A win would be nice but not conceding would be better – Walcott, Eboue or Diaby?

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The focus today is of course the Champions League first-leg tie between Arsenal and Liverpool to be played at Emirates Stadium later tonight. It is the first time these two English clubs have played each other in European competition and while recent Chelsea-Liverpool matches in the Champions League have been woeful, I can hardly see the match between Arsenal and Liverpool going the same way. Indeed, it should be a pacy, exciting, hard fought match in which the home side will be searching for a goal and a clean sheet and the away side will be after a sneaky away goal or two.

How will Theo Walcott be used by Wenger?Arsenal should welcome back Emmanuel Adebayor to the starting lineup after a much-needed rest against Bolton and the big man will surely start alongside Robin van Persie up front. It’s a menacing combination that – for the first time since the Dutchman’s return from injury – will see both players at the peak of their powers. Indeed, van Persie has now had three games to get rid of any cobwebs while Adebayor’s time on the bench will see him absolutely raring to go. Even if neither of them score, I’m expecting the pair to cause the Liverpool defence a huge amount of trouble.

The back four should be the same quadruple that started against Bolton; Kolo Toure and Gael Clichy on the right and left respectively with Philippe Senderos and William Gallas in the middle, while Manuel Almunia will surely continue in goals. Alexander Hleb, Mathieu Flamini and Cesc Fabregas are also certainties to start in the midfield, which leaves one spot up for grabs for the likes of Emmanuel Eboue, Theo Walcott and weekend villian Abou Diaby to fight over. It will be interesting to see who the manager picks, especially considering the comments he made yesterday about the impact that Walcott has been making of late.

“Theo has made a big impact every time he’s come on at the moment. I’ll use him sometimes with him coming on. Other times I’ll start with him. I will see. The first game will decide a lot.”

Hmm. Will he start? Will he come on as an impact player? It’s all very confusing. A lot of people would probably want the youngster to take the field from the very beginning tomorrow night but I’d probably be happier for Diaby or Eboue to start. Playing a 4-4-2 with two out-and-out strikers as opposed to the 4-5-1 that was employed in both legs against Milan suggests to me that a slightly more defensive-minded wide midfielder is probably the go tomorrow. At this stage, Walcott could hardly call himself that, so it’s Eboue or Diaby for me please Arsene, even despite the rubbish that the pair often cop from supporters.

Everybody is aware of Liverpool’s dangerman and the Arsenal defence will have to play very well to keep Fernando Torres off the scoresheet tonight. The Spaniard – who, incidentally I tipped not to flop when he joined Liverpool at the start of the season – has been in immaculate form of late and is one of the few men in Benitez’s side who has the ability to create a goal out of nothing. The other man who can do just that is Liverpool’s captain, Steven Gerrard, and Arsenal defender Toure has pointed out that shutting down the link between the two men on the field will be the best way to prevent Liverpool posing an attacking threat.

“Torres is a really good player, but if he does not have a really good Gerrard then the game will be much easier for us. They understand each other – the way they play, the way they pass the ball, the way they move and that is what we will be looking to stop.”

If the defence do stop Torres and Gerrard then I feel Arsenal have every chance of walking away with a one or two-goal advantage from the first leg. For all of Liverpool’s excellent recent performances in the Champions League and Benitez’s European know-how I just think that this tie suits this particular Arsenal side and I can see them getting through. In terms of a respectable result, any win without conceding would be perfect for Arsenal, while a 0-0 would be quite a decent result as well. As always, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

What do you think?

Have your say on Arsenal’s big game with Liverpool by leaving a comment.


18 thoughts on “A win would be nice but not conceding would be better – Walcott, Eboue or Diaby?

  1. Almunia
    Adebayor-Van Persie
    Arsenal 4 – Liverpool 1

  2. Liverpool are on form at the moment, but i really fancy us tonight, i think we will score a few goals. I just hope our defense keeps a cleen sheet.. 2-0.. or a 3-1 tonight to the Arsenal.. Walcott to come off the bench and cause havoc once again.

    Come on the Arsenal…!

