How important is a positive result tonight? Is it more important than a win at Everton? Is it more important than the 3 points last saturday?
I ask the question because how many of you believe we have any chance of winning the Big Cup? Oh, come on ….. you are just saying that to be contrary! You know that the bookies odds of 20/1 are reasonable and just tempting enough to ensure some people will have a punt and thus line the pockets of already mega-rich bookmakers.
So, given the debilitating effect of the CL on our Premiership aspirations, why do we care whether we advance tonight? Perhaps we should send out the B team and keep the lads fresh for Saturday.
Just kidding 🙂 I love the Champions League even though I doubt we will win it in my lifetime.
And what of tonight? Another visit to Turkey where we did so well last season. I have to admit I was delighted when we drew Besiktas, thinking any team which comes third in the Turkish league must be totally pants, well it seems I had done no research as Besiktas have form. Unbeaten at home in 15 games, beating Feyenoord and signing a man whom we were linked with just a year ago is evidence of quality, however the Turkish season has yet to start and Besiktas lost to Wigan in one of the pre-season friendlies. Furthermore, Besiktas are only in the CL thanks to Fenerbahce being banned for match fixing, that said Arsenal will have to play well to get a result.
Given our track record in the CL qualifiers I have faith. I can just imagine the scenes at Besiktas when they drew us – all their fans and club members must have been praying “anyone but Arsenal” and then put on a smiley face for the cameras whilst thinking “we are doomed to the effing Europa again!”
Team news is a mixed bag, Koscielny is fit enough to travel, Gibbs and Sanogo are not. The Gibbs injury is a concern as he has had a full pre-season and should be at 100% fitness, given Gibbs injury history this could easily result in Mr Wenger looking for a new left back next summer (or even earlier).
Chambers will almost certainly play alongside Kos tonight. What a 10 days for the 19 y.o. An appearance at Wembley, a home debut and now a CL appearance all (so far) completed with aplomb. The hopes for him are ratcheted higher with each game. Tonight he faces Demba Ba, a quality striker who somewhat surprisingly finds himself in the Turkish league. Serves him right as he took the pieces of gold from Chelsea without giving any consideration to his future, though €6m seems cheap for a striker with PL experience.
I would like to see Rosicky start tonight, he is a better tackler than Cazorla and better suited to an away leg. Jack needs to play regularly and get past a poor performance vs Palace. Giroud will surely start given the lack of both Sanogo and Walcott.
I hope Mr Wenger doesn’t get too defensive and play Flamini ahead of Wilshere, he has done so in the past and returning to the Emirates with a clean sheet is important but I would prefer we focus upon our attack rather and bring on the Flamster at 70 mins.
Debuchy Chambers Koscielny Monreal
Ramsey Wilshere Arteta
Sanchez Giroud Rosicky
Please note that when picking the team in the format above it does not mean I expect us to play 4-3-3 – our team is so flexible I do not believe there is any one method of play and as any regular AA reader knows Raddy is hopeless with tactics.
We know Besiktas have fanatical fans, we know the pitch will be rubbish, we know the ref will be a homer but we should have enough to come back home with a positive result
written by Big Raddy