By 1970's Gooner
What a shambles it was last night. No fight, no midfield creativity and two muscle injuries to two important first team players.
The probable absence of the Ox and Walcott from the Swansea game and at Bayern threaten to actually derail the gigantic momentum that has been building up in this month.
Walcott's (and the Ox's) pace would have been pivotal in the counter attacking tactics that would have been employed away at Bayern.
And along with the injury to Ramsey it is again muscle injuries that threaten to destroy all the good work done on the pitch.
And who is to blame?
Firstly Ramsey was again overworked with Wenger admitting that he should have rested him against Watford. Of course what happens? He gets a bad hamstring during the game against Bayern.
Do you remember a similar confession by Wenger after Ramsey sustained a muscle injury away at West Ham a season or so ago? The medical staff warned Wenger that he was in the grey zone but he just went ahead and selected him!
Secondly the Ox last night obviously did not warm up properly before the game. Just how else can a player sustain a muscle injury in the first three minutes of a game?
And even more damning again, obviously Walcott did not warm up AT ALL before replacing the Ox! We saw it on the screens on the TV. Why didn't Wenger and the medical staff tell him to get warmed up and never mind if we play with 10 men for a few minutes more?
It was shambles I tell you. A shambles.
In my experience any muscle injury even the softest ones will need 10 to 14 days just to make sure.
So what options are now in front of Wenger for Saturday?
There are five alternatives none of which are ideal of course but I have included some that are not so obvious.
1. Play Gibbs as a left sided midfielder and move Sanchez on the right.
Not ideal I know as it would also involve moving Sanchez away from the area which he uses to move in and crank his venomous shots. Still Gibbs has shown that he is fit and more importantly battle worthy.
2. Play Debuchy right back and move Bellerin on the right side of midfield.
The same idea as above but I would favour this less as Debuchy has miserably failed to obtain the high standards he had reached before his injuries. Last night he looked like a rooky too. Bellerin of course would be a good enough right sided midfielder with his pace and nous which is a pity as I would have liked to have seen him in that position.
I consider Chambers too slow to start as a right back. Remember what a horrible time he had last season away at Swansea?
3. Campbell to start (on either wing)
This option could find favour with Wenger as Campbell is more street wise with the capability to stretch defenders and also be aware of his defensive duties. This he has shown on the few occasions he has started. The negative is that both him and Sanchez like to play on the left but Wenger may decide that beggars can't be choosers.
4. Play Flamini on the right side!
Well it may sound crazy but Flamini could provide a balance on the right. What I mean is that he will be efficient with the ball (i.e not give it away), he is experienced enough to make the right pass and track back and tack in when we are defending. He did score two goals against Spurs.
5 And finally move Cazorla on the right and play Flamini with Coquelin in central midfield.
This would mean that Cazorla will move away from the area he has been so terrific this season and could impair our creativity from this deep lying midfield position.
He could of course do a Ramsey and come in from the right to take part in the built up but he will have to, as Ramsey did, track back and cover his full back. He has of course played this position before he was converted into a central midfielder.
This option maintains an overall balance in the team and may be favoured by Wenger.