Celtic preview + Arsenal FC Weekly Podcast 5: A sensational start to the season

Knocks to Denilson and Cesc should see Diaby slot straight into the team against Celtic

Hello and a very good afternoon to you.

It’s Arsenal FC Weekly Podcast time again today but before that I have a very quick preview of today’s Champions League first-leg qualifier against Celtic in Glasgow.

In terms of team news things are not as good as they could be with Denilson, Bacary Sagna and Cesc Fabregas all facing fitness tests and only Abou Diaby returning. The manager’s comment that Fabregas is “much more” than a 50% chance of playing suggests that he will start however the likelihood of Denilson and Sagna appearing is virtually unknown.

With Diaby returning and Emmanuel Eboue a more-than-adequate replacement for Sagna we shouldn’t be hurt too much by the injuries, although if Fabregas is not passed fit then a midfield containing Alex Song, Aaron Ramsey and the aforementioned Diaby will have to step up.

Arsene Wenger has said he will play the strongest side available and I believe the strong intention from the manager and the team will be to go to Scotland and return with an away win. With the return leg scheduled just three days before a crunch test against Manchester United a win tonight would take a huge amount of pressure of the boys and allow Wenger to do some careful rotating against both Portsmouth on the weekend and Celtic in a week’s time. In saying that it’s not going to be an easy test to beat Celtic at Parkhead, a ground where they are notoriously strong and consistently get good results against more fancied opposition.

I feel that the brilliant weekend win will give the boys the shot in the arm required to go to Scotland and put in another good performance. We should aim to take the sting out of the crowd by keeping the ball and if the likes Song, Vermaelen and Gallas can assert themselves in the same physical manner that they did against Everton then I think our extra quality will see us get a win at Celtic.

I’ll be watching the game on SBS One in Australia (4.30am kick-off) and I’ll be cheering the boys on madly. Come on Arsenal!

Now, onto this week’s Arsenal FC Weekly. It’s a little bit of a different podcast today as Panda’s absence and no guest interviewee means I fly solo throughout. In saying that it should still be quite a good listen as I review the sensational 6-1 win over Everton and look ahead to the Celtic game. Enjoy!


As usual I’d love to hear your feedback and ideas and you can do so by leaving a comment on this post or by contacting me at arsenalfcweekly [at] arsenalfcblog [dot] com (just replace ‘at’ and ‘dot’ with the appropriate symbols).

Cheers, and here’s to a win in Scotland!

Have your say on the Celtic game or the Arsenal FC Weekly’s 5th podcast by leaving a comment.



  1. Its a good morning to all gooners, im looking forward to todays CL game. It will be interesting to c how Celtic handle the Arsenal style of play especially if they try to do what they did to Evtn. Tony Mobery, not sure of spelling, likes his teams to knock the ball about on the ground which means it could be a very entertaining game. The atmosphere will be very intermidating for the team and few thousand Gooners. Lets hope they do the club proud. Good luck boys. Lets get those guns out.

  2. Celtic are big and physical and if Fabregas doesn’t end up playing that will be a blow, but it will be interesting to see how Celtic cope with Arsenal’s passing and athleticism. I don’t think Celtic will be able to handle arsenal, especially Arshavin. I don’t think Celtic will be able to deal with Arshavin’s speed.

  3. What ever men, the boys wont let us down. But this fitness test for Cesc…………. am worried.

  4. Parkhead is going to be a tough place to play in. Celtic is no pushovers but there’s a tinge of cockiness from the comments of Celtic supporters. Most say the Everton result is a fluke, well sure Everton played badly because we made them play badly by pressing them early. Everton thought they could bully and outmuscle us but it was the opposite that happened.

    Celtic will be no different, I know the lads will give their best against the shamrock boys and its only half time tonight.

  5. Anddy,
    Nice podcast, really nice to hear ur voice for the first time, it is really a Radio/Tv materia. congrats and keep doing ur thing.
    As for our game today, wenger will shorely pull out a big rabbit from his hat, so we should all relax.
    But the only message I believe we are getting now is for Arsene to buy 2 more playes b4 the window shots, if we MUST win TRUPHIES this season.

  6. Great little podcast, Andy. In some ways, the shorter version is better than a full half-hour.

    COME ON ARSENAL! I feel like a smash-bang-wallop 2-0 against Celtic. Yum yum.

