I’ve said it many times this season, the outcome of this whole campaign rests on success in the Europa League. Fail and the fallout will be loud and it will be serious. The Europa League is our only route into Europe next season. That’s all there is to it. Tonight it’s win or bust at the Emirates.
If ever there was a time for a big performance from the big players this season then it’s now. Too many times this season we’ve stumbled and bumbled our way to a mid table finish but there is something about a cup run that gives our team hope, I’ve seen us do the impossible in cup matches before, overcoming supposedly unbeatable opponents, tonight we need to put in another one of those.
Last weeks false 9 experiment fell flat on it’s face and means that tonight we need to rely on our quality up front. Aubameyang was back among the goals at the weekend and he could be pivotal tonight. Either side I’d be tempted by Pepe and either Martinelli or Saka depending on the fitness of Tierney, who trained yesterday. We have to get Xhaka back into the midfield alongside Partey, that’s where he’s best and that’s when Partey excels. Mikel Arteta must plan for all possibilities, including needing something from the bench or extra time. If this season has taught us anything it’s that anything can happen.
The Twelth Man
It really is all or nothing stuff tonight and we can’t be there to cheer the boys home. I’ve read that there are plans to cheer the team bus in which I think is a great idea but I can’t help but feel that in a packed stadium tonight the fabled 12th man could make all the difference. But as it’s not been all season, lets all get behind the boys tonight.