Match Preview: Standard Liege v Arsenal

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:

Vito Mannone
Wojciech Szczesny
Bacary Sagna
Gael Clichy
William Gallas
Thomas Vermaelen
Mikael Silvestre
Kieran Gibbs
Emmanuel Eboue
Alex Song
Cesc Fabregas
Abou Diaby
Aaron Ramsey
Tomas Rosicky
Jack Wilshere
Nicklas Bendtner
Sanchez Watt

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…

Til then…

  • Mehedi

    You Guys, gotta see this>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  • Fabrez

    haha Mehedi…i would have never bought that shirt with that name on it in the 1st place! I only get the ones with players who are, imo, genuine Gunners! That’s the same line-up I came with in the last blog…most probable i’d think. Talk of AW going back 4-4-2 came up but I doubt he’ll change that system for now. Let’s see how it goes. C’mon you Gunners!

  • Josiah

    Mehedi, Haha!

  • jeffvip

    Mehedi, you just ruined Dev’s post with this clips. LOL

    Hope to see Willshere in action today.

  • Debs

    Haha! Very funny video! But some of the comments were a bit extreme though. Just thought it was a good laugh, nothing sinister.

  • AJ

    I’m looking forward to the game and we should win,e specially with Leige missing Steven Defour, but they ran Liverpool close a couple of seasons ago I think, and I hope that Gallas and Vermaelen give Mannone the protection infront of goal and the young lad has a good game. Also I just love Wenger, I have to say it, he does things that annoy me at times, but the way he has come out attacking Adebayor and Hughes for the way they have acted since the stamp on RVP and the celebration, I like the fact he’s not letting them off like Hughes wanted when he said Adebayor just got a bit carried away.

  • zohaib

    Hey guys !

    I think we’ll have the same squad as Dev predicts, but I think Fabregas will be the one who takes Denilson’s place instead of Diaby. Diaby is the more offensive one, as Wenger has said not too far back :

    Sagna Gallas Verminator Clichy
    Fabregas Song
    Eboue Diaby Bendtner

    Although, I’d want to see how a 4 – 4 – 2 works with Eduardo and Bendtner up front. And Eboue and Diaby out wide. Or Rosicky in place of Diaby, or even Gibbs.

  • parsi

    I actually think the whole Adebayor debacle will ultimately help the team. Just like his departure in the summer clearly rid the squad of any animosity and selfishness and made it visibly more united, the ridiculousness of his behaviour on Saturday could serve as a reminder to the squad about the frequent ill feeling associated with us last season and that this season is massive for the club. It won’t be long before the attitude he showed with us will repeat itself at City and their fans are deluded in thinking he’s going to play like he has been for 38 games. He’s an immature man who had it in his head that he was the victim of unfounded and unprovoked abuse by the Arsenal fans and wanted to show the world on Saturday what a martyr he was, but has just succeeded in making himself look like the brainless, money grabbing fool he truly, truly is.

    Moving away from the inevitable and unavoidable Adebayor rant and, yes, the nature of our defeat on Saturday was bitterly disappointing and all too familiar, but at the same time, the football we were playing and the chances we were creating seemed to be a marked improvement on last season. The squad has improved in terms of unity and belief, but the same old idiotic tendencies remain, as illustrated perfectly in the defeat at Old Trafford, with Abou Diaby opting to play like Mr Hyde, as opposed to the Dr Jekyll we saw him as at home to Pompey.

    The win at Celtic Park was a sign that the squad had matured, as was the all round performance which should have brought three points at Old Trafford. Those games have given me genuine hope that we could land silverware this year. Was Wenger stupid and naïve not to have bought in the window? Possibly, time will tell. For now though, we have a good set of fixtures coming up and hopefully we can get our title challenge back on track because the position we are in now means that there is not much room for dropping points from here on in.

    I think we have to keep the faith, and now is as good a time as any to reinforce that need, but I just have a feeling that that patience, and the supporters who follow the ‘In Arsene We Trust’ way of thinking could be about to be rewarded. The team just need to transfer the feelings of injustice created by the idiocy of the English press, UEFA and Emmanuel Adebayor into increased unity on the pitch. I believe there is a real underdog mentality brewing at the club, which hasn’t been present before, and that this new edge could be incredibly beneficial a few months down the line.