  7. 4-0 on the lower side against celtic. why the jitters? relax…all our boys can play inspite of our few injuries. am sure prof. Wenger knows who to field for tonight. we are behind you Gunners!!!

  8. The Celtic game seems like a ‘necessary evil’ but playing a big and physical team like Celtic should improve sharpness and match fitness, particularly considering the big games coming up.

  9. i hope diaby doesnt play. im not very comfortable with him and djourou. diaby has a hidtory of giving the ball away. i dont think he can hold on to a ball under pressure. i said the very same thing bout adebyor. they get easily robbed of the ball under pressure. as far as tonight is concern? i think we gonna come out guns blazing. big names dont scare me. after all its about team effort, and we certainly play as a team.

  10. Haven’t llistened to the podcast, sorry.
    Regarding the Celtic game – Gooners shouldn’t be anticipating another Everton style drubbing. Did Arsenal play well? Yes. But it may turn out to be something of a freak result. Things went our way in the game. Imagine this scenario – it’s 25 minutes into the Everton game and the score is 0-0. Denilson latches onto Fab’s pass and cracks that shot but instead of flying into the top corner it sails over the crossbar into the stands. A few minutes later Fellaini’s header is hacked off the line by Denilson but it rebounds off Gallas and back into the net. Now it’s 1-0 to Everton, their fans are chanting the roof off and our lads are feeling nervous. It could have so easily been that way.
    Some of the Arsenal players have already said we need to win ugly. In other words, when the fancy football isn’t paying off we need to change to plan B and grind out a result. I will be happy with a draw against Celtic. Especially if we score. Then I feel we’ll be capable of finishing the tie off at The Emirates. I reckon Cesc will be rested if he’s carrying a knock as I doubt AW would risk him. Maybe on the bench in case of emergency.
    I’m really looking forward to it though. I’d expect to see some real fight from the Scots. It looks like we may have the hapless Diaby back in the team. Oh Lordy, how depressing. Please ‘Abou’, prove to me that I’m wrong about you and that you are worthy of an Arsenal shirt. Make me eat my words.
    Up The Arsenal!!

  11. nice voice Andy, like you hear talking, I’m German and I can understand you very well, makes fun because most of the time Enlisch talking is a kind of mumbling for me, so I will watch the match at 20:45,
    I don’t know Celtic at all, in football anything can happen so I’m always a bit nervous and worried, hope the boys stay focused, confident, determined and fortunate

  12. @billy
    A fit Diaby is an exceptional asset to the team. He just came off a terrible season, understand your sentiments. But I believe in Diaby and the presence he has in the midfield. Remember his exceptional performance against Fenerbasche in CL? That’s jst a taste of what he’s capable off. I’d like to see him injury free so his full potential can be unlocked, hope he has a super season.
    I got a feeling that he will be used tonight, hope his performance does not justify your perception of his abilities.
    These 2 months are going to be a real test for the Arsenal, should we prevail, the tone for the season will be well set. C’mon Gunners…wonder what the excuse is going to be in the newspapers after we beat Celtic 2nite

  13. Well he’s got a lot to prove, @billy. In my opinion he was utter shite last season. He’s the worst cuplrit for disappearing in the tough games when we need a strong presence in that position. I won’t harp on about it because I feel very kindly disposed to our team at the moment but I just don’t think he’s right for Arsenal. Spurs maybe? (arf arf!). As i said though I will be very happy for you and he to prove me wrong.

  14. Loking forward to tonight’s game hugely, my Dad was a Celtic supporter and he would have loved the contest

    While Celtic these days are a shadow of the old days from the times I have seen them, usually in European games, they have never failed to give the opposition a serious game and have chalked up a few decent results at Parkhead

    I doubt therefore there will be more than one goal in it and hopefully on our side of the ledger

    What I think we need to do is to hold the ball for the first twenty minutes, quiet the crowd down.

