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I cannot help but feel the entire game will revolve around how we deal with Tottenham's high energy pressing game. We struggled massively against it last season and that was with Santi Cazorla deep in midfield, a player who is often able to tip toe his way around onrushing opposition players and start a move with a decisive pass to a player who has found space between the lines. Since we lost Santi and pretty much Arteta, that option does not exist so I worry about Coquelin and Ramsey trying to deal with that issue. Unlike last season, we will need to find a way to escape that and not get penned back inside our own half for long stretches of the game

Arsène hasn't really given Welbeck much of a run as centre forward so I wouldn't be surprised to see Welbeck played from the right and maybe Walcott played through the middle. On a very similar theme, I would really like to see Alexis have a run as our centre forward. Now, I am sure Arsène has his reasons why that experiment has been pretty much thrown out with the rubbish, I mean he is the fella who gets to see the players up close and on a regular basis, not to mention the fact that he has had a few decent strikers under his management over the years but watching Sergio Agüero take a quick touch past his man and fire low past the keeper in their 3-1 beating of Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday, I thought to myself, 'Alexis could do that'

I reckon the plan will go something like this, start defensively, make a lot of blocks and tackles. Francis Coquelin will be very important and hopefully he will be closer to the pre injury Coquelin. When the draw was made, I said that without Coquelin we wouldn't be able to get a result from this game, but Francis Coquelin in the team gives us a much better chance. He is one of the best players in the Premier League without the football so I expect him to be making a lot of important defensive contributions. Then if the game is level or very close on 70 minutes, we will see Arsenal applying some pressure on Barcelona. It is a tactic that has worked against this team a few times now, to some success I might add

You know what I'd like to see today? Some good old fashioned aggression. Not the Tony Pulis 'let them know you're there' type aggression but the 'don't let them look up and find a team mate easily' type of aggression. I mentioned this after the Southampton draw but we are too tentative at the start of games. Almost like we are dipping our toe in the water, cautiously waiting to find out what the temperature is like. A little keep ball here, a little bit backing off there. Scrap that, let's dive bomb into the bath, holding our knees as we splash. Force the issue from the first whistle and take some risks. Let's stop giving the opposition so much respect. Yeah, I'm pumped now

Joel Campbell is in good form and is fully rested but also know that Arsène loves a bit of the Ox, as do I in fairness. Chamberlain had a good game against Burnley and might want to give him another go to see if he can gain some momentum, he did that after the last FA Cup match against Sunderland, Ox went on to start the next Premier League match. It would be very harsh on Joel Campbell who has worked his socks off, so much so that Vic Akers has had to dig around for a new pair. He deserves his place in the first team at the moment but I get the suspicion that the Ox is still higher in Arsène's long term pecking order

Alexis Sanchez should return to the squad after a lengthy period out with a hamstring problem. As much as I'd love to see him up against Ivanovic, I think the sensible decision would be to place him on the bench and ease him in gently. Theo Walcott was not at his best at Stoke at all so I could see Arsène wanting to give him a chance to rectify his performance. Arsène likes to do that. Not only this but Theo Walcott has a habit of turning on the style in big games against Chelsea.

In a few hours time, the Arsenal players will be walking out at the Britannia stadium and if rumours are to be believed, it will be without Mesut Özil which will be a massive blow offensively. If he is out injured I really hope it is very short term and nothing long lasting. It would be typical at a time where we can expect Alexis Sanchez to return to the squad today. We have been waiting to get them both on the pitch together.

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more