First things first……
Congratulations to Mr. Wenger on his 18th Arsenal Anniversary. You do not look like a man who enjoys a cream cake and a bottle of Asti Spumante so instead we will take the cheap route and send best wishes.
What a fantastic ride it has been from the DB10 years, through the TH14 years and now onto the DW23 era. Thank you.
“I left the Afghan coat in the 2CV”
Right, let’s get onto what will be a difficult game. It would be a tough one had we been on form and given our inability to find cohesion this season …. yadda yadda yadda.
Galatasary are only in the competition because their city rivals and league champions Fenerbahce were very bad boys and not allowed to play in the CL so the Turkish runners-up took their place. They like Italian managers and have employed both Mancini and Prandelli over the past season – we can expect a compact, counter attacking team. They have some fine players including the mercurial (read unreliable) Sneijder. In Yilmaz and Pandev they have strikers who will cause problems to our brave lads but as always in CL games at The Emirates it will be the quality of the opposition defence which will determine tonight’s result.
And talking of defensive quality, let’s talk Eboue. Tonight should have seen his return to his real home club but instead poor Emmanuel will be sitting elsewhere. His star has faded in Turkey and as far as I can find out Eboue hasn’t even travelled with the squad. Apparently he has been relegated to the reserves. What a shame. It would have been great to hear “You’ve only come to see Eboue” sung once more at THOF.
Onto The Arsenal. Much is made of our injury record and with good cause. Just a few games into the season and we have already lost 4 first team starters (and Diaby is being rested for tonight 😀 ). It must be hugely frustrating for Mr, Wenger to see his squad depleted year after year. However, as always it gives opportunities for others to shine and a few games for the Ozil/Alexis combo to fire.
With so many midfield and attacking options picking a team is guesswork but …
Hard to leave out Cazorla who is such a marvellous player. Perhaps my line-up is too attacking though Alexis is very good at tracking back and helping the midfield. It will be fascinating to see how the team sets up when Walcott returns in just a few weeks.
Against Spurs Ox had a fine game and I expect him to continue his good form tonight. Last season’s injury robbed him of a breakthrough year; at almost 21 he is on the path to super-stardom and a run of games will convince Mr Wenger that The Ox is undroppable (hopefully!). AW predicted that Ox will be a central midfielder …. we shall see.
I am always loathe to predict a victory but if Arsenal are to progress we have to win tonight. 10 points is the target and given the drubbing we got in Dortmund we cannot assume we will beat them at home (of course we will BR – you doomer), so a win and a draw away plus two home victories will be enough.
A win tonight will set us up for a tough game at Chelsea. It will also give a boost to the fans at the Emirates who are starting to lose the feel-good factor left over from the FA Cup win.
On an Anniversary night Let it be So.
written by Big Raddy