manager thinks, what is [best] for the next game.

“If he is involved in the next game in your mind, he plays. If not then he doesn’t start. He has shown he is a huge asset for the club and I have always supported him.”

I love those comments, because really, they do highlight a major blind spot of Wenger’s and that’s strategic thinking. He looks at the best assets he has available and he uses them like you would in a computer game, one match at a time, rather than as a block. So quite often we have a strong start, then bomb in November / December, lose a load of players to injury, then they come back fresh for February, which is when our form picks up again and we smash the final run in because we’re fresh again.

It’d be great if player rests weren’t accidents, but planned. Also, fair shout on Giroud not being a plan B, but let’s be real here, he’s a plan. For certain teams, he makes sense, for plenty he doesn’t so much. I really hope we don’t find ourselves in a situation where we have to sacrifice all the goodness Sanchez has brought to the team just to accommodate Giroud, a striker who does a job sometimes, but is far from elite. We need pace, mobility and edge in our attack… the Frenchman is limiting. He also cost us the league last year with his 17 game drought.


153 Responses to “Sanchez: Will he break? | Arsenal Champions League prospects for last 16”

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  1. Leedsgunner

    Mesut’s been rested by Germany in the games versus San Marino and Italy. He should be super fresh when we face PSG and Man United. Let’s hope he comes out of the NLD unscathed to take maximum advantage of it!

    Thank you Germany!

  2. Red&White4life

    Thank you Low, mostly!!
    Talking about Sam, the fact that he was sooooooooooo optimistic is probably the reason why he’s been binned.
    We must avoid any risk of curse lol

  3. Leedsgunner

    Hapless Spuds completely lost over themselves with happiness that Harry Kane is in the squad tomorrow.

    Decent player but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If Mustafi and Koscelny could handle Costa they can handle Kane… 🙂