Update: Second Leg Preview Here
Morning all. It’s an exciting day today and whatever I could possible say to hype this match will be overshadowed by the simple phrase “Arsenal vs Liverpool in the Champions League at the Emirates”. Games can’t get bigger, can they? And what makes it more exciting is that we’ve got the quality to win it, we’ve got the home advantage tonight and psychologically we have the edge. Our performance at Anfield was awesome, with sublime passing and precision football, albeit we came away with a draw.
For those of you who know Bob, you’ll know he’s an avid Arsenal fan too, and I managed to catch up with him today for a quick interview about today’s game.
Are you looking forward to the game?
Yeah I’m really excited about it, but at the same time slightly nervous. In the Champions League, Liverpool are a different type of proposition to the Premier League, so coming up against them in the competition is a little apprehensive. We mustn’t concede a goal. If we could take even a slender 1-0 advantage to Anfield, then one goal there could see us knock them out.
Who will be our star player tonight?
I think Cesc is the obvious one, as he loves playing in these big games as he really shines and pulls the strings in midfield. If Hleb is on form, he will be difficult for the full backs to track, and could potentially pull players out of position and expose gaps in their defence. Ade would also be an obvious one with his size and strength and can definitely give Carragher and co a handful, but I’m quietly confident about Van Persie. I think if he has his shooting boots on, and the match practice he’s gained recently, plus those behind close doors, he could be a real difference between the team and also in the link up play between midfield and attack.
Who do we have to watch out for tonight[on the opposition team]?
One player in the Liverpool side that you can never rule out, in the Champions League, is Steven Gerrard. He seems to have a love for Big Ears [CL Trophy] like no other player in England, and I feel coming up against another English team will make him all the more determined to inspire his team the way he has in recent seasons. Up front, Torres is another player who seems to be hitting form, just at the right time. His mazy runs, his eye for goal and hold up play for Liverpool almost reminds me of a certain Mr. Henry; if you give him half a yard he will hurt you; so will definitely be a danger man and one to watch.
So how we will deal with Gerrard and Torres?
Well, I feel that Liverpool will come with a 4-5-1 formation, with Torres being the spearhead of the attack with support on the wings by Kuyt and Babel. With the pace between those players, especially the threat that Torres poses, our defence has to be alert to any counter attacks. The partnership of Senderos and Gallas, if they start, will have to really compliment each other, with Gallas using his pace and strength with that of Torres and Senderos attacking the long balls. What I’m trying to say here, is that Senderos has the aerial presence to win the ball in the air and Gallas has the pace to mop up the second ball. I think both Toure vs Babel and Clichy vs Kuyt will swing in our favour due the pace and experience that our full backs have. As for Gerrard, with the level of maturity that Flamini has shown this season, it will prove an interesting contest, but one I’m confident Flamini will relish. He will be the lynchpin of our defensive play, allowing Cescy to go forward and do what he does best.
So Bob, I know you never like answering this question, but what is your prediction for the game tonight?
It’s a tough one, I think we’re gonna win it. I’d love to say we’re going to score a handful of goals and not concede any. But I think it’s going to be a tighter affair than many think, with both teams being cautious going forward due to the pace and counter attack threats. Also both teams will not want to concede the first goal. You can tell I’m trying to avoid the prediction…
You can’t avoid the prediction!
Okay, okay… Going in at half time, I think it will be 0-0, but, unfortunately, as we’ve been leaking goals recently and I think they will score, but we will win the game… I’d rather take a 1-0 victory but I’ll go with 2-1 to the Arsenal. Man I hope I’m wrong and we win 6-0!
Thanks Bob, that’s got me really g’d up for the game today, whatever happens it will exciting.
As predicted yesterday, nothing makes me think anything different. Of course, we won’t know the line up until 45 mins before the game, but here’s who I think will be starting.
With Lehmann, Hoyte, Eboue, Song, Gilberto, Walcott and Bendtner on the bench.
Hleb has been recovering from a little injury but both him and Gilberto were cleared for this game.
Arsene has been talking about the game today and the challenge that it brings.
“It will certainly be the highest challenge for me. If you look at the next 10 days or so it will define our season because I strongly believe that we are in the title race. Our next two games in the Premier League are Liverpool and Manchester United and then, on top of that, we have two Champions League games against so this next period is vital. And the impact of the first game is also vital.”
It’s going be an exciting day today.
Come on you Gunners!]]>