Partizan vs Arsenal preview: Szczesny in goal anyone? Plus favourite line-up
Written by Chris on September 27, 2010 20:30
Writing after West Brom wasn’t easy especially since I still cannot understand why such a golden opportunity to cut the gap at the top was wasted away like that.
Luckily, the Champions League is also about this. It’s about forgetting a poor performance, a poor result, and make sure to bounce back by showing that there’s still a little bit of dignity and fighting spirit. Incidentally, tomorrow’s game was one where a draw would have been a good result, knowing that Chelsea will be waiting for us on Sunday.
But West Brom changed the script. I want our players to go out there and show that they still care and that they are fully aware of how embarrassing last weekend’s game was. It will not be easy, it will be a hostile environment in Serbia but maybe, this is exactly the wake up call our players need.
As always, my favourite line-up is available towards the end of the page. Remember you can submit your own at Arsenal Interactive and then share it on Twitter and Facebook.
Allow me to expand on two topics before moving on to my favourite line-up. First up, Abou. As you surely know by now, he is not part of the squad for tomorrow’s game with many believing it’s a sort of punishment for failing during the weekend.
I don’t think so. First of all because Arsene Wenger would never do such a thing and secondly because it was clear that Abou was not fit enough to return from injury so it must be a fitness problem.
Now those who read me often will know that I am one of Abou’s admirers. I may not sound like one but believe me, I am, because if he is fit and if he really wants to play, he can one of the most important players in our line-up. But unfortunately, that happens very rarely and in a way I don’t blame him for that, I mean, you fail once, you fail twice, you keep on failing yet you’re still in the starting eleven.
With this approach a player will never understand that he’s not performing, he will never understand that he needs to work harder, that he needs to fight for his place in the team. I believe one thing which lacks in our squad is competition, or better, we have players who could be used to start some nice healthy competition in some areas of the pitch but alas, this is not happening.
It would be interesting, at least for one game, to see a healthy Clichy or a healthy Arshavin warm the bench not because they are not fit but because they are not performing. Many believe the Russian is doing well but I say no, he’s not. By his standards this is a season of highs and lows with more lows than highs and needs to step it up, he is to show he can be as good as a leader as Cesc or Robin.
The On-Going Problem In Goal
One of our readers, last week, was upset because in one of our articles we described Almunia’s season – before WBA that is – as formidable.
As I was reading his comment I was like that’s too harsh, he’s been splendid in goal, showing the right confidence and bossing the penalty area. But then I realised that, in a way, he was right. I don’t want to minimize Manuel’s contribution in goal before WBA but ultimately he just performed the way you would expect any goalkeeper to do.
What other goalkeepers would have surely not done, however, is to concede the way he did, at his near post, which was so painful to watch.
The problem we have back there is very serious. Manuel is not good enough, Lukasz is not good enough, Wojciech is yet to play an official game for Arsenal(this season) and poor Vito – who was superb at Fulham – is now fourth choice. And please don’t get me started on the Italian’s lack of first team action and “killing” players, if you know what I mean.
You think you’re good Wojciech? You think you’re the solution to all our problems at the back? Well then prove it. Arsene said Lukasz will start in goal but in my favourite line-up Wojciech gets the nod.
Needless to say, Kieran Gibbs should start on the left with no other changes at the back. In midfield, there’s no way I would use Jack Wilshere, he simply needs to be fresh and fit for Chelsea. An injury to Jack and we can forget about getting anything away from Stamford Bridge.
Samir Nasri should take the lead in central midfield with Carlos Vela and Tomas Rosicky on the wings and Alex Song sticking to his defensive duties alongside them.
And finally I would move Andrey Arshavin a bit forward just to provide additional support to Marouane. It’s a gamble but an experiment worth a try I believe. It can’t get any worse than WBA, can it?
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes winning tomorrow is a must, as it would the perfect preparation for Sunday’s game against Chelsea.
It is important to get a good result against Partizan Belgrade. First of all, it gives us a good opportunity to qualify if we can then win our home game afterwards.
As well, it is important before going to Chelsea that we have a good performance.
Partizan’s Aleksandar Stanojević is optimistic ahead of the game as he believes our back four are not as good as many believe. And in a way, you cannot say he’s wrong after WBA.
Of course, Arsenal has weakness. Their defence is not so good as many would think.
They simply play in such manner that there is lot of space for any opponent there, and you seize that or not. There are certain things we can take advantage of, but we’ll see if we are able to do so on Tuesday.
With [the] atmosphere we have, I believe we can give our maximum and get a positive result. It’s hard to predict anything.
The Gunning Hawk Coverage
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