By Avenell Dave
After a joyous weekend, all eyes turn to the Champions League this evening and let’s hope it’s not our last game for 18 months in the world’s premier club cup competition.
The performance in Milan was abject and the fact that we could not even keep the score down with a strong team suggests that there is still work to do with this squad.
The problem Arsene Wenger has is that his team are running on empty.
We’re down to the bare bones in terms of midfielders and who knows how close the likes of RvP and Thomas Vermaelen are to entering the red zone Wenger always talks about avoiding.
We simply cannot afford to drop any points in the Premier League now and still have some very tough games coming up.
Part of me is inclined to take the pragmatic approach and play a youthful team who will gain a lot of valuable experience without risking injuries to players who will be vital ahead of the run-in.
But while he may not be a huge gambler, Wenger is a competitor and would never throw a game when a tie is seemingly lost.
He talks about the pitch being much better, but in truth, he needs to be able to put out teams capable of winning on quagmires week in, week out. That’s a challenge for him, I know.
But if we get an early goal, then maybe one more before half time, who knows what may happen in the second half?
And remember, we’ve scored 12 goals at home in our last two games.
If Milan score once, it’s all over and in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they have someone capable of scoring at any time.
Forget the fact that Milan will be without Boateng, Seedorf and Pato – they may not be as mighty as they were 20 years ago but Milan are still capable of shutting up shop and making it a difficult evening.
We need to be at our loudest to give the team a chance, and no doubt if we suffer any major injuries, the knives will be out for Wenger once more.
But we are Arsenal. To NOT go for it, however unlikely victory may seem would be a betrayal of everything we stand for.
Remember 89 – it may have been half the number of goals needed, but it was against a very very good Liverpool team. No one gave us a chance.
Where there is hope, there is Arsenal.
Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs
Oxlade-Chamberlain Song Rosicky
Walcott RvP Gervinho