Today sees the second of our Big Three games in December. The first, of course, was the game against Partizan, where we secured second place in the Champions League group stage and will therefore play one of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Schalke or Bayern Munich. None of those teams will be easy to play against, but if you want to win the cup then you will have to play a hard team at some point, so it may as well be in the first round of the knock-out stage.
On to today’s game and it is a massive one against ManUre at Old Trafford. Team news so far seems to indicate that Cesc will just be fit enough for the bench. It’s a strange situation in one sense, as the club say that they will not rush him back but the fact that they are waiting so late to decide on whether or not he will be in the team seems to indicate that there could be a degree of risk should he be named in the match day squad. I really hope that Wenger resists the urge to risk Fabregas as it is more important that he regains full fitness and is ready for our Christmas schedule game against Chavski.
Who the manager opts to start with will be key to our chances of winning the game. In defence we will probably line up with Szczesny, Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny and Clichy. I’m sure Djourou will be hoping to force his way into the starting line-up ahead of Koscielny who has been suffering from concussion. According to reports circulating, Fabianski has picked up an injury and our younger Pole is set to get the nod in goal. I’m sure that Szczesny would also love to start ahead of Fabianski, especially in a game of such importance, it would be a great chance for him to shine and show what he can do.
In midfield, we will probably go with Song, Denilson, Wilshere, Nasri and Arshavin. Up front should see Chamakh get the nod. Fabregas, Walcott and Van Persie are likely to be used as impact subs.
I think it will be important for Song/Denilson to show some defensive discipline in the centre of midfield in order to protect our defence when not in possession. It will also be important to have a go at them as they are also susceptible to conceding a goal and the presence of Chamakh could make a big difference for us against them this season.
The form of Nasri couldn’t have been better timed as he is the main person that has been driving the team forward in Cesc’s absence, along with the end product of Arshavin and the presence/goals of Chamakh.
The comments by Evra should be reason enough for the team to go out on to the pitch and shove his words back down his throat. Though, if the team need extra incentive to be up for this game, then there is something wrong! Games against ManUre and Chavski are what it is all about as these are the two teams that have be challenging for the league for the past few seasons. It’s time for us to show that the team has grown and the best way to do that is by getting a win at Old Trafford.
Thankfully, I am off work tomorrow. So, I will be able to wake up at 04:55 (JST) and watch the game without worrying about having to go to work. The game is live on J-Sports Plus and coverage will begin at 04:44 for a special pre-match preview, which I am assuming will be in Japanese, so I think I will skip that and roll out of bed in time for the start of coverage of the game itself. The game will kick off at 05:00 JST.
Of course, a trip to Old Trafford wouldn’t be complete without mention of the disgusting chants that their supporters aim at our manager. They really are revolting and are something which should be eradicated from the game. Banter is one thing, these chants are another thing entirely. For a great write-up on it, check out Gunnerblog. Be sure to check through the comments on the article, too, for some absolutely moronic comments from a ManUre fan.
I’m not sure if you managed to see Football Focus on Saturday, but there was a Samir Nasri interview on it and I must admit that I was really surprised by just how good his English was. Of course, it shouldn’t be all that surprising as he has been living in England for a few years now, but I suppose it’s just because he doesn’t give many interviews so I hadn’t heard him talking all that often.
Right, that’s all I have time for today. Here’s to a big performance and an important three points against ManUre!!
Come on you Reds!!!!