First and foremost, the Covid-19 situation is not really under control in the Czech republic so I am hoping that our club representatives (coaching staff, players…) will be ok.
And now for the game…
We dominated the first game at home although there were the usual hairy defensive moments. We lacked effectiveness in front of the goal and that gap may just be our undoing in the return leg…I hope not but who knows?
I thought we had a good outing against Sheffield but then again, it was Sheffield so we can’t get too carried away. The first leg and Sheffield game did give us some certainties though:
- If fit, we gotta play Saka, ESR and Martinelli
- Laca is to be our CF as he is in decent form this year so far.
- Partey should play in the middle and his partner could be El Neny if we want more impact and Ceballos if we want more slick passing. I d opt for El Neny as a starter.
- Chambers and Xhaka should start as FB
- Mari should start as CB with Gabriel.
This could be our most important game of the season yet and Arteta may refrain from playing our two most expensive players in Pepe and Auba…strange club and season we are having?
Pepe is showing some decent form lately when coming in as a sub so I am confident that he can unlock the game for us if called upon.
So here is my starting line-up in case it was not obvious from the paragraphs above:
Leno – Chambs, Gabriel, Mari, Xhaka – Partey, El Neny – Saka, ESR, Martinelli – Laca (not Saka, lol)
We have enough ammunitions on the bench then with Bello, Cedric, Ceba, Pepe, Willian, Auba amongst others.
Also, I think that Odegaard will not be missed so much if he doesn’t stay with us beyond this year so I see no reason to play him despite his obvious talent.
The game in Prague has all the elements to lead to an amazing magical night for our club or a horrible one. It is down to the players and the coach to put in the necessary shift to lead our team to the semi-finals and to let us continue to dream of a trophy and CL qualification this season.