We’re just a few hours away from our date at the JJB – famous for scrappy games of Rugby Union’s poorer cousin being played on its already tarnished surface – and there’s a huge chance of a big European hangover waiting to hit Arsenal in the face in this match.
Wigan are a team that mix it up with some impressive play from the likes of Palacios and Valencia, and absolutely horrendous notions of bastardry in the form of Michael Brown. While I can smile and send a respectful nod to the gifts and skills of the afformentioned foreign imports, Brown is a player that baffles anyone with sense as to why he has not been banned for life from the game known as football (that’s played with a ball and certainly not in a karate dojo), or even arrested. The man has picked up more red cards than Wenger’s team has since 1996 and yet he still finds praise from an English manager for playing the English game, which is fairly typical, in’nit?
Without spending too much time on that little mercenary, what will be highlighted will be what Arsenal need to do to get a valuable but difficult three points away to Wigan Athletic. The formation will be one to puzzle over – particularly in the midfield after Diaby and Walcott picked up injuries after the Milan match.
Consider that with Walcott and Eduardo out, and van Persie only expecting a bench start at best, that Adebayor will be used as a lone-striker up front in a 4-5-1. Hleb, Fabregas and Flamini clearly pick themselves, with Gilberto and A.N.Other to fill up the two remaining berths.
That other could be Nicklas Bendtner, who could interchange with Adebayor down the left wing, after Adebayor demonstrated a simply brilliant workrate in constantly rampaging down Milan’s flank.
In the end, we know that it’s all down to Wenger (profundity of the century, there), that Almunia and the defensive backline will remain the same, and that Wigan will be quite a difficult proposition, despite their poor league position. Boggy pitches, rough tackles and our own injuries could prove to be our downfall, or the given conditions will spur on the players, much like a certain Adebayor, who is under no illusions as to the task at hand.
Right, off to bed with me, in a hope to get up early enough to grab a glimpse of the match (2AM this side, here). All the best to the side – I would be more than happy with a scrappy 1-0, so long as it was on the three points ended up on our side.
And if you can, start hyping up how Manchester United shame the FA Cup and are on a downward spiral after you-know-what happened. Altogether now: Mwa ha ha ha ha ha…