Thanks to Spurs’ draw with Wigan, the fourth-place formula has distilled quite nicely. We now have the inside track on 4th place. If we can take 9 of our remaining 12 points, we reach 72, and Spurs have to keep 11 of their remaining 12 to get to 73. If we keep 10 of twelve, 4th is ours no matter what Spurs do. Chelsea is set to host Swansea as I write, and they have to take 11 of their 15 points to stay above us. While Swansea might feel complacent after having won the Capital One Cup, they did draw with Chelsea in the Prem and defeat them in the Capital One Cup semi-final. Whether this motivates Chelsea or proves that Swansea has their number could be determined today. They could be done by half-time of our match, not that I want any of our boys checking the scoreboard, but their result should infuse us with more intensity no matter how it turns out for them. A win for us today, coupled with Spurs’ draw and a Chelsea loss (a boy can dream, can’t he?) clears the path for us as Chelsea would then be in a situation identical to Spurs’: stranded on 62 points, level on games played, and facing each other on May 8. Come on, Michu!
As for us today, we need aggressivness and experience across the board regardless of who takes the field for Man U. Here, then, is my submission for the starting XI:
- Keeper: Szczęsny. Has one tolerably well since his return.
- Defense: Gibbs, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Sagna. Consistency and stability are key, with apologies to Vermaelen, Monreal, and Jenkinson. For what it’s worth, Gibbs and Sagna are more familiar with van Persie, should he play.
- Defensive midfield: Arteta and Ramsey continue their competition for best passing accuracy and most touches.
- Attacking midfield: Cazorla, Podolski, Rosický. As much as I love Wilshere, I worry that he gets too amped up in these situations, and his injury could use the rest–if only for the first 60 minutes. Throw him on if someone needs to come off. As previously suggested, I’m looking to Poldi contend for a MOTM-type performance, and Cazorla? Cazorla needs no introduction.
- Forward: Walcott. Between him and Gervinho, he’s the lesser of two evils. And he’s “due”, if that means anything.
Right. Put ’em on their heels, boys, and don’t let up ’til the final whistle blows!