After the fallout from the weekend, which saw many people make the instant switch from lauding Arsenal as the modern day equivalent of the Dutch total football team, to predicting a swift drop down the league into oblivion, we take a little step back into reality.
The Champions League group concludes this evening, with Arsenal requiring a win and Sevilla to slip up in Prague to finish top of the group, else draw one of Real, Inter, Milan, Barcelona or Porto. I’ll have Porto thanks.
With a win not guaranteeing an advantage of any kind, injuries in the squad, fatigue in those that remain, and Chelsea looming on Sunday, Wenger is wisely rotating, although he claims there is no such thing as a Carling Cup side anymore as they are all part of his first team squad. I beg to differ, but can understand why he is saying it – he doesn’t want tonight’s players to think they are merely filling in.
The interesting team news is twofold. Other than the squad players getting a go, Lehmann will start for the first time since August, and Van Persie will be back in the squad, possibly to come off the bench.
It’s difficult to know what’s going on with Jens. Is Wenger showing potential suitors that he is still a good keeper, while talking about how he is ‘totally professional’ despite every comment the German makes being contrary to this? Or is Lehmann in with a realistic shout of getting his place back?
Honestly, I think its the former. He’s 38 now, and would probably move on at the end of the season anyway. Bringing him back now would destroy Almunia, and I’m not sure what it gains.
Let’s hope the match isn’t as dull as some group ending matches are. See our tie with Porto last year for evidence of that one.