What does Arsenal’s gaffer know that no one else does?
Arsene knows. But what does he know? Arsenal’s boss is full of himself ahead of tonight’s Champions League semi final second leg against Man Yoo.
“I am very confident the team will produce a magnificent performance and that we will manage it,” Wenger said, his chest puffed out to Mourinho-esque proportions.
Sorry, am I missing something? Let’s run through this in a PowerPoint stylee:
â€¢ Arsenal were thrashed 1-0 (you can be thrashed 1-0) at Old Trafford, and failed to score an away goal.
â€¢ Tonight, they will have to do without their most in-form player, the cup-tied Andrey Arshavin.
â€¢ Mikael Silvestre will start at the heart of Arsenal’s defence. Alex Ferguson sold Silvestre to a big-four rival, something he’d only do if that player was shit or past-it (Silvestre is a bit of both).
â€¢ No Gael Clichy at left-back.
â€¢ If United score one goal at the Emirates, Arsenal will have to score at least three times; Emmanuel Adebayor is not in the best of form, and Robin van Persie is returning from injury.
And yet… Wenger might have something. This new brand of mind games, one marked by supreme confidence rather than the usual sniping criticism, could work. Alex Ferguson never did so well against the cocksure Mourinho, so perhaps Wenger is onto something.
Arsenal are capable of putting four past United. They can do this. Wenger believes it, and I’m sure Fabregas and co. believe it too.
Beneath the calm confidence, I think Wenger is in a “mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore” mood. Not this time, Ferguson, he’s thinking. Not this time.
That said, I rate Arsenal’s chances of making it to Rome at only 20-25%. With Wayne Rooney in wonderful form (though one yellow card from missing the CL final), the onus is on Arsenal’s makeshift back four to play the game of their lives. It’s possible, but unlikely.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-2 Man Utd (United go through on away goals)
How do you see tonight’s game, folks? Leave a comment (you can do so now) or vote below…