Daily Archives: September 13, 2011
Arsenal made history for being the first English team to finish fourth in a two-horse race last season and had to face the grueling task of qualification from the play-offs.
After successfully defeating Udinese over two legs, Arsenal booked a six-match date with Olympiakos, Olympique Marseille and tonight’s host, Borussia Dortmund.
Wenger signed five players on the final day in the transfer window and unveiled three to the Arsenal faithful when his team faced Swansea last weekend.
His new boys gave a good account of themselves with the rest of the team and two of them have expressed their delight in wearing the Red and White for the first time.
Both players were very impressive in their Arsenal starts and Laurent Koscielny has ran out of superlatives for his defensive partner Mertesacker. He says that Per will be vital for Arsenal’s cause this season:
“He’s a very good defender with a lot of experience. He’s a German international and is going to be very important for us on the pitch.”
“He’s very tall, which is good for our defensive side and he’ll help me on the pitch with defensive corners.”
Mertesacker’s experience is going to be very helpful to Arsenal in the business end of the season and I’m pretty sure that he’ll come up with the goods when Arsenal needs him.
Andrey Arshavin is another player that found his mojo in the game against Swansea and he has come out to say that Arsenal can move forward:
“To be honest, I would like to avoid talking about history like the Manchester United game but it happens. All we can do now is to go forward.”
“It was important to take our first three points. Now we can move up and look forward to the next game”
He also talked about his lucky but well taken goal against Swansea:
“To be honest, I didn’t see what happened. When I turned around, I saw the ball in front of me. I just had to hit it properly.”
“I did well and the ball ended up in the net.”
With Arsenal short of options in the middle of the park, speculations are emerging that Arshavin could be given a starting berth in the hole behind the front three, a position he favored in his days at Zenit.
Arsene Wenger won’t be available to hand out instructions to his players because of his touch line ban but he has reiterated that his ban won’t affect Arsenal’s preparations:
“Overall, there is no difference until we arrive at the stadium. It’s not ideal in the first game, especially because I don’t understand anymore what the rules are.”
“I didn’t do anything wrong. “I just did what I was told I could do. I asked before the game what I could do. If I wanted to do something forbidden.”
“I would not have shown it openly. I still don’t understand why I am suspended but [then] I didn’t understand why I was suspended the first time.”
Wenger also told the media Vultures that this is one of his toughest groups since he arrived in the club in 1996.
As a fervent Arsenal fan, I’ve seen a lot of group stage matches played in Highbury and the Emirates but the teams in this group can’t be compared to the 2002/03 group stages that had the likes of PSV Eindhoven and AS Roma in the group.
Gilberto Silva scored Arsenal’s fastest goal till date in the 4-0 victory against PSV at the Philips Stadion while Thierry Henry scored his Champions League away hattrick when Arsenal visited the Stadio Olimpico in Italy.
Dortmund is a very exciting side that has a very balanced team and it’s flooded with promising youngsters that took the Bundesliga by storm last season.
The old hag Roman Weidenfeller orchestrates the defense from his goal while Neven Subotic is among one of the most sought-after defenders in the business.
Their midfield is blessed with talented youngsters like Sven Bender, Shinji Kagawa and the man-machine Mario Gotze. Robert Lewandowski and Lucas Barrios offer them firepower upfront.
Every team has its talisman and that responsibility has fallen to Mario Gotze’s able shoulders. Wenger was quick to note that Arsenal must shackle Gotze to get something out of the game:
“He links well with his strikers and we have to keep quiet. The best way to keep him quiet is for us to attack.”
To team news, Wojciech Szczesny is one player that is looking forward to the clash against Dortmund. He said that he wants his fair share of revenge after he was ridiculed by his Polish teammates:
“There has been a little bit, I’m not going to lie.”
“I think two of them will be playing on Tuesday and the one who was the loudest, Jakub, will be on the bench.
“They’ve been taking the mickey out of the 8-2 defeat but they can’t get into my head. I will be focused. I hope after the game I will be the one who comes out on top with the banter.”
He’ll definitely have a point to prove tonight so a clean sheet will be very important to Arsenal because it would ensure that the club avoids a defeat with a draw and a win the only possible outcomes.
Bacary Sagna will play at right back and Andre Santos could be in line for a debut in a spectacle like the Champions League. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny will pair up at the heart of Arsenal’s defense.
In the midfield, Abou Diaby, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky have been out but Aaron Ramsey has joined the injury list. However, Wenger believes that Arsenal can cope with his loss for tonight’s crunch match.
Alexandre Song is back from suspension so he’ll be sent right to the squad to play alongside Mikel Arteta. Everybody will be guessing who the third man is going to be with the likes of Andrey Arshavin and Yossi Benayoun being the likely options but Wenger might opt for more steel in the middle so Emmanuel Frimpong might be given a nod.
Gervinho will also be fresh from his two week break so a lot will be expected of him tonight. Walcott will provide wit and guile down the right while Robin van Persie will lead the line as well as his team.
Sagna – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Andre Santos
Frimpong – Arteta – Song
Walcott – RVP – Gervinho
Enjoy the game wherever you are.
In going to gear up my Guinness kit and I’ll Guinnessify myself.
I’m going to play with a Harp that’s shaped the insignia on the crown cork of the Guinness.
I’ll also start drinking by 17.59hrs.
Enough with the Guinness jokes.
Here’s to Arthur……Arsenal.
Come to think of it, Rosicky missed his homecoming 😦
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