Match Preview: Fenerbahce vs Arsenal

Tomorrow we take on Fenerbahce in the "Sukru Saracoglu Stadium" stadium and will expect a tough reception from the home side as the Turkish supporters are known for their passionate support, especially when a big team come to town.

The squad for tomorrow's game has been released and here it is:

Manuel Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski, Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie, Carlos Vela, Nicklas Bendtner, Aaron Ramsey, Abou Diaby, Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas, Denilson, Samir Nasri, Kieran Gibbs, Gael Clichy, Mikael Silvestre, Alex Song, Emmanuel Eboue, Johan Djourou

From this squad, it’s clear to see that we will be without 3 of our first choice defence in Sagna, Toure and Gallas, but a timely return for Johan Djourou increases our options in that department.

Arsene has often adopted a 4-5-1 in European away games, and I reluctantly expect him to do the same thing tomorrow. It’s a hard one to know who will play, as both Nasri, Walcott, Van Persie and Ade are our first choice wingers and strikers, not all of them can play if we go for a 4-5-1 unless Nasri plays more centrally along side Cesc and Denilson fills in the holding midfield role. With Song available and Nasri having a little niggle, we may see the following line up:

Almunia
Goalkeeper
 
Djourou
Right Back
Song
Centre Back
Silvestre
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
 
Denilson
Defensive Midfielder
 
Eboue
Right Wing
Diaby
Midfielder
Cesc
Midfielder
Van Persie
Left Wing
 
  Adebayor
Striker
 

Subs: Fabianksi, Hoyte, Gibbs, Walcott, Bendtner, Nasri and Vela.

In this line up, I think Arsene may give Diaby a full run out in midfield as well as resting Walcott and Nasri. I would be tempted to throw in Bendtner instead of Ade, but maybe too many changes aren’t good…

Arsene has been speaking ahead of the game and has focused on the “UEFA is watching you” stance warning Fenerbache not to do anything untoward and stating that the fans will not affect the players. The boss said:

“They have the most passionate fans in Europe. Especially in Istanbul where you have Besiktas, Galatasaray and Fenerbahce.

“It is a unique place and for me it is a special city. But it is very, very tough.

“However it will not affect the players. It could have done 20 years ago but one of the good things done by Uefa is that they protect the players and the competitions so much they know if [the teams] do too much they will be kicked out.

“Every simple thing is filmed. That was not the case 20 or 30 years ago. You had a little more freedom to express your aggressiveness then. But that has gone.”

It’s a game that I can’t wait for, it should be a good game, and will be good to see Diaby and Djourou back in the squad and first XI…

Don’t forget to participate in the World of Arsenal’s first poll, which asks Should Bendtner replace Adebayor in the first XI? At the time of writing, 65% of readers agreed that it was time for a change up top…

Til tomorrow…]]>

  • ArseFan101

    < ![CDATA[Firstly, I'm addicted to this blog.

    Secondly, I think you're right. I think Bendtner should play ahead of Adebayor for one or two games simply to make a statement to Ade that his place in the team should not be taken for granted. Once he realises this, you may see a different Adebayor - the one from last season back. So in answer to your poll, the answer is YES!! bring on Bendtner...

    Finally, the game tomorrow will be a tough one no doubt. Fenerbache will be a tough team and a tough place to go. I'll be happy with a point from there and a win against them in the home leg!]]>

  • John

    I would still like to see Eboue at right back. Maybe start Ramsey……………

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[Agreed ArseFan101.

    I think a point and no new injuries tomorrow will suffice. Heres to hoping the fans have a safe journey as well!]]>

  • Parresh Brahmbharta

    < ![CDATA[Well I’ll give my two cents about both the Everton game and the previous post and please feel free to suitably shoot me down too if you wish….

    For all the frustration that sometimes accompanied him, Hleb was one of our outstanding players and a major reason that we got close to Utd and Chelsea last year.

    He always set up chances or created space for the rest of the team to play their stuff. Testament to how good he was is that Cesc to this day is raving about him.

    He was the only player in the team that could slow the tempo down and draw defenders out of position which was extremely useful against defensive teams.

    Last year for the first time since 2004 we didn’t drop many points against mid to lower tier teams. If we had beaten Liverpool at the Emirates as we should have then we would have been within a win of the title!

    I know we dropped points home and away to Birmingham and also had a bad run after the tackle on Eduardo but if we had won a game against the big four at home we would have been right there…

    Flamini has not been replaced and that I also feel was a mistake especially watching Xavi Alonso having a blinding season with Liverpool.

    I can’t help but think whether those few extra million pounds they wanted were not worth it considering the improvement it would have made to our title chances.

    But as always Wenger was prudent and said no since he was cup tied in the Champions League. Benitez got lucky as who knows how they would have done with Barry instead of Alonso.