  15. the thing that stood out for me on saturday was the togetherness and willingness to work as a team. Any coincidance now that Adebayor has been shipped out? Gallas and Vermaelen seemed to have an understanding from the off which bodes well. Since Campbell left the club we haven’t had a centre half who can organise the defence. That’s part of the reason why i think Kolo struggled towards the end. Neither him or Gallas are they type to order everyone about at the back. Vermaelen looks like he is that player, and i just happened to notice in the build up to Fabregas’s second goal that he was waving everybody to push up and keep a high line. This may seem a bit insignificant but i can’t recall Gallas or Toure ever doing that, they just used to run out without any thought. This may also be something Wenger has been working on and pressing high up the pitch to squeeze the play, something which Mowbray aluded to in his press conference today. Just a thought on tomorrows game i think we will win by the odd goal and that would be an excellent result to take back to the Emirites. COYG.

  16. Eevryone is worried about Diaby and rightly so the guy has been a huge let down far too often but what we need to realise is he is still an Arsenal player and we’ve to get behind him when he steps ont that pitch.In close season i picked him out as one of the players i hope does a Song and by that I hope he realises the chances his had at the club and finally clicks into gear and becomes a significant cog in the Arsenal machine but thats jus me hoping it actually happens.
    On to the game its really unlikely that all of the injured players will not play but i think if there was one player i would hope to pass the late fitness test and um sure it would be everyone elses choice too it would be Cap-Cesc with that in mind and considering Denii played further forward than Cesc at the weekend i would go with ths team.

    if all three dont make it including Cesc then we would most likely see Ramsey alongside Song and it sthe not the worst scenario but lets hope the injury doubts make it

  17. Well summed up raj – your opening remarks say it all for me .
    If we keep the team spirit and work ethic shown at Everton then I am very confident of a result in Glasgow – at least 2 goals to the good .
    Come on you gunners – stuff it up the critics !

  18. @Andy
    Excellent pod cast, very comprehensive report on the game and I enjoyed listening to it. Enjoy the game tonight, tomorrow morning, I am struggling to find a channel to watch it on in Turkey so will have to listen.
    Amazing result on Saturday, I for one thought it could be a huge banana skin but was very happy with the result, shame about the Everton goal but that is only because I have Vermalen in one of my FF teams, unfortunately I also put Lescott in as well. Here is to a good win tonight.

  19. I saw Celtic play Brisbane Roar a few weeks ago and I wasn’t impressed with Celtic except for a 20 minute period before the half time break. There was more spirited running from the Scottish streakers and security guards than any of their players! Anyway, Arsenel to win it in a canter.
    By the way Andy, 10 years ago I would have been down the Pig at 4:30 in the morning no worries but those days are behind me now which is probably a good thing for my liver.

  20. @raj – yes, spot on. You can clearly see Vermaelen doing that in the replay, which considering it was his first league game with the club bodes well and shows he’s got balls. Just what we desperately needed. A leader. An organiser. Someone with broad shoulders. I thought he looked like a cocky bastard just in the photos of him signing for us. Trust Arsene to pick just the right player. I’m getting quite excited about this guy (simmer down, boy…).

    @Casicky – you are also right and maybe an invigorated, inspired and confident Diaby can show on the pitch whatever it is that Arsene sees in him. Go on, my son!


  22. I pray we win today’s match and i’d see what the media would say.
    I’d also like to know if there’s any money attached to the match when we win and how much?

  23. Tough game tonight, no doubt. If we play our best we should get at least a score draw, which would be a great result.

    @ Hey Nonny – are you going tonight mate? Not often we play in Scotland! It will make a nice change driving for half an hour instead of 8 hours to see our boys.

  24. hi team,
    I Must say that i will not be an easy task 4 us, but i believe we can scale through. if not for anything, with our performance against Everton on saturday. i just hope our boys would not take things for granted. let them just go and play their own game and i am confident we will sacle through at the end of the day

  25. Diaby is not my kind of player and i hope wenger doesnt play him against celtic. I’d like we play 10 man arsenal excluding diaby against 11 man celtic. I dislike him and arsenal can’t win against celtic when diaby is involved tonight. Trust me.

  26. my point of concern today is about Diaby being able to pass the ball well after winning the ball. i also wish fab can play so that clubs r discouraged from buying him. Enjoy the match guys.

