WTTGT Writer: Devon James Andre Halls
The Champions League is back! After months of waiting, it finally here. February 14th is over, the time for men has arrived, and it brings Heineken and pizza and other niceties. As usual we seem to have stumbled across the hardest team possible and nothing but a top class performance from our boys will get the job done tonight. The away leg is always the hardest and they’ll consider it vital that they keep a clean sheet, but our aim according to Wenger is to dirty those sheets as much as possible. The away goals rule was designed to encourage attacking play away from home, and no Arsenal team under Arsene Wenger will shy away from that challenge, regardless of opposition.
We have in fact done very well at the San Siro in recent times, playing there last in the 07/08 season and winning 2-0 against a side that won the Champions League the year before. Late goals from Fabregas and Adebayor sealed the victory, but it is interesting to note the differences personnel that we have available. I believe that Sagna and Walcott are the only two that will feature this evening that also played there 4 years ago, with the other players making their San Siro debut for Arsenal. Van Persie was an unused substitute, but if I had to make a guess then I’d say he’ll make the starting 11 tonight.
Onto current team news and the horror injury to Per Mertesacker (I refer you to Google images or twitter if you haven’t already seen the damage) means that we’ll be without his services tonight, which gives the manager something of a selection crisis; Gibbs is back and fit enough to play, but will he start his first game since November against AC Milan? I think Wenger may be considering play Coq at left back because of his superior match fitness, as he stated in his pre game interview that Vermaelen will definitely be moved back to his preferred position in the centre of defence. For me, the Verm-Koscielny partnership is our strongest as they’re both exceedingly quick and strong on the ground and hold their own in aerial contests too. I think once we have Gibbs and Santos (remember him) playing every game at left back, Kos and Verm will be the starting partnership. Gibbs return really couldn’t have come at a better time with Wenger attesting that Merts will be out for at least a month while specialists are consulted. He’s gone back to see the German doctor who performed his ankle reconstruction before we signed him, so hopefully he’ll provide us with a better prognosis. Based on the photo though, I can’t see it being less than a month. Fair play to him for lasting 5 months of the season before the Arsenal injury bug hit. When Arsenal players get injured, they get injured properly!
We were treated to a few words from one Kevin Prince Boateng earlier in the week, who claimed that Arsenal “don’t have balance” and “don’t know what they’re doing”. Now I’m sure that none of you really care what a Tottenham/Pompy reject has to say on anything, and one can assume that anyone with “Prince” in their name is a) a moron and b) so far up himself that you’d struggle to work out where he began and ended. It is often said that pride comes before the fall, but it also comes before the victory (Catalonian chumps will verify this) , so however derogatory and conceited his words sound there’s only one way for us to shut him up, and that’s by taking a victory back to The Emirates. Arsenal expects every man to so his duty, to keep calm and carry on, and to quash this Italian rebellion. In fact we have a sensational record against the Italians over the last 7 years, and have booted AC Milan, Roma, Juventus and Udinese out of the competition, so history is on our side. Oh yes and we beat Inter 5-1 at their place too, we’ve been smashing teams way before any idiots from Shite Hart Lane were.
Ok that’s pretty much it in terms of a preview, check back for player ratings and other opinions from our writers.
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