As far as forgone conclusions go, tonight’s match is one of the more obvious. If Arsenal fail to progress, into the last 16, then it’s fair to say we’ll have seen comfortably the worst result of Arsene Wenger’s time as an Arsenal manager. Or anyone else’s for that matter. We’ve a commanding lead that means our visitors will need to beat us tonight by 4 clear goals to progress. And that, dear friends, is highly unlikely.
Arsenal aren’t a team ordinarily associated with being tough to break down and said defensively, but even with our Keystone Cops approach to preventing goals, it shouldn’t be an issue at all tonight given the strength of the opposition. No offence at all intend towards our Swedish visitors, but they’re not of Premiership standard.
The team news is pretty much as expected. I’d say it’s a safe bet that anyone carrying a slight knock or anyone likely to play against Man City at the weekend won’t be risked or feature at all tonight. With the tie essentially already won, mere formalities stand in our way….
You know what.. typing things like that make me fear tempting fate. It’s always dangerous to assume too much and expect a result because it’s what should – and most probably will – happen. We still have to approach the game professional and as if the tie depends on securing a good result at home. And it’s worth looking back at some of the decent result Ostersunds obtained in qualifying for the knockout stages.
Back to the team news…
Looking at the what the starting line-up could be, I’d suggest the only two starters are Mkhitaryan and Ospina. Ozil won’t be risked as he’s been in bed the previous two days with sickness, bless him. Mesut seems to get frequent sickness issues. Maybe he needs to get a sponsorship with Lemsip. Or immune system boosting multi-vitamins. Or snuggly bed sheets and teddy bears. Or cake.
“Mesut Ozil loves cake. You will too. Buy cake. It’s great!”
Ramsey is back in training, but will be rested for Sunday. Lacazette remains injured, but his recovery is said to be ahead of schedule and he could be back in 4 weeks. The rest of the team will be made up of those on the periphery. Callum Chambers, Rob Holding, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and others will start in a team that looks a little like this:
There is an area for surprise selection. Arsene has stated that Welbeck will feature from the kick-off, but he could be shifted over to the left side to allow for Eddie Nketiah to make his first competitive start for Arsenal. But I would suggest that any appearance from the youngster is more likely from the bench. Konstantinos Mavropanos could also feature for his debut at some point.
Arsene said of the game and Ostersunds:
“If you look at the results of Ostersunds in the Europa League, it’s quite impressive, home and away. That game for us demands respect. It would be absolutely stupid for us to think we go out there and have a stroll… we could have a bad surprise”
Wise words indeed. It shouldn’t require to much to progress tonight, but it pays to be wary of our opponents and show then respect. I’ll go for a comfortable 3-0 victory.
That’s all for today, folks. I’ll pop back to review the game tomorrow.
Until then, and as always: thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.
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