After last season’s capitulation that saw Arsenal miss out on the Premier League once again and put their Champions League qualification campaign at risk, Wenger turned to the most important attribute in his players to turn things around…experience. Even the much maligned Kim Kallstrom played a crucial part, dispatching a cool penalty against Wigan in the FA cup without breaking a sweat.
If Arsenal are to get a positive result against Besiktas in the return leg at the Emirates, they need to turn to experience again. Tomas Rosicky is a player who needs to be recalled back to the starting line up in place of Ramsey. He is a player with star quality able to grab a game by the scruff of the neck. Not only is he able to thread through balls with the best of them with a fierce shot to boot but he likes to track back and protect the midfield. These are qualities that will be needed because Besiktas showed Arsenal they are not afraid to take the game to them.
Cazorla is a player who rarely does anything exceptional but showed that he is a player for the big occasion as he proved that with his exceptional free kick in the FA cup final. Frankly I did not think he possessed that in his locker. That is the mark of experience. Arsenal had been overrun in midfield during that game and were finding it hard to get a grip of the game. Cazorla’s goal helped Arsenal to settle down and from there it was a matter of when, not if, the equalizer would come.
Ozil will need to start this game in his preferred position that will require him to track back as much as possible while Flamini will need to protect the back four as well as he can. Ozil needs to prove he is Arsenal’s jewel in the crown, the difference between qualifying and…going home.
While it really is a waste of time trying to figure out who will be in Wenger’s starting lineup, what I am sure about is experience will win the game against Besiktas. Wilshere and AOC will get their chance to shine but not in such a crucial game.