Arsenal trained at London Colney on Saturday, before flying to Germany for their Champions League semi-final.
There were 20 outfield players training. 16 senior players and four Academy players. As per UEFA regulations, we were invited to watch 15 minutes of the training session.
First, they did the usual warm-up with 19 players, then we saw a 6v6v6 training exercise. Players worked on pressing and counter-pressing in tight spaces. At the same time, two players were doing individual drills on the side before they joined the full session, and then we left as the 15 minutes were up.
That exercise was very interesting because you could see how good certain players are on the technical side. How quick they are to get the visual information and then deliver the right pass or not.
We could also see which players are good enough to play one-touch football in tight spaces and those who need the extra touch that put them in trouble and under pressure. Curiously enough, we did not see the goalkeepers as they were on another pitch.
The 20 outfield players training were: Rafaelle, Wubben-Moy, Beattie, Catley, Maritz, Wienroither, Goldie, Walti, Maanum, Kuhl, Harbert, McCabe, Hurtig, Pelova, Blackstenius, Agyemang. Two academy players were also present as well as Gio and Taylor who are not eligible to play.
Jonas Eidevall is certainly dealing with a huge injury problem compounded by the non-availability of a couple of players who were not registered for the Champions League. Therefore we could see potentially two different systems.
On option is the classic 4-4-2 where the emphasis is put on the wings with the two strong pairings: Maritz-Pelova on the right and Catley-McCabe on the left. The starting XI would be: Zinsberger or D’Angelo; Maritz, Wubben-Moy, Rafaelle, Catley: Pelova, Wälti, Wienroither or Kūhl, McCabe; Blackstenius, Maanum.
Alternatively, they might use the same system used in the second half of the United game a 3-4-3 intended to get Jennifer Beattie on the pitch for her leadership and game-reading qualities. The starting XI would be as follows: Zinsberger or D’Angelo; Maritz or Wienroither, Maanum, Wälti, Catley; Pelova, Blackstenius, McCabe.
Regardless of the system used, I expect Arsenal to be quite cautious and wait to pounce on the break rather than press high on the pitch. Wolfsburg are an excellent side and making sure we come back to London still in the tie is the first priority.
The recent injuries to Little and Williamson mean we are fielding a patched-up side in midfield. Damage limitation, as seen against United for most of the game, might be in order.