  3. It will be an exciting game with gunners winning by 3-2 or 2-1…I dont think Gallas and Senderos will shut down Torres and the likes…Adeb and RVP will cause problems to Skertel and others as well…

    Key Contests:

    1) Toure v/s Babel…..Babel is very pacy and without Sagna it is tough for Toure..Babel to win..
    2) Adeb v/s Skertel….Adeb will win this..Skertel is decent but does lot of sliding tackles..we might get a penalty too…
    3) Torres v/s Gallas…Torres to marginally win..
    4) Cesc v/s Alonso…..Cesc to outwit Alonso..
    5) Flamini v/s Gerrard…Flamini to win..Gerrard getting frustrated and even get a card (hoping it will be a RED.)

    Even if 3 of our above mentioned players win the battle, we will win the league…
    take my word..I feel Clichy might score against Livpool…

  4. I expect this:
    Toure Senderos Gallas Clichy
    Eboue Cesc Flam RVP

    4-5-1 Hleb in the hole. walcott to replace Senderos later on with Eboue dropping back.

  5. Bit cocky to expect us to batter them, and to render the tie at Anfield insignificant, as i have heard some people suggest. Wenger and the boys have said nothing of the sort, which is what i fully expect of them. A 0-0 draw wouldn’t be a bad result for us. Keep a clean sheet and i am confident that we can score at Anfield, and even a 1-1 away would take us through.

    lets get this straight; Liverpool are experts in this kind of situation. tyheir record in the CL in recent seasons is as good as anyone else in the world. Luck doesn’t come into it when you can beat Inter, Juve, Barca, Milan, Cheslea twice etc etc.

    All that said, we are a devastatingly effective team when we play well (the media seem to forget that recently) and i thoroughly expect us to win 1-0 or 2-1

  6. Will be watching it at a decent hour in Quito, Ecuador.

    Might vote is for Walcott. The more experience he can get, the better. He is much more accurate on goal than Eboue is.

  7. WHAAAAAA!!!


    We deserved better and the next time a fella gets in the box on me I’ll be sure to grab him on the outside arm.

  8. The talking point after the game was the penalty .Once again a claer cut penalty wasn’t given I don’t know how are we going to get any luck at all.Hleb was fouled by Kuyt in the box and refree had a clear view of it.We had 60% possession and yet failed to capitalise Fabregas was too deep didn’t go forward until the last 10 mimutes we were more dangerous with V.Persie.I don’t think Adebayor and Bendtner partnership works.We conceeded a soft goal. Over all I think we deserved a win but its not over yet I think Liverpool will close the game down at Anfield but we still have a chance. We can score anywhere.We have to be at our best.

  9. the game ended 1-1.. hopefully u will get another 3 goals at Anfield (to make it 4-1!!!)…

  10. @ tom

    I not hate Bendtner but today was the limit, he aport NOthing to the team, Im just counting the days to sell him and bring Huntelaar, Gomez or Benzema…
    (and the same for Eboue)

    anyway we will win the ChampionsLeague

  11. Oh it’s not over. I’m not insinuating that. Hell if we could win at the San Siro I see no reason why we can’t win at Anfield…. AND at the Emirates this weekend for that matter.

  12. I totally agree with Arsene when it comes to the match. How did we not win? A totally dominant performance against a team who were happy just to kick the ball anywhere out of their half… Blatant penalty on Hleb waved away yet again… And Robin van Persie injured again…
    Well, that’s all of the negatives out of the way! Now onto the Emirates on the weekend and Anfield next week! We can win both games without doubt! 🙂

  13. Arsene can blame the ref all he wants,but the ref did not pick that pile of shite Eboue.Why does Wenger keep picking him in front of Theo?Cant he see he does nothing for the team.

    As for RVP the time is coming soon when we have to decide do we keep a play who continues to pick up injuries.With Eduardo already out can we start next season with RVP knowing his injury record

  14. The main reason we lost is because of arsene wengers short sightedness. I mean how do you expect to win silverware with such a slim team. One injury and kolo toure has to go rightback defend. We dont have a team with options, period

    How you gonna sell diara and keep gilberto or ebue? Wenger is losin it. He needs someone to tell him. Three games with liverpool without a win says much. Give man u or chelsea liverpool in three games and they will come out with two wins.

    He should buy players and stop moaning about injuries. Man u and chelsea have stars sitting games out and we should be no different with them. Buy big name players and let them sit the bench. Its sad to put stars on bench but thats football now. You need a team that can last all season.

  15. Theo Walcott is such a good player. I watched his match once and he did really well. I think he might be Arsenal’s top player soon…

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