  27. Its going to be hard, but not impossible, we can get win. A young squad went to Turkey and got a 5-2 win last season and we have also won at San Siro, Bernabeu and Stadio Olympico. So we have experience at very supportive stadiums. They weill be physical which is where we struggled last season but I think Celtic will secretly be scared after we thrashed Everton 6-1 even if they dont admit it. I think Arshavin will have a superb game, which his experience, speed, skill and goal scoring ability I feel he wil be the one to sink Celtic if we happen to beat them. Hoping Fabregas plays and if Deni doesnt pass the fitness test we have Diaby or Ramsey to fill in. Eboue for Sagna – Eboue is a very good RB so no problems there, I will be at football training when Arsenal are playing but I have told friends to keep texting me to give me updates. Come on you gunners!

  28. Just back from work, sorry as i called myself as theiceman it should be theicehammer.-See first two contributions, ref 5:52 and 5:53pm. Tony, what the hell are you on about. Is Wenger a good judge or not. Take it from me, Diaby will have an excellent season, injury permitting. What about Diaby is not your type of player?

  29. Jay-jay, well said. By the way, what is Eboue’s best position. I have been impressed with his play the latter part of last season and he made a positive contribution when he came onto the park on Saturday. Im beginning to think he is better than Walcott. Very direct and skillful and plays as well on the left as he does on the right wing. He showed heart to keep working on his game especially after the very bad patch he had last season.

  30. eboue’s best position is defo right back he can still make the runs even more so now with the 4-3-3 formation.
    really excited about the match tonight, speak to you guys later

  31. celtic will provide a stern test early doors but we should have too much and run out easy winners…3-0 wit arsha and bendtner sharin the goals….hello icehammer good start for ur boys saturday i see ur linked wit our old boy the beast today, he cud be a good player for ye

  32. A very good one once more fry. to the match tonight, to me I am less concerned of what will happened to Cel tick. It is up to them and they sh’d blame the ones who drew them against the Mighty Gunners. Good game everyone. I am going for 0-2. Have fun as you watch the mighty Gooners. I am off to watch the game.

  33. so eager for watching this match. although i have a little fear, i still feel something good. very want to watch. hope that. why can’t we believe in Dia? wish everybody in our team will be happy after the game.

  34. A very good one once more fry. On the match tonight, I think I am less concerned of what will happen to Cel tick. It is up to them and they sh’d blame the ones who drew them against the Mighty Gunners. Good game everyone. I am going for 0-2. Have fun as you watch the mighty Gooners. I am off to watch the game.

  35. Shambo, at the moment im happy wid anyone we get just to increase the size of our squad. I couldn’t believe the score of 0-2 on Saturday, Zola is really working the magic. Do you mean Baptista, he will more than do. Perhaps Zola might improve his game and sell im back to Arsene at a profit.
    I was away over the wk end due wedding anniversary, only found out thursday night, wife surprise. Missed Arsenal’s electric performance on ESPN on Saturday but have watched highlights. For me the main difference was the way they moved the ball forwards instead of sideways. Manuel’s distribution was very good and constantly put the team on the front foot. Reminded me of 2002-2005 seasons. I haven’t got Sky any way i can watch game live? What do you think score will be? By the way, are you going to let me have those players for Scotty,i dont have the power,Parker.

  36. Arsene Wenger believes there will be a European Super League within the next decade. The Arsenal boss also claimed dark forces were at work to change the game. What can we do as supporters of English football in order to put a stop to this crazy, greedy idea. Arsenal will be included as part of the elite and be given special privileges but teams like Westham will be left to wipe up the cravy on the plate after the gourmet meal has been gorged.

  37. Fact, Celtic have played eight matches against English clubs in offical European competitions at Celtic Park and only been beaten once. That sole defeat was 2-1 against Notts Forest,sorry thats Nottingham in 1983. They have wan 4 and drawn the other 3. Could be a close game.

  38. Just got back from watching the game tonight. Tony you had better take back what you said about Diaby. He got into the game rather quickly after coming on in the second half. Good feet for a big tall man, and played a major part in helping to create the second goal. Arsenal had all the luck today but made most of it through pressure.

  39. It was a good game guys. we managed to contain the pressure, and dominated the midfield most of the time, hence giving us the opportunity to create chances.

    Fabregas once more was the man of the match, and Vermaelene’s contribution should not undermined. I believe this guy has picked up very first. Though I predicted correctly 0-2, I would have been wrong had we utilized very golden chances that we managed to create. We played really as a team and that will be good for the coming challenges. I believe we shall win all the matches we are doubtful of and a need to watch the small teams like Burnly.

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