    The defence thing I’m not so sure about, currently we have probably the quickest back four in the league if not the world. That is mightily important to Arsene as both his fullbacks spend more time high up the pitch attacking than they do defending.

    Without the pace of Gallas and Toure we would be completely exposed to the counter attack as we saw a number of times with Senderos last year.

    With that in mind pick your poison; is it set pieces and long balls or getting caught on the counter?

    If there is a tall fast no nonsense defender that is quick with an astute positional sense that can also play a bit please feel free to point him out, personally I don’t know of one.

    Against Everton we started very sluggishly as we are used to doing after the international break. We went one behind and Everton had a few chances to go 2 up but thankfully they didn’t. After the half hour mark we gained control of the game and never really looked back.

    From where I am sitting at the Emirates I can see a few worrying things however.

    We still can’t defend a corner to save our lives, miss too many chances and have a bad habit of conceding a goal with the first shot on target. Almunia is suspect coming for the ball and Clichy had to bail him out again today clearing the ball off the line.

    We need Sagna back before the Manchester Utd game as both Rooney and Ronaldo seem to be getting into their stride.

    Denilson got caught ball watching a couple of times especially in the first half allowing Yakubu to break through the midfield and run at our defence.

    He improved in the second after instructions, I suspect, for him to sit back and allow Fabregas to orchestrate play more.

    Song is not a right back we all know that, he only started because Wenger didn’t want to start with Theo after the long trip to Belarus with England.

    Van Persie is not sharp enough yet, he wasted a bundle of good chances that he’d normally take or at least put on target. It could have proved costly but thankfully it wasn’t.

    After scoring four for Togo midweek Adebayor had an average game.

    He is always a willing runner, however sometimes he leaves me baffled with the constant obsession of running away from goal to the left when there is a big hole in the middle of the opposition defence but I suppose he will improve that with time.

    Nasri was not involved in the game in the first half but he scored a crucial goal to get us back in the game. That gave him confidence and he raised his game after that.

    Clichy was magnificent as usual and my man of the match.

    He was everywhere, intercepted every ball he could and run down the flank as often as possible.

    Somebody should check whether he is human.

    I have a suspicion that he has two hearts and 4 lungs.

    I have no other way of explaining how he does so much running every single game.

    Fabregas was back to his best after a couple of ok performances, displaying his full array of passing and dictating play as only he can.

    Walcott had a huge impact coming on in the second half and took his goal very well. Let’s hope we’ll see a few more from him in the next few weeks.

    Eboue was solid without being exceptional but he did give balance to the team when he went back to right back.

    I still think he is one of our more consistent players this year, and if he manages to get through more games without any histrionics I think he will get more support from the fans.

    It was good to see Diaby back and hopefully he can stay fit for a few games so we can see what he can do next to the little Spaniard.

    Finally I left Song and Silvestre to the end. I though they had a solid second half where admittedly there were not really tested.

    Silvestre did some Utd defending booting the ball clear at every opportunity and Song looked infinitely more comfortable playing at centre half. Silvestre looked a bit rusty but that was to be expected as this was his first game back.

    Overall we played some good staff in the second half moving the ball about with pace and accuracy and I don’t think a lot of teams can live with us when we do that.

    We haven’t played well yet this year. We have only seen glimpses of how good we can be and if we can get to the turn of the year and still be in touch we’ll have a shot.

    I think compared to last year we’ll get stronger after Xmas – injury permitting – and hopefully we will have two brand new players – Rosicky and Eduardo - to help us with a tough run in.

    I have to say though that we are competing against a Chelsea side that are looking pretty good right now even with a host of injuries.

    They have a huge squad with class replacements in many positions. I think however that their new found sense of adventure will get them in to trouble sooner or later and will give the other three a chance.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    I agree with a lot of what you’ve said – with the exception of Hleb. 2 goals and five assists is not good form. In fact, statistically, Arsenal played better without him last season.

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[Well in Nasri we have a good player with more potential than Hleb. He is also directer which is something we needed. I don't think we need to worry about his absence, other than his relationship with Fab. I'm sure Fab can find a new friend though, besides, its his job anyway!

    Rio Ferdinand meets that criteria Parresh. Even so, were not asking for one player to do everything. The team of 4 defenders are supposed to bring different qualities which amounts to a solid back 4. So we could at least have one defender who knows how to head the ball from set piece situations. I don't think that is such an outrageous ask.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Even Rio makes mistakes! There is no such thing as a perfect defender, but just look at our infamous back for from the 90's - proof that you can get pretty close to a perfect defensive unit!

    Watching Dixon take our defence apart on Match Of The Day made me wonder if Arsenal have a defensive coach at all? It seems like a silly question... but they have a goalkeeping coach!]]>

  • Parresh Brahmbharta

    < ![CDATA[Ade, this season, has he's been utter dog shite... and I'm one of the fans who defended him over the summer, and criticised fans for booing him.

