Just as soon as we’ve finished basking in the glory of the 6-1 opening day win at Everton, we have another game to look forward to… the Champions League qualifier against Celtic, which is our most important game of the season. Although Arsene maintains that we don’t have to be in Europe in order to be financially secure, it’s very important for a club like ours to be in the Champions League proper. It’s a £20 – £40m competition and the kind of players we have need to and want to play in the Champions League.
Celtic v Arsenal
UEFA Champions League, Celtic Park
Tuesday, August 18, 2009, 19:45
The game against Everton was brilliant, 6-1 away from home, but the game against Celtic would be traded for the one at Goodison without question. Arsene has revealed a few injury worries before the game and Theo Walcott is still not back, have suffered a back injury prior to the England game. Cesc, Denilson and Sagna have also been confirmed as doubtful – but rumours are that Cesc is more likely to miss the game than any of the other members of the team.
Arsene said this about the injuries:
“Theo Walcott is not fit but Abou Diaby is with the squad here. From Everton we have Sagna who has a knock, we will make a decision about him tomorrow. We have some uncertainties about Fabregas and Denilson as well but we will make a decision about them tomorrow as well. It is more than 50 per cent that Cesc will play, much more. He has a tight hamstring, I took him off at Everton because of that. Denilson has a groin problem. We will play the best possible team tomorrow, the team which I think has the best chance to win the game. It is a very important game for us because we know what is at stake and we know how difficult it is to play here.”
Arsene also touched on Theo’s injury:
“We are not sure [if he is fit for Saturday]. It is a back problem which he took with England to Holland. He had a test this morning, it was negative. The injury happened before [he went on international duty] and they didn’t send him back from England because they thought it would be possible for him to play two days later. But it came back and he had to stop training when he had a test this morning.”
Based on Arsene words, the probable team will be:
Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy
Denilson – Song
Bendtner – Diaby – Arshavin
With a likely bench of Mannone, Eboue, Gibbs, Silvestre, Ramsey, Merida and Eduardo
Celtic will be a tough opposition, the atmosphere will be electric at Celtic Park and it will be a good test for us. After the game against Everton, we’ll surely go into the game as super favourites, which in reality puts Celtic in a no-lose situation – where they aren’t expected to win, so can give there all and see what happens.
The attack minded nature of Celtic may play well for us as we’re good on the counter attack, and an away goal could be vital for us too.
It’s been a long couple of days for me at work and with my sister’s birthday, so I’ll leave you with a little bit more from the gaffer…
“You expect a massive support at Celtic. Scotland is always a very special atmosphere – a special noise in the stands – but we have played everywhere in Europe and we can deal with that. It will be down to us and how well we play. We don’t go into this game with fear. We go with respect for Celtic, but we know it is a very important game for us and we want to come home with a positive result. I always prepare my team first with determination and not fear. We have played everywhere and have good experience in the Champions League, but every game is different and we know what we face on Tuesday – a very determined Celtic team with quality.”
It is indeed a very very important game for us… I’ll looking forward to it.
Come on you Gooners!