Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Wenger to put The Ox in the box to defeat AC Milan

Morning Gooners.

AC Milan at the Grove tonight should be a game we're looking forward to but because of what happened in Italy, it's a game we need a miracle to happen to ensure we progress into the next stage of the Champions League.  Let's not believe it's impossible. We can pull something out of the bag, but it will be a very tough ask of a group of players who have been depleted in numbers because of injuries.

The team news from the press conference wasn't good. Abou Diaby, Yossi Benayoun and Mikel Arteta will all miss the match tonight plus the manager said he had doubts over Kieran Gibbs and Tomas Rosicky - however both are likely to play.

With Aaron Ramsey already ruled out, Francis Coquelin out for three more weeks, Jack Wilshere still to play a game this season and Emmanuel Frimpong sidelined until the start of next season, we are short of midfield options.

That's why the manager must be seriously considering playing Alex Oxlade Chamberlain behind van Persie, with Rosicky and Alex Song playing in the deep lying roles in front of the back four.

It would be a drastic option, playing the Ox in that position but it appears the manager really is running out of options. I don't envisage him moving to a 4-4-2 with Marouane Chamakh or Ju Young Park coming in to play alongside van Persie. Neither striker has any form behind him.

Wenger said:
"I can play six strikers if I want, I have enough. I have Chamakh, Park, Van Persie, Gervinho, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain. I can take a risk, because I have no choice, basically."
There is a gun-ho approach to this game we need, but I don't think the manager will kill the team by playing that many attackers. It's clear we need to go for it from the off. The first 30 minutes will be crucial. We cannot afford to concede. If we did, the mood of optimism in the crowd would change. But I'm sure every Gooner going tonight knows we've got a very slim chance of progressing to the next stage.

The manager has said the team will give it their "best shot" and I suppose if we do go out of the competition tonight, all I want to have witnessed is this team giving it their all. For me, the most disappointing aspect of the game at the San Siro - apart from the view from the gods - was the fact that no one in the team could say they gave their all for the shirt that night with the exception of Thierry Henry.

We've seen how these players have responded to adversity in the last two league game. Now is their chance to put things right in Europe.

Until tomorrow.

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