I was planning on making today’s post Emmanuel Adebayor-free. But then Arsene Wenger delivered this absolute gem of a quote regarding his stamp on Robin van Persie:
“You ask 100 people; 99 will say it’s very bad and the hundredth will be Mark Hughes.”
Absolutely classic stuff by the manager and 100% (or is it 99%?) spot on. It was very bad and Adebayor will fully deserve whatever ban comes his way, whether it be the five games touted in most papers or – cross your fingers – even more.
Moving on to more important matters and we kick of the group stages of the Champions League tonight with an interesting trip to Belgium to play Standard Liege. After two very tough league encounters against Manchester A and Manchester B (you decide which is which) I’d like to think the game against Standard will be a little more straightforward. However the feeling is that the Belgium champions away might prove to be the toughest test we face in the group stages and it will definitely take a decent team effort to get maximum points.
Team news going into the game isn’t particularly good. Manuel Almunia has been ruled out with a virus (generally the Arsenal code-word for “dropped”) meaning Vito Mannone or possibly Wojciech Szczesny will step in, while Robin van Persie and Denilson are also out injured. They join Andrey Arshavin as well as the other long-term casualties on the bench and it does change the complexion of the side quite a bit.
My feeling is that the same back four that played against Manchester B will start again, with Aaron Ramsey joining Alex Song and Cesc Fabregas in the middle of the park and the reprieved Eduardo starting up front alongside Nicklas Bendtner and Abou Diaby. We struggled a little on the weekend with the monotone pace of our forwards to hopefully Eduardo’s nippy style can sharpen things up, while the manager also has the option of bringing on Tomas Rosicky to add some pep if required.
In all honesty I don’t know too much about Standard Liege but this article on Arsenal.com suggests they have “a defence with tall, strong guys, a midfield with technical players and two complete attackers who are fast and strong”. Sounds interesting, I guess, but I fancy what should be a super peeved-off Arsenal team to go to Belgium and win the match. Draws in away games of the Champions League are usually acceptable but after two losses I think the team needs to find their confidence and get back to winning ways.
I’ll be watching the game early tomorrow morning in Oz with two of my housemates Annie and new boy Darragh at around 4.45am. I’ll be looking for a good response from our boys and I very much hope they can provide it.
Have your say on Arsenal v Standard Liege by leaving a comment.