By Avenell Dave
It’s funny how, based on our previous experiences in Milan, Addicts seem to be rather relaxed about our trip to the San Siro this evening.
I think a lot of us expected us to draw Milan when the names were called out and the fact that they’re Italian champions doesn’t make our job any easier.
On the plus side they play football and yet have a pitch which is up there with Sunderland as a disgrace, particularly at Champions League level.
Looking at their team, they have half a dozen players who are the wrong side of 30, many of whom are 34 or older and we have the youth and pace to rip them apart, if we play to our strengths.
But then again, they have Pato returning, at least on the bench, and in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho, two players who we know can - and have - hurt us in the past.
With Per Mertesacker injured, the challenge is going to be deciding who plays in defence – and it’s a tricky one for Arsene Wenger. Should he play Thomas Vermaelen on the left and play Johann Djourou in his favoured position in the middle, or bring back Kieran Gibbs?
My feeling is that this is too early and, with the pitch in such a terrible condition, too big a risk for Gibbs to be involved, especially with his injury history.
It is something of a risk, but if Robinho plays on the left, Bacary Sagna has to stay there, so Francis Coquelin could slot in on the left and do a job.
The rest of the team chooses itself with Tomas Rosicky likely to be chosen ahead of Aaron Ramsey in the middle.
Of course, much has been made of this being Thierry Henry’s swansong in his second spell at the club and given his impact so far, who would argue against him scoring again?
More worryingly, we need to find other outlets for when he and RvP don’t score – and score we must this evening given our poor defensive record home and away this season.
Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Coquelin
Song Rosicky Arteta
Walcott RvP Ox