Arsenal v Olympiacos
UEFA Champions League, Emirates Stadium
Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 19:45
It’s match day! And the games are back to their twice weekly cycle and before we can digest one game, we’re already previewing the next one. And after our tiresome win over Standard Liege, we’ve got a good old fashioned home game, which really has to be considered a home banker, 3-pointer.
One familiar face in the Olympiacos line up will be ex-Aston Villa Olaf Mellberg and the former Premiership player has been part of a very successful defence, a defence which has only conceded 2 goals in the last 10 games. The player commented ahead of tonight’s game:
“It will be a really tough match,” said the 32-year-old. “We will need to be on top of our game all over the pitch. They’re probably one of the best teams in Europe at playing quick football. We’ve defended well so far this season and we need to do that to stop Arsenal. Going forward they are one of the best sides, not only in England, but in Europe. We played in the first ever game here and I scored the first goal. We got a draw too so it was a good game and I have happy memories of it.”
In terms of team news ahead of the game, news is that we’re planning in giving Tomas Rosicky his first start in a while in a front three with Van Persie and Arshavin, whilst Sagna and Clichy may be rested for Eboue and Gibbs respectively. Theo Walcott and Carlos Vela look set to take part in a closed door friendly against Olympiacos Reserves, which means the likely line up will be:
Eboue – Gallas – Vermaelen – Gibbs
Song – Diaby
Rosicky – Cesc – Arshavin
With a bench of WS (our keeper whose name I can’t spell), Sagna, Clichy, Silvestre, Ramsey, Wilshere and Eduardo.
Ultimately, if we dropped Diaby and played Cesc deeper, moving Rosicky central, Arshavin right and Vela or Eduardo left, we’d probably have a better team, but I’m not the boss and the boss really wants to play Diaby, week in and week out until eventually he becomes good!
I’ll be at the game tonight, so won’t be able to run Match Day Live, but I’m hoping some of the readers watching the game will add a few comments to help others not watching the game know what is going on!
Before I go, a quick excerpt from Arsene regarding the money situation. We made a whopping £35.6m profit this year – and that’s £6m more than last year. In fact, we’ve been making profits every year despite the stadium and despite the service debt. Remember, these numbers are after the debt payment has been made, which makes the situation even more positive…
“It is true there is money and people reproach me for not losing money. It is not a personal thing, it is just that I have a squad that is strong enough to compete. We have worked with the young players and I am at a stage where they are now coming out – Diaby, Denilson, Song, Fabregas, Walcott, Vela, Ramsey. I have so many players and if I buy now in front of them, I will not find better players. I will not have a better team. Look at the two last players we bought – Arshavin and Vermaelen. We have spent money. When we bought Vermaelen was he a big name? Certainly not because nobody knew him. It’s not because I’m against spending money, I have nothing against spending money. But I do not spend money because out of the squad [to face Olympiacos] is Nasri, Walcott and Bendtner. And people want me to buy strikers, but where do I put them? I don’t know. I have to then lose players, who, for me, are world-class. If you are convinced you can maintain your policy and he is the player who makes the difference, then you spend money. But if you buy one player who you have to pay £15million a year, you cannot keep the rest at two [million]. You have to think about the consequences.”
And that’s a good summary of our financial situation, our policy of players and the reality which is the disruption super duper high value players can make. Good on ya Arsene, all we need to do now is win something!!!