Two exciting and entertaining semi finals played earlier in the week, can we continue this fun?
To be honest, I know nothing about Valencia apart from what GN5 gave us on Tuesday, and I was really disappointed that they beat Villareal in the quarters, thus denying us the return of Santi. But the team sitting in 6th in La Liga are strong opposition.
Valencia have scored 40 goals in 35 La Liga games, hardly attacking prowess, they have conceded 32, and are 31 points behind the leaders, Barcelona having drawn almost half of their games. On paper this should be a home victory but we are short of players and form.
Ozil has to start, this is exactly the kind of game he thrives in – opponents who are unlikely to be over-physical and rely upon breaks.
It is vital we keep a clean sheet and you all know how likely that will be! Back 3 and one with experience – Kos, Sok and Nacho. Wardrobe and AMN, maybe an Iwobi , a Xhaka and the two upfront PEA/Laca. We still lack any width relying upon the wing-backs for crosses. Lacking attacking options on the bench means Eddie could get to play in a European semi final.
Emery knows both Valencia and the EL, will he choose to be less attacking in his team selection for the first leg, trying to ensure a clean sheet at home? If so, Terrier will come in for Iwobi, and possibly Mhki for PEA.
The Emirates needs to be noisy and get right behind the team. There will be tension and there will be occasions when Xhaka etc make mistakes but this is when the players need encouragement not the frustrated moans of the “supporters”. PLease, if you are lucky enough to attend, sing, shout, chant … roar. As usual we TV viewers will be in Peaches’ pocket making as much noise as possible.
Whatever happens I am hoping for an improved performance from our chaps; we have been awful recently and thrown away the chance of 3rd place. But we can win this tie – Valencia are simply not as good as Arsenal, we have better, more expensive players but do they have the cojones?
We shall see