‘Arf a mo for Dinamo

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I’m thinking several things, but primarily I’m thinking a) Why is gas, electricity, petrol, council tax and my Arsenal season ticket going up at about 20% a year when we’ve supposedly only got inflation of 2.5% and b) who in the name of Dickens will Wenger play against Dinamo Zagreb?

a) is far too depressing, but b) deserves some wild speculation.

The point being, of course, that we’re not really in the Champions League until we’re through this knockout stage. We can’t afford on many levels not to make it through, but it certainly won’t be easy. We’re ring-rusty, for starters. For the second course, some of our best players are suspended, injured, unfit or in limbo. And pudding consists of the fact that, as a result of the starter and the main course, who plays on Wednesday is quite frankly anyone’s guess.

I think we can safely say that, as a result of Jens Lehmann’s mishap in Paris, Manuel Faulty will be our Goal Guardian. Talk today is that Cole will be included in the squad, if only to expedite a quick and lucrative [for Arsenal] move to his beloved Russians, but there’s not a hope in hell of him coming off the bench even if he comes along for the ride, so the back four will consist, presumably, of Flamini at left-back [Clichy is injured, like I needed to tell you], Djourou and Toure and centre-half and Eboue at right-back. In Hoyte we have cover on both left, right and at the centre [could he become a decent utility player with flexibility like that? Could he even start against Zagreb?]

In the middle, can we afford to abandon our successful 4-5-1? If no, then the midfield will probably be made up of Reyes, Fabregas, Gilberto, Hleb and Rosicky. For me, it’s too soon and too important to introduce the latter to his teammates, so perhaps 4-4-2 would be better. The alternative, if a five-man midfield remains, is to use a rookie – such as fop-topped Alex Song. That’s even less wise.

Up front, my money’s on van Persie to go it alone, with Adebayor in reserve and Aliadiere/Walcott in reserve-reserve (though in Walcott’s case, perhaps we’re talking reserve-reserve-reserve. Would it be wise to give him his competitive club debut away in Croatia in the Champions League?)

So anyway – tomorrow’s game against AZ Alkmaar will probably reveal all. Wenger will most likely want to give his Zagreb starting eleven a game together.

Idle speculation – marvellous


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.