Fabregas has been declared fit to face his nations second team left in the Champions League, Villareal, while Reyes is suspended so he wont be available for selection. Interesting debate has been going on with supporters across the internet forums and in conversations with friends about what formation Arsenal should go for against the Spaniards. Henry has said we have to “go at them” like the premiership, but does this mean reverting to the formation that Wenger likes to keep in the league? My personal opinion is that there is no indication that Wenger would even think to do that, eight clean sheets from a back five that was patched together with about £2 million? Lehmann’s came on a free, Toure for about £250,000…Flamini and Eboue having been poached for minute amounts, and Senderos the same. Even BIG SOL came on a free from across the North London divide of Tottenham… ***SPIT ON THE FLOOR***….
Against Madrid we saw Arsene’s men line up like this:
Eboue Toure Senderos Flamini
Hleb Fabregas Gilberto Ljungberg Reyes
It was the same against Juventus but with Pires playing for the injured Ljungberg. This formation is more of a 4-1-4-1 if that isn’t too confusing, with Gilberto protecting the defence, picking up the pieces and breaking up play then feeding nice short balls to Fabregas and the rest. Reyes flew up the left wing and dribbled at ease like Kobe Bryant on numerous occasions, winning lots of free kicks after being hacked a good few times. Hleb twisted and changed direction and accelerated to dominate the right wing against Carlos who was playing more like a left winger than a left back. Freddie was a key player and broke to support Henry to get in dangerous positions like we know he can do. Fabregas controlled the midfield with his vision and passing that overall meant that Madrid were unable to get down and really play.
IN THAT GAME, AND THE SECOND LEG, AND THE 2 LEGS AGAINST JUVE it worked every time! Well actually the second leg against Juve it didn’t work in attack so much but that was because the mentality was to protect the lead. We still created chances that Fabregas and Henry should have finished. However this formation only works because the players that are playing in midfield have to work very hard, moving together as a unit the whole time…up and down like a merry go round…Just like they did, but if even one player isn’t fully fit, or is too tired and lazy, it WONT WORK. It leaves gaps in defence, or leaves Henry stranded if there is no support. Also Mr. Va Va Voom would have to be running and chasing down balls, holding up play etc all match. Again it doesn’t work if the lone striker isn’t doing that. Henry was taken off early against West Brom so he should be fresh and full of legs, but if for some reason Thierry doesn’t turn up on the day, all the hard work of the midfield will be worth nothing.
So to sum that up, 4-5-1 will be the best bet if they are all pumped up for it, which they will be! If they are all fully fit and rearing to go, Arsenal will win the tie, that means over both legs not just tomorrow. Wenger has given nothing away about the team he will choose, my best bet is that he will go along with a side like this:
Eboue Toure Senderos Flamini
Hleb Fabregas Gilberto Ljungberg Pires
It could be with Ljungberg and Pires swapping, or if Wenger really wants to strengthen the spine, he may choose to only play one of those two and stick in Diaby…but I doubt it, not in a game like this, at home. I hope he sticks with this team above, we have been told that Walcott MIGHT get a run out at some time, what a debut that could be! Champions league semi-final at home, not bad for a 17 year old EH…
If Wenger does decide to go for a 4-4-2, it would be Van Persie upfront with Henry but considering Van Persie is still coming back into full flow after his injury, that is quite unlikely. If we are to get a result we will need Gilberto to perform to his best ability to stop his South American “chum” ***SMERK*** Juan Riquelme who is from the “beloved friend” of a nation to Brazil, Argentina. For anybody that isn’t aware….Brazil and Argentina aren’t exactly best friends ….like Liverpool and Everton, Arsenal and Tottenham….Wenger and Mourinho….Ronaldinho and the dentist….
SPEAKING OF WHICH, our noble friend Ronaldinho is apparently not fully fit for tonight’s match against Milan, but obviously he will still play! Barcelona are without Deco and Messi so they need Ronaldinho to be playing without a doubt. Milan are an ageing team that have a superstar of a striker in Shevchenko and a superstar accomplice in Kaka. It will be a tough match, a fascinating affair that many wanted to be the final (OBVIOUSLY NOT ME)…don’t miss the match its on tonight! I had an email asking for a prediction for both matches…I don’t really like predictions but anyway…no harm in guessing! I think it might just be a Barcelona victory or a score draw, but im never really right so don’t quote me on that! If im correct, then you can, but otherwise……Arsenal 2-1 Villarreal??? Leave a comment on what you think the scores will be! Off to get some food before the match, enjoy your night!