Evening guys… it’s Champions League Wednesday today and tonight it’s a clash between our beloved Arsenal and AZ Alkmaar at the Emirates. I’m still on my US tour, so won’t be around to watch or comment on the game (I’m boarding a flight in a couple of hours, so by the time I land, the game will be over)… so I am relying on some detailed info in the comments section!
Team news ahead of the game sees both Tomas Rosicky and Samir Nasri named in the squad, along side Eduardo, Van Persie and Arshavin, which means that it’s going to be hard to predi who will start tonight. Of course, the news that Clichy is out until the end of the year is a big blow – our back four was looking semi settled. But of course, having Kieran Gibbs in reserve is a thing not many other clubs have – and Traore in reserve for Gibbs.
Although we drew our last, a home win and an away win already in the competition means that depending on other results, a win tonight could see us qualify for the next round and the game, being at the Emirates, may allow us to rotate the squad a little, but not too much.
Here’s my team prediction:
Eboue – Gallas – Vermaelen – Gibbs
Ramsey – Diaby
Arshavin – Cesc – Eduardo
With a bench of Mannone, Silvestre, Senderos, Song, Sagna, Rosicky and Nasri.
I’m not I’m not 100% correct as I haven’t managed to get an indication of whether Arsene wants to try Nasri out from the start or bring him on later on in the game. Arsene spoke pre match and summarised tonight’s game…
“I still believe AZ have a substantial chance to go through [from Group H]. At Olympiacos I felt they were unlucky to lose the game.
“I watched this game carefully and they were a bit unlucky. They had the best chances, good possession and then, against Standard, they got caught back late in the game. So they have shown the potential to qualify.
“It will be very tight until the end. Olympiacos now go away twice to Standard and to Alkmaar. I feel these two games will make the decision on who goes through.”
“Tomas had a small injury this time but you expect that,” said Wenger. “He played three games in a week after he came back but he manages to resist now. As for Nasri, I’m not sure whether I will play him or not. It’s his first game so I don’t know.”
“It is good to go through early,” he said. “However we want to finish first in the group and that will not be done tonight. Yet we can make the first step – win and qualify.
“That will be a big leap but you know we were warned at Alkmaar that this team has quality and that, in my opinion, they focus highly on the Champions League.
“Maybe a bit too much if you look at their position in the league but they have won the League last year and from what I have seen in the last game I believe we want to go into the game focused 100 per cent.
“For our part, we have to show that we can focus every three days, we can play for each other all along the season and we can prepare every game with the same kind of conscientious attitude.
“That’s a lot of things to accomplish. But it is all in front of us and, for example, in this game we have to show that we can go into the game with the same seriousness that we have done on Saturday.”
So, boys and girls, it’s all about qualification to the Champions League tonight, let’s see what the boys are made on… cheer them on, as many comments as possible welcome!!