Another weekend and another must win game for Arsenal.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City travel to the Emirates on Sunday seven points ahead of The Gunners, with Arsene Wenger’s men in desperate need of three points to have any hope of Champions League football next season.
But, I’m the boss for this one, here’s my team.
David Ospina, get your gloves on. Petr Cech suffered an injury against West Brom a fortnight ago and is not fit enough to play this weekend. My only hope is that Colombian Ospina will not commit any howlers that he appears prone to.
Laurent Koscielny has been ever present in my team and that remains the case. The Frenchman takes the captain’s armband and lines up alongside regular partner Shkodran Mustafi in central defence. I honestly didn’t have a lot of choice with these two.
Gabriel leaves me a bag of nerves whenever he plays, while having to watch Sergio Aguero run past Per Mertesacker repeatedly is simply unthinkable, hence the easy defensive selection.
Another simple selection at right-back as Hector Bellerin takes that spot. The Spaniard likes to maraud forward, we all know that but, I’d like him to be more aware of his defensive duties as I am wary of Manchester City counter attacks in the system I would employ.
However, Bellerin and Gibbs, who takes the left-back position, will be allowed the license to go forward on occasion, exposing the space out wide left by City’s three back formation.
Now, the midfield is crucial to the tactics I want to play.
Ideally, Santi Cazorla would have filled the deep-lying midfield role alongside Granit Xhaka, as I look to keep the ball, dominate the game, disrupt City’s tiki-taka possession based play and just generally wind up Guardiola, just for the fun of it all.
Let’s be honest, how great would it be seeing Pep go a nice shade of red as his rage builds from watching Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny boss the middle of the park with patient play and tough tackling when we lose it?
Getting played at your own game Pep. How does it feel? How does it feel!
Two weeks ago, I said Alex Iwobi would get his chance in my starting XI eventually. Well, Alex, the time has come. I’ve opted for pace on the counter in recent weeks, selecting personal favourite Lucas Perez ahead of him but, Iwobi’s technical ability will be key to maintaining possession and creating chances.
Walcott or Oxlade-Chamberlain? Walcott or Oxlade-Chamberlain? I repeatedly asked myself this question as neither really offer what I need. Eventually, I plumped for Walcott as he provides more of a threat in front of goal. That’s the only reason if I’m honest.
Mesut Ozil fills the attacking midfield role. All I’m asking from his is to keep it simple and create openings when the time is right. A simple task for a world-class player.
The man I’d like him to feed is Alexis Sanchez. Normally, I’d drop a player who is in a contract standoff and is mouthing off in the media but, the Chilean is undroppable and we’d be quite frankly screwed without him, so he is my central striker.
I’m pretty confident my tactics, inspired by control on Football Manager – which has been working wonders for me against big teams – will get the job done.
But, as I say each week, it’s all up to Arsene.
We can only hope he gets it right.