No big surprises in the Arsenal squad that travelled to Milan.
Lukasz Fabianski, Wojciech Szczesny
Johan Djourou, Kieran Gibbs, Laurent Koscielny, Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen
Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun, Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Alex Song
Andrey Arshavin, Thierry Henry, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott
Yesterday Arsene Wenger spent a lot of time saying nothing decisive about whether Gibbs will start. On the one hand it’s the natural thing to do but on the other it would be the San Siro for first game back etc.
But he did also talk about Vermaelen being more natural in a central role. He hasn’t taken Miquel to Milan, so if it isn’t Gibbs or Vermaelen then Sagna or Coquelin are is going to have to play wrong-footed if you see what I mean. I suspect that Arsene Wenger does know what he’s going to do but is happy to keep Milan guessing about any area of uncertainty he can get away with. I think Gibbs will start.
If Milan have weaknesses they are generally reckoned to be a lack of pace and width. If the plan really is to get after Milan from the start then that’s got to be an argument for both Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain getting a start.
It would be good to see Arsenal with two genuine fullbacks again. That isn’t a criticism of all the players who’ve been plugging the gap: Coquelin, Djourou, Koscielny, Miquel and Vermaelen. But none of them are really fullbacks and it’s had a noticeable affect the way Arsenal get forward.
I hope we’ll see Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain making surging runs into the box. I know that Blackburn and AC Milan don’t belong in the same sentence, but the pace and width we employed in that game showed how we can make the players we’ve got more dangerous.
I think that a confident and determined Arsenal can come away from tonight with an away goal and a result.
Come on you Gunners!