Standard Liege v Arsenal
UEFA Champions League, Maurice Dufrasne Stadium
Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 19:45
We take on Standard Liege tomorrow / today (depending on when you’re reading this) in our first game in the group stage. We’ve got a few injury worries ahead of the game and have flown out with a weaker than anticipated side.
Van Persie has picked up a knee injury which will see him miss the Champions League game but he will be back for the game against Wigan – we’ve also lost Denilson to a back injury and Almunia has the flu. Throw in the injuries to Walcott and Nasri as well as Arshavin, Djourou, Fabianski and Carlos Vela and our squad is getting quite stretched.
The squad was announced on Tuesday:
With our first two goalkeepers out injured, we’ll either field Mannone or Szczesny. And with Van Persie out injured, our front line could be supplemented by one of our youngsters – I think we’re more likely to see Eboue deployed at right wing, but with Jack Wilshere and Sanchez Watt both included in the squad, Arsene may spring a surprise….
Predicted match line up:
Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy
Song – Diaby
Eboue – Cesc – Eduardo
With a probable bench of Szczesny, Silvestre, Gibbs, Ramsey, Rosicky, Wilshere and Watt.
Bendtner has been in the press recently talking about his preference of playing a central role and I have to say, although he’s shown some signs of decent wing play, he does prefer the central role. If Bendtner plays well against Liege, we may see him keep the central role with Van Persie playing on the wing like he does for Holland. Bendtner commented on his role.
“I am an attacker, not a winger. I have always seen myself as a striker and it is my goal to play as a striker all the time. It is important for me to play and when Arsene tellsme to play a position I’ll do that. Last season I played a lot from the left side and this season it’s been on the right side but, like I said, I prefer to play up front.”
Home Grown Rule
In other news, the “home-grown” rule has finally been sanctioned, ratified and agreed by the FA.
The size of a squad will be limited to 25 – now this limitation will not include players under 18. But what this means is that clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City can’t just buy 10 new players every season.
“As of next season clubs will be required to have a squad named of up to 25 players, of which no more than 17 can be over the age of 21 and not home grown. The definition of home grown is trained for three years under the age of 21 by somebody in the English and Welsh professional system. Clubs will have to declare their 25 at the end of August when the window shuts and then again at the end of January.”
Looking at our squad, players such as Clichy, Cesc, Denilson, Vela, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere, Mannone and even Diaby have been signed at the age of 15, 16, 17 or 18 and been with the club for three years, so automatically qualify for the home grown rule.
Whereas, if you look at Chelsea, or even Liverpool, there are hardly able to name any under 21’s whom have been at the club for three years or more. As a Arsenal fan, you have to applaud Arsene for the work he has done in the background ensuring the future of the team by ensuring we built the team on a youth ploicy.
Arsene speaks on Adebayor
And finally… Adebayor has been charged by the FA on two accounts – once for the offence against Van Persie and once for the offence against the Arsenal fans. Arsene has finally commented on Adebayor’s action and had this to say:
“My thought is that Emmanuel Adebayor deserves to be charged for what he did. But I was surprised that there was such animosity in his attitude towards Arsenal because in a few years he will realise that Arsenal has been great for him. That is why I was deeply surprised and shocked. Only he can say if he will regret leaving. All I can say is that is life and professional football players move on.
“In life, the goal is to be objective enough in seeing who helped you and who didn’t help you, who had a positive influence on you or not. You can sometimes be disappointed in the short term. But still I believe that when you take distance with the events, you always get to the right judgement. I think the longer distance will make Adebayor realise that Arsenal was a very positive influence in his life.”
And Arsene has been quite diplomatic in his words. Ultimately, Ade would be nothing without us.
Anyway, let’s not worry about Ade, let’s look forward to the game and let’s hope Eduardo shows us he’s moved on from the whole unsavoury UEFA incident…
Come on you Gooners… don’t forget to tune in for Match Day Live, starting later today at around 7ish…