Mission Impossible, to Mission Improbable, to Mission Inhibition 12 March, 2013Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
We’ve all known it since the first leg, this match against Bayern Munich tomorrow night is quite the uphill task whatever way you look at it. The 3-1 loss in the home leg means we’ve got to score 3 goals against the meanest defense in Europe, but at the same time keep a clean sheet against one of best sets of attacking players in the world. It’s not an easy position to be in.
My thoughts about the game have changed a few times, and with the latest revelations about injuries and rested players, those thoughts are now rather worried ones indeed. For me it went from Mission Impossible, a 3-0 away win at the in-form team in the world is probably out of the question for the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid or anyone else – never mind Arsenal. Then I started to drift into Mission Improbable territory. I thought, ‘Well it’s a nothing to lose kinda game.’ We either do as expected and get knocked out or we have the chance of pulling off one of the most famous results of recent years.
However now, for me, it’s Mission Inhibition. Our best player, Jack Wilshere is injured plus Sagna, Podolski and Szczesny have been left out for one reason or another. Not that he’s our most important player, but the fact that our no.1 goalkeeper has been rested in a game where we vitally need to defend well to have any kind of chance, that has annoyed me a little bit. It says to me that we’ve conceded the game and will not play a full strength XI. Now I’m thinking, ‘Shit, we better not get absolutely battered tomorrow.’
Our first team struggled (at home) against this side and now I have this horrible image of us going there and fielding a weakened team. I don’t mind going out of the competition, that’s fine. I just don’t want to be humiliated in the process! This may turn into a damage limitation exercise. Maybe I should have more faith in our ‘squad’ players but however positive you are that’s still going to be a weaker Arsenal side out. Arsene, despite dropping players, thinks it’s do-able:
“It is not mission impossible. It can be done, but first of all you need 100 per cent commitment, attitude and things to go your way. But usually football goes your way when you have the right attitude.
“There is a kind of [feeling of] ‘let’s really play with freedom’. Let’s start strong. We have to create doubt in their mind and you only do that if you have a real go. The chance you have is to [make] insecure the certainty Bayern have at the moment. That you can only do if you perform at your best.
“We can have a real go without being silly. We can’t think that the game lasts 30 minutes and throw everything forward from the first minute on. We want to be positive but also intelligent.”
“We have practised a lot and prepared for this game.”
I just feel like if he’s honest about giving it our best shot, then take the best team. At least the best defense! Szczesny has taken on critics this year after some sloppy displays but whatever you say about him he’s a much better ‘keeper than Mannone and Fabianski, the latter of which is tipped to play his first game in god knows how long, I’m not looking it up but it’s a long time.
Maybe how disappointed I am shows that there was still something inside me that thought maybe we could get something. I suppose I thought if we (somehow) defended really well and kept in the game then there’d always be a chance – maybe a late push for goals at the end. I don’t know. Or perhaps the fact that I’m obsessing over the defense in a game which we need at least 3 goals tells more.
Kieran Gibbs has come back into the squad which is a big boost. I hope he’s fit enough to start. Also Jenkinson did well at Spurs, hopefully he will continue on that form tomorrow. However what the central defense will do I have no idea. Vermaelen needs a rest/drop but then I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wenger go and rest Mertesacker. And then there’s the ‘keeper, I’ll be crossing every limb that Fabianksi or Mannone can keep some goals out against an incredibly lethal attack.
I’m going to go try find the previous mission statement, the one that said, ‘Oh fuck it we’ve got nothing to lose, just enjoy the game.’ And with that I’ll be back with a match preview tomorrow. Until then comrades.