Firstly poor Abou Diaby is out for a period after Paul Robinson's shocking tackle, it would not surprise me if this turns out to be weeks, the fact that he could barely move his leg after the game does not bode for a quick return. Arsene says he is out til after the weekend at an absolute minimum. For those of you who need reminding as to the reckless and violent nature of the tackle, it can be seen here.
A lot of stupid stuff has been said since the Bolton game. The familiar 'it's a man's game' and 'you can't make a tackle any more' have been repeated ad infinitum by those with the coherence of mad man's fruitcake. There are rules of the game that make it very clear that tackling should not endanger the opponent, both Cahill's and Robinson's tackles clearly overstepped that mark. Quite rightly and contrary to what several Bolton fans expected Gary Cahill has had his ban upheld by the FA, in fact he is quite lucky it hasn't been extended by another game. Still there has been the odd Bolton fan who thinks that Coyle deliberately appealed to get Cahill the extra match ban as he reckons he's sh*te, you've got to respect that kind of insight.
Braga, also known as the Arsenalistas due to their red and white colours, are no mugs, getting past Sevilla is no mean feat, even though they were without the mighty Monsieur Squillaci! Arsene seems to think that they're well organised, very Brazilian influenced which must mean technical proficience and good on the counter attack. They also finished above Porto in the league last year, although they did lose 3-2 to Porto at the weekend. Arsene also reiterated that this is no easy group, as always winning the home games is crucial.
Arsene did also have some interesting things to say on the refereeing in Europe, how English referees act differently in European games and how much he prefers the English game to the European game. He talked of the fine balance between the over-protection of players and the overly physical, something that has been discussed much here and elsewhere in recent days. He must have been thinking of Paul Robinson when he talked the English game sometimes going too far when players go in to injure their opponents. Like Arsene I have no problem with commitment and safe firm tackles, the problem comes when tackling becomes dangerous and reckless, this is often irrelevant of the ball being won.