Good morning all, and as the sun rises over the United States it sits high in the sky in London, as we all await a Champions League match that could be anything, everything, or nothing. It's either going to be our last non-league game of the season, or it's going to be one that is remembered for decades. So why not get started early?
First off, there's some team news to report. According to the Metro's Jamie Sanderson, both Kieran Gibbs and Tomas Rosicky have passed fitness tests and will start. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also start, but in a central position rather than his usual place on the left wing. Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun, and the mirage Abou Diaby will be out with the injuries suffered against Liverpool on Sunday. Park Chu-Young, Ignasi Miquel, and Oguzhan Ozyakup will be on Arsenal's bench. So it looks like Arsene Wenger isn't going to take my advice, but then I've never managed Arsenal unbeaten in its league for a full season (at least not in real life), so I'll cede to his expertise.
Wenger has said (via the excellent Jack Pitt-Brooke) that he'll play four forwards tonight, so presumably that means he considers The OC to be a forward. He also joked about starting Park and Marouane Chamakh as well, but we all know that won't happen because Chamakh is trapped in the Springfield Mystery Spot and Park is a fictional character. I just hope our Four Forwards experiment turns out better than the Phillies' Four Aces (SPOILER: they lost in the first round of the playoffs).
Evidently Arseblog also didn't read my column yesterday, because he says basically the opposite and all of the things I was arguing against all day yesterday and into the night. So it goes. He doesn't see any issue with throwing The OC in at the deep end as a central man, which is one thing I can get on board with (in principle, anyway). Gunnerblog, ACLF, and 7amkickoff all say kind of the same thing. Honestly I'm a little surprised that there is so little concern; not that I thought people would be widely clamoring to see Ozyakup and Benik Afobe against Thiago Silva, but I am glad to see a sense of optimism creeping through Goonerdom. I hope beyond hope that I am made to look a fool this afternoon, and that we tear Milan to ribbons. They almost have me believing it's not insane to think that could happen.
Apropos of nothing: via Sid Lowe, this is what happens when you run a team poorly. I know we've talked about Portsmouth a bit, but this is a similar situation in Spain (Real Zaragoza, specifically). It's not just happening here*.
*Disclaimer: I may not actually be where I mean when I say "here."