Will Wenger decide that the best form of defence is attack?
Its official: the AFC defence is decimated! The whole first choice back four of Lauren/Toure/Campbell/Cole is out for various reasons; and there is confirmation today that Lauren is out for the rest of the season after having surgery on his knee (EFT wishes him well in his recovery!).
The excellent Gael Clichy has been out since the end of October, Emmanuel Eboue is in Egypt, and now 'the fighter' Kerrea Gilbert is out for the Birmingham game. With these seven defenders unavailable I've even got a touch nostalgic for Pascal Cygan… yep, its crazy times to be an AFC fan!
For someone who has just turned 19 years old, I have been very impressed with the concentration and composure of young Johan Djoruou. With Phillipe Senderos back in his specialist LCB position - Arsenal's very own Swiss guard will look to stand firm tomorrow against the power forward game of Sutton and Heskey.
The makeshift full back combination of Flamini and Larsson finished the game on Wednesday. And with no other full backs available I sense they will start in defence at St Andrews.
With such an inexperienced and makeshift defence, I hope Wenger doesn't place more pressure on them by adopting a defensive attitude tomorrow. In other words, I hope Wenger doesn't pick the - in theory - damage-limitation 4-5-1. In practice this system has, ironically, inflicted massive damage on Arsenal's results.
One goal in nine games with the AFC 4-5-1 says it all.
There is a lot of legitimacy in the saying that the best form of defence is attack. So I hope Wenger adopts the strategy that is undoubtedly our best: an attacking game in the 4-4-2 system.
I'd pick Bergkamp up front because his link-up play with Thierry is unmatched, and have Reyes raiding down the left and into the box. On the right of midfield I'd play Fabregas which is where he played a lot of good games at the end of last season, and he can come inside to support Diaby and Gilberto. The fantastic Van Persie would be my proven super-sub option.
4-5-1 has failed the team. It is a huge reason why our away record is so uncharacteristically terrible. Lets get back to playing 4-4-2 again and start creating more chances and scoring goals, which in turn will leave us less susceptible to receiving another away defeat.
Despite this crazy period in the history of the club the spirit and effort has definitely been evident in the last three games. Add the right strategy and system of play and I hope we can get a turnaround in luck and results. Here's hoping...!