Wednesday 16 September 2009

Liege Preview

Pre-match posts are almost pointless given that we all kind of expect to beat Liege tonight, we know very little about our opposition, and the overriding feeling is that things are still a bit low in the Arsenal camp following consequtive defeats in Manchester.

Objectively, the team news is not good. Almunia, RVP, Denilson, Arshavin, Nasri, Walcott, Fabianski, Djourou, Vela are all out. Its not great to go into a Champs League away game with a third choice keeper playing, but otherwise we have enough strength in the squad to find a decent XI. It would seem nailed-on that Bennnnnndtner and Eduardo will play up front, maybe with Diaby, or maybe we revert back to 4-4-2. I am frankly surprised that Rosicky made the trip but then I guess we are down to the bare bones.

More subjectively, the Belgian league is shite and Standard Liege are now a pale imitation of the team that pushed Liverpool close in the qualifiers last year. But as I said, that simply the view of an optimist who thinks we should be too good on the night for the moule-frite brigade.

The availability of Eboue to play wide right, perhaps Diaby on the left, with Cesc and Song in the middle, would pose a nice return to a four man midfield. However, I would not be surprised to see us lining up with a 5 man midfield tonight, maybe with Bennnndtner dropping to a wing, in the usual half-arsed somewhat chaotic approach that we take to European away leags.

Chelsea and ManUre squeezed narrow victories last night in games that they barely deserved to win. It would be nice to think that Arsenal can do the same tonight. That said, I think a 3-3 thriller is more likely with our lot.

Come on you Gunners!


Anonymous said...

The bookies are tipping a score draw. Looks a good bet.

Its also rumoured that Rosicky will start.

Ted said...

Looks like Rosicky is confirmed to start and that we will play 4-4-2.

Obsinho said...

Closer call than expected - the 3-3 all wasn't far off. We really have to learn not to switch off at key moments, we have conceded goals in the last few games when nine of our competitors would. We need to learn from the lesson and fast.

Still, nice to get a win and should give the players a timely boost.

Rhinogooner said...

Wow. Unbelievable. Call me plastic, but we are pants.

I'm relieved we won. But I have no confidence in this squad. I don't see anything that tells me we've improved since last season.

Prior to kickoff, I didn't know what to think about this match. I didn't feel the usual blind hope and confidence that we'd win this match. And I couldn't figure out why because I usually feel confident that we're going to win solidly before most every match, even when we're on a slide.

I said it last season and I'm going to say it again - the most important position we need to improve in is defensive coach.

We don't even show a grasp of the basics of fundamental defensive play. I would certainly trade a bit of our skill for some footballing intelligence, grit and guts.

Our players are protected from all criticism and pampered endlessly. It's time to get a bit rough with them. Some players need to know they're positions are not safe. Mr. Wenger's pecking order needs to be thrown out the window.

We are not mentally strong as is often purveyed. And we do not possess a winning mentality. I do not think we can develop either of those without bringing in some players who already have them and can pass it along to the younger players.

Yes I'm having a moan after having watched poor display. But it feels better to vent my spleen to all of you than to suffer my miserable attitude by myself ;-)

Anonymous said...

its the kind of win everyone complains we never get - dirty.

we played like crap and still won somehow. kinda like Man Utd.

Very nice says I. we've lost two recently we should have won (or at least drawn). its nice to pull out a victory, on the road, and after being down 2-0.


Uncle Mike said...

First time I've ever gotten to sing the "Two-nil, and you f(oul)ed it up!" song for a Champions League match.

Awful first half. I believe the technical term is "rubbish." Someone must've told Bendtner, "This isn't the 45th minute, it's the 90th," because he played like it was Bendtner Time.

And how sweet is it that Eduardo, who wasn't even supposed to play, got not just the winning goal but a tremendous break? The governing bodies owe us a few.

Mannone: Abominable first 5 minutes, good last 89. Showed the same kind of character Gibbs showed last season following his embarrassment against Man U. I think he's earned another shot.

Forgive a cliche, but... End the Eboue Experiment Already! And if you can pack off Diaby, too, great!

We were lucky... but it counts for three points all the same, and whenever you can go into a national champion's house -- even if the nation is Belgium -- and come out with a win, it's good.