By Avenell Dave
I wonder if Arsene Wenger has had any sleep since Wednesday night.
Having thrown the FA Cup and seen his title aspirations hampered by abject failures against M*nure and the Ch*vs, the Champions League was our best chance of silverware this season.
On a realistic level, we haven’t got a chance of winning it with the squad playing as they are at the moment, but you have to remember how poor the Liverpool side were who ended up winning it five years ago.
They only finished fifth that season as I recall and had one Djimi Traore in their team, one of the worst defenders you’ll ever see.
The fact is, we have no match-winners in our side apart from Cesc Fabregas and Andrey Arshavin, who was missing on Wednesday.
I’m all for football being physical but why the referee didn’t take stronger action against some of the Porto players for their less than sporting tackles on Cesc is beyond me and speaks volumes for the ineptitude of the official.
Can you imagine Patrick Vieira in his pomp allowing anyone to rough up one of his team like that?
I don’t even think the presence of Alex Song would have provided any protection and a bit more of the Samir Nasri attitude, giving it back as hard as we got it, wouldn’t have gone amiss.
It was so sadly predictable that Denilson would be preferred to Aaron Ramsey despite offering nothing to the side and showing that he is simply not good enough. He has had long enough to prove he is worth it and should be shipped off to Roma or someone similar for a few million.
Ramsey, who may find himself taking Cesc’s place next season if the Spaniard’s body language and stark admissions on Wednesday are anything to go by, may not be the finished article yet but he needs games and with Abou Diaby out tomorrow, he has to play.
Manuel Almunia will be rushed back, giving Lukasz Fabianski an escape route out of the spotlight, but if he fails to recover from a hand injury, Wenger really has no choice but to persevere with the Pole or he may as well write off his entire Arsenal career.
I spoke to a mate of mine who watches Brentford and said that Wojciech Szczesny is the best goalkeeper they have ever had, winning games almost single-handedly and proving to be a lot more assured and composed than Fabianski has looked. Let’s hope he continues to improve and shows he’s worth a run in goal.
The full backs are also both looking poor and Pat Rice must say something to Gael Clichy about his role being to cut out opposition crosses, not welcome them.
With Song returning, the midfield trio picks itself in my opinion and in attack, I’d rest Nasri, who has not impressed in the final third for a while now, and bring in Theo Walcott to see if he is over his recent slump.
Sunderland are without Lee Cattermole who seems to have been the difference between their fine form and their slump but we have to keep an eye on Darren Bent as well, who we know can do damage, especially against Sol Campbell who doesn’t quite have the legs to keep up with a sprinter.
We should win tomorrow, but with this team, you never can tell.
M*nure face an improving Everton and the Ch*vs will easily win at Wolves, so anything less than three points and it’s goodbye title dreams. For good.
We need to get back to scoring goals for fun and we’re well capable of it so keep believing, Addicts. You just never know….
Sagna Campbell Vermaelen Clichy
Song Fabregas Ramsey (sadly Denilson will play)
Walcott Bendtner Rosicky