Time to get back on track: Standard preview

In Arsenal FC, Champions League 2009/10 on November 24, 2009 by Highbury N5 Editor

After the defeat at Sunderland on Saturday attention has mainly focussed on the game with Chelsea next week, but at the moment that is the least of our worries as Arsenal entertain Standard Liege at the Grove tonight. A strong confidence boosting performance is vital ahead of the big game on Sunday but expect a few changes with some of the players who went away for the internationals a couple of weeks ago given a rest.

I’d expect Carlos Vela to start, maybe alongside Eduardo who needs a goal to boost his confidence, Denilson may come in for Alex Song but I’d expect Cesc to start and Samir Nasri to fill in the other midfield slot. The battle for the right will be fought out between Rosicky and Walcott, I think Rosicky will start with Walcott getting 30 minutes or so to pick up some sharpness before the weekend.

Be under no illusions, the boss wants to win tonight and to top the group, giving us the chance for a slightly easier draw in the start of the knockout rounds:

“You feel at the start we were favourites, so if we finish top, it will be like ‘job done’,”

“If you are second in the group, you could have a disadvantage in the draw for the next stage, and you do not want that.”

The minimum requirement should be winning the group, we are much better than any of the teams in the group, and I mean no disrespect when I say that.

As Wenger says though, we do have to be wary of this Standard team, they have a habit of raising their game away from home and tonight we will have to be careful not to get caught cold like last time out in Belgium.

Cesc was up for interview duty yesterday and he made some rather nice comments about staying here for the rest of his career, I certainly wouldn’t mind that at all. We all know how good he is and he seems to be loving life here in what is his seventh season already:

“I’m very happy where I am and there is very long season in front of us. The last thing I want to do is get disconnected from what I have to do which is to play football for my team and for the Club that pays me. I’m really looking forward to a great season with Arsenal.”

[The skipper was then asked if he would like to stay for the rest of his career.]

“Why not?” he replied. “I have never thought about it. I’m only 22. You never know what your career will bring but why not? I’m in my seventh season now and I’m really happy, better than ever.”

Those seven years sure have gone fast, I can still remember when he burst onto the scene as a 16/17 year old, he is not one of the very best players in the world and he is only 22 years old. He can become one of the greats in my view.

Hopefully tonight we see some real desire and urgency because we were really lacking that on Saturday, despite already almost guaranteed progression into the next round it would be nice to see the lads really go out there and play like their lives depend on it to at least heal a bit of the weekends disappointment.

I will be out when the game is on but hopefully I’ll catch the end of it, heres to an encouraging result.

More tomorrow.


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