The champions league is back and it’s a big match day too. At stake tonight is qualification to the knockout stage and a win would mean we go through top of our group. You’d like to think we’ve learnt our lesson from last year about why topping the group is slightly advantageous. The task at hand is by no means a formality as we face a Dortmund team full of confidence after beating the Bayern Munich 1-0 in their own back yard. Dortmund need to win their two remaining games to qualify for the next stage so expect them to be ready to battle for their lives.
Right enough worrying about ze Germans, we’re not exactly in the worst form going into this game. 5 league wins in a row but more importantly we’ve got our mojo back. We’re now watching at Arsenal team who are more direct in attack, not afraid to use very competent and pacey wingers; a central trio who are working in tandem with each other in front a stable line and a striker who’s not playing too bad right now I must say. The negative amongst you (and there are a few out there!) will point to the Mertesacker mistake versus Norwich as proof we’re defensively poor, not true. Mertesacker made a mistake, caught in two minds and got punished. Sky would have you believe he’s the new Bramble but for the rest of the game he was calm and controlled. With Vermaelen back and Santos growing in confidence in every game, the team can trust this defence.
My personal favourite man, Szczesney agrees:
“I can feel the improvement in defence. I think it has been the defensive work from the whole team; starting with the strikers, midfielders, defenders and myself.”
“Being vocal is my job, my job as a keeper is to talk to my defenders,”
“I feel like they trust in me, and when I say something they listen. I am just doing my job.”
Dortmund won’t come and sit deep waiting to attack us on the break, they’ll close out build up play down like Marseille did but when they have possession of the ball, they come at us. We need to make sure we’re careful in possession and ensure Gervinho and Walcott are always exploiting their pace in behind their defence. I wrote a couple of weeks ago on here that the balance Gervinho and Theo offer gives us a far greater attacking dimension than we’ve had for a couple of years. They both switch wings with comfort and are a real threat when they pop up in the centre forward position. With Ramsey’s confidence growing in every game, I’m looking forward to a game of real quality. I think we’ll be unchanged from the team that beat Norwich with Diaby on the bench for the first time this season, great news for the big man who’s got the talent but cruel luck with injuries.
The Dortmund danger man, Gotze, has been our papers recently with The Arsenal apparently pushing for £30million move in January, mind games or some truth? Who knows.
Enjoy the game everyone… feel free to post score predictions!
Come on The Arsenal!
On twitter – @tottz82