I think it is safe to say that Wenger chose the team he did to play Everton because he expected them to come onto us; and, for the first twenty minutes, this is exactly what they did, until, as we all know, not only did their effort stall — it crashed and burnt.
Anticipating a typical high energy charge from the Scots; Wenger, logically stuck with the same team selection, this is also exactly what happened, although, in the case of Celtic they did manage to hold out for forty minutes before they too succumbed to the realisation that they were playing a far superior side.
But Portsmouth will be different, if ever there was going to be a game in which our opponents attempt to “Park the Bus” this will be it. I can only assume the rationale for employing this system is that they believe it gives them a remote chance of getting a draw; whereas, if they attempt to play football the score line could end up making Everton away look like a close run thing.
“Parking the Bus” is, of course, typically what all the lesser teams try to do when they come to the Emirates. This happened so often last season and we, equally typically, struggled to find a way through. The congestion that this strategy causes renders Walcott’s speed useless. Robbed of his principal asset and lacking in the close control needed to operate in tight areas Theo’s only attempt at a solution was to send in high balls for Adebayor and Bendtner. The problem with this is that the lesser teams usually have strong tall defenders whose speciality, if they have one, is dealing with an aerial threat. The result being that all too often we failed to break the opponents down. We were, of course, desperately missing one man:
Eduardo Alves da Silva
Well now he is back, our fox in the box has returned, raring to go and already with one goal under his belt. But, ironically I don’t expect him to start; in fact I don’t expect him to start most games. Eduardo is the man to bring on when the play gets congested; he isn’t fast but he has an eye for goal the likes of which we haven’t seen for years.
My guess is that Wenger will go with the following:
Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy
–Fabregas, Song, Diaby
—Bendtner, RVP, Arshavin
And I will go for a 4-0 with Eduardo on the score sheet.