This is a short, excitable update ahead of our European Cup quarter-final decider in the Nou Camp.
With the tweets of the gooners already or soon to be in Barcelona beginning to land on my tweetstep, things will only get more giddy from hereon in. Am I jealous of them? What do you reckon. The only things I don’t envy are their mobile phone and bar bills.
It’s almost impossible not to mention the injuries. With Song out, we are now five players short of our best eleven. That’s just about as painful as things can realistically get, short of Vermaelen dropping a bottle of HP Sauce on his foot at breakfast tomorrow morning.
On top of that, Rosicky is 50:50, Campbell is a doubt and cobbling an XI together is becoming a feat of creative accountancy.
As you’d expect, Wenger is bullish and Walcott is too – “There is no point playing within ourselves, we have all got to be at it” he said – but the odds of an Arsenal win, from Arsenal’s very own official partner Paddy Power, are 11/2 and that tells you all you need to know about the size of the challenge ahead.
The point to which Walcott alluded is a good one. For all Barcelona’s mesmeric football in the first leg – and I still maintain it was as good as I have ever seen – if Arsenal start so tentatively tomorrow as they did last week, then the game will not be competitive for very long.
If our lads can learn anything from Barcelona’s approach, it’s that it is equally important to win the ball back when they don’t have it as it is to do fancy stuff with it when they do.
Easier said than done of course in front of 95,000 Catalans on a roomy pitch with half your mainstays in the land of crock.
Walcott’s blistering cameo last time round means he is a weapon Barcelona will fear. Whether he is unleashed from the start, or at a later point, remains to be seen. Personally, I wouldn’t risk keeping him as an impact sub as Arsenal do not have the luxury of time. He needs to start, and like every other man in our unfancied XI, he needs to be on the absolute crest of his game.
Over and out and all that. I am rip-roaringly excited but already entering a state of involuntary trembling.