  • Mehedi

    Look, 4get about ade. i don’t think he was a arsenal type of player.
    Because the way we play, we need a strong box player.
    Some one like huntaler. RVP alone will not work. Every awsome move will come to nothing if someone doesn’t gonna score.
    I still can’t figure out why arsene left out adu against city.
    We need to do some thing about our stike force.

    What do you say guys>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

  • AJ

    I still feel like this is going to be our season despite two loses to the Mancs, I’m keeping the faith, I may at times have a go and say things I don’t mean, but I’m 100% Arsenal through the bad and good times. Also I have read that Rosicky will start tonight, thats good if he does, I’m glad we have him back. And yes I agree with you Mehedi, we need someone who is a fox in the box, but we have that, Eduardo, just need to get him playing again.

  • harry

    I see the over-the-pond-life are here in force. We have an 80 year old Canadian telling us to make more noise-, well grandad, I certainly do when I go and I never boo, so stop dribbling over your satellite tv and stick to facts and his pal m’oshea saying he always answers football questions! Let’s try the lying cowboy out.1.Why do we have small, lightweight flair players in abundance but no midfielders who can tackle? 2.Why persist in playing Diaby and now Bendtner on the wing? 3.Why do we never have any width in our play and invariably continue to play through the congested midfield? 4.Why has the defensive midfielder we desperately need not been found after 18 months?5.Why are the useless Senderos and Silvestre our back-up centre halves?6.Why does Wenger invariably put on a substitute after 75 minutes,whatever the state of the game, and its quite often the deplorable Eboue who messes things up- in the old days it would be Cygan for Bergkamp ?7.Why were Arshavin and Song left out against Chelsea in the Cup? 8. Why does Wenger persist in playing people out of position-(Diaby, Bendtner and even Nasri as a defensive lynchpin)? 9.Why have our tactics and form invariably been pathetic away in Europe? 10.Why did Wenger play reserves in the Cup away to United two years ago, the loss starting our fall from grace? 11. Why has he continued with the less than average Almunia,when others like Given were available? 12.Why is there no experience, steel and leadership in our team? Why are you still on this site, when you have nothing to contribute, not one iota of football knowledge, are happy and complacent with keeping fourth spot- shouldn’t you be supporting West Ham or Spurs- they’re happy at continuing to be average? Most of these were put up in May- You replied that it was easy to refute them all, eg. we beat AC Milan away! You couldn’t answer the rest- come on yee haw!

  • Berth

    Harry; am not quite sure of the blog – to answer a few question, The blog sounds like we have too many problems. I personaly have tried to analyise our problem or “problems” and I realize that other teams have their own problems too; and as a research student, the solution we normally bring to solve too many problems is to acknowledge your problem, develop your strenght and use your strenght to compensate for the problems.

    Manu surely had their problems last season and they still do now, same as liverpool and chelsea; so ……………

  • Berth

    Stop moaning and concentrate on what the players we have can do for us; Diaby has been in the club for over 4years now, Bendtner in his 3rd senior year; if Wenger thinks he is always right playing Diaby, lets allow him;may be when the grave gets deeper he will notice.

  • Debs

    Rosicky and Eduardo are starting! Awesome! Please no injuries afterwards! :)

  • Josiah

    Come on gunners!

  • Leeroy.N

    I see Ade and Man citeh decided not to try and ice skate uphill. The classiest thing they have done since they became so rich. HAHA!!

    JOSIAH – Really? That’s a boost in the right direction. I’m lad they are starting. Hopefully it will have more of a 4-4-2 feel to it now. That would be best IMO. Come on you Gunners!!

    Win, Lose or Draw.. Gooner Til I Die!

  • Leeroy.N


  • JDD

    confirmed line-up

    eboue gallas vermalen cilchy
    diaby song fabregas
    eduardo bendtner eduardo

  • JDD


  • Pete


    Mannone, Eboue, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Diaby, Fabregas, Song Billong, Rosicky, Eduardo, Bendtner.

    Subs: Szczesny, Sagna, Ramsey, Silvestre, Wilshere, Gibbs, Watt.

    So Rosicky starts :) WOOHOO!

    Anyone got a working stream link?

  • zohaib

    JDD – we have 2 Eduardo’s ? Cool

  • Pete

    Actually the ref is called Eduardo too lol.

  • zohaib

  • devday

    2-1…… Bendtner scores just before half time!