    But I'm not blind, and I'm not stupid.. and Ade has been awful.

    Yes, he's scored 6 goals. However, he's only scored in 1 of our 8 league games (hat trick) and 3 in the CL... 1 in the Preliminary round, and 2 against a shockingly bad Porto team. Oh, and 2 of his 6 goals were penalties.

    His overall performances have been poor too. In the games when we've needed a spark, when things weren't going our way, Ade disappears. Yes, he's taking the plaudits when we beat Blackburn and Porto.. but we need players sweating blood for the team every week, not just when they feel like it.

    Surely, Ade is in the team because he's big and strong and can hold the ball up, and link the play? well, no.. as he's been piss poor at that so far, and even as a striker, his finishing has been crap and he's always being flagged offside.

    This season, he's offered almost nothing, and his body language suggests all is not right. Is he tired?? because he looks it. F*ck know's why... he had the summer off, so he should be fresh! - or has all that contract talk worn him out

    I don't hate Ade for what he did over the summer. It saddened me, but I've moved on. What pisses me off is his body language, and more importantly, he puts f*ck all effort in anymore.

    Where is the happy, smiley, energetic young Togolese striker who we signed??? because I don't recognise this sulky, lazy crunt.. I really don't.

    Unfortunately, you could edit my post a little and it could quite easily be used to describe the performances of several of our players this season... and that is why the title is out of reach.]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[No Kieran he aint perfect, but that wasn't my point. Heres what Parresh said... "If there is a tall fast no nonsense defender that is quick with an astute positional sense that can also play a bit please feel free to point him out", and here is what my reply was... "Rio Ferdinand meets that criteria Parresh." Rio aint perfect, but he is a lot closer than Gallas and Toure.

    The back four from the 90's are a perfect example from their time. The league is quite a bit different now though, what would you say would be the equivelent 'perfect' unit of todays players?]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Dan you monk I was agreeing with you. I know you didn't say he was perfect - I was just suggesting it's sort or unrealistic to expect a perfect defender anyway. Hell Rio Ferdinand and even Vidic are much closer to that magic marker than Gallas/Toure. I was just hitting the middle ground.

    It frustrates me when Arsenal fans support players because "no one is perfect" and then turn on said players for "not being perfect"! Make your knee jerk minds up!

    I'd be a lot happier with a Rio/Adams calibre defender at the back. Gallas is a great footballer but he's no tactician, and what Toure brings with heart he lacks with foresight.

    In terms of the best defence in this league at this time I think there are a few decent players. I still stand by my assertion that Sagna/Clichey are the best fullbacks in the English game (possibly Europe at the moment) and probably Terry/Ferdinand the best centrebacks. However those two never seem to play 100% together for England, so maybe that weakens the argument.

    Unless you're also thinking about a defence that can score penalties in which case Terry is out :)]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Actually that said, in terms of a complete unit Hull have done remarkably well. Their defence trains away from the rest of the team and they've conceeded only 11 goals - no mean feat given the teams they have played and the calibre of the midfield in front of them. 3rd in the league as well!

    2 players in the Actim top 6 defenders so far this season as well.

    The other player in with a shout is possibly Sol Campbell who has reinvented himself since going "abroad". But then your worry is the fact that he is likely to fall to pieces at any moment.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    Oh and Arbeloa/Carragher have done exceptionally well so far this season (a bit lucky too).

  • devday

    I personally can’t believe how well Hull have done. I think it was Kieran who mentioned that a lot of Bolton was down to Phil Brown and it is now starting to make a lot of sense. What they’re acheiving is outstanding. They’ve beaten us, Sp*rs and West Ham in their last there games… amazing.

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Yeah it was me - I also said at the start of the season you'd see them make an impact due to Phil Brown. A very very good manager.

    Also an English manager that has proved you don't need to go away to exciting teams and sit back and defend. Just look at how they take the game to teams like Arsenal. Admitidly they have had a touch of good fortune - Arsenal were shocking that day, but credit where credit is due they are one of the first teams I look for on the results after Arsenal.]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA["Dan you monk I was agreeing with you."

    Oh sorry Kieran :) Got muddled up reading that, someone needs to invent a way of portraying the way we say things in written speech!

    Its amazing how Hull are picking up wins away from home against the teams they have done. 3 out of 4 wins away, and only conceded 3 in those games. They obviously are mentally a lot stronger than us as a team. If you look at our goal difference compared to theres (+10 vs 0) then it doesn't make sense for them to be ahead on points. It boils down to being able to cope under pressure though. We struggle with that a bit!

    Maby we should steal Brown and couple him with Wenger, could be a formidable partnership!]]>