There are no two ways about it: Monte Carlo or burst.
Mission Impossible, a mighty tall order to go to the very ground of a team who have the best defensive record in the Champions League. Arsene Wenger and his men will have to find a way to put three un-replied goals past Leonardo Jardim’s men in two weeks time within 90 minutes, and if they concede, they must score four as there cannot be extra-time in that case.
It smells and feels like an impossibility. Only six teams have scale a task of this monumental nature before, and if Arsenal will be number 7, five huge turnarounds have to be effected.
- Bring back the Number 1
The honeymoon is over now and Ospina is mortal again. After flawless games at the start of the year in which he was barely tested, it’s not been a month of good fortunes for the former Nice man and it certainly was not a happy rematch with Dimitar Berbatov on Wednesday after the Bulgarian made it two in two games – two wins in two of their last meetings now. If not for anything, the former Spurs man doesn’t have that kind of joy against Szczesny but more than that, you feel the Pole has served his due time on the bench. Ospina should still stay for Everton and QPR but from the FA Cup trip to Old Trafford, we want to see the new Wojciech Szczesny.
- Let’s get to know Gabriel better
Mertesacker, our beloved leader, has let us down. It was like a general sending his surrogates to war and setting an ambush for them. And while we know he has been good for some time now, he has never really cleared all our doubts. Gabriel must be either our new guardian angel or the devil from the wild wild Amazon. We hear he is quicker, more agile and loves to defend. That last part alone is enough to bring him in immediately.
He must be able to provide more natural balance to our midfield than a Cazorla-Coquelin pair and that does not imply the Spaniard must be the substitute. Santi has been brilliant and his good handling of the ball could be of better service in a more advanced role. But as for doing a job of hassling and playing from deep, there is a young Englishman within the Arsenal ranks whose managers – club and country – have best described him as a ‘deep-lying playmaker’. His name: Jack Wilshere.
- Be patient, Be Pacy
We need not see another game of irrationality in two weeks time and that would mean the lads having to keep their heads and show you can earn some virtues in wisdom and patience within two weeks. It was a particular highlight of the win at City that not only was the defensive aspect spot on, but breaks from counter attacks were precise and very useful. Theo Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain will have to get more minutes in that game.
It is possible, the players just have to believe. It has been nearly-possible for the past four years, always exiting by the odd goal. It is time to turn the tide and what a happy ending it would be.
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