Wednesday 3 October 2012

Preview Olympiakos: Up Against The Geeks

First off, after reading the financial report released last week by Arsenal Holdings, it was easy to grasp the fact that the club had made what looked like very significant pre-tax profit but there was a lot more fiscal mumbo jumbo along with this good news that my poor little head found difficult to decipher. I didn't worry much because on Twitter I follow a fellow who goes by the odd name, The Swiss Rambler. I don't know anyone else who's more savvy about the business of football than he is and from experience I knew he wouldn't be able to resist dissecting and breaking it down for pinheads like me. He didn't disappoint. His piece 'Arsenal -The Song Remains The Same' is well worth the read and you will get an education while you are at it.

I did get an education out of that piece myself and one bit of knowledge I gleaned is that the gap between us and the really big clubs is much wider than we like to think. We really are not as big a club as we believe we are. We desperately need (not want) FFP to stand any chance of closing the gap. Those who posit that we are a rich club who just refuse to spend have to wise up to the fact that we really can not afford to go that route -not as long as our self-financing model stays. Go ahead and read it anyway and make of it what you may. You probably will never look at Arsenal the same way afterwards.

Ahead of match day two in the Champion's League when we take on Olympiakos, Wenger dragged young Carl Jenkinson along as he faced questions from the press. Wenger will be serving the second of a three-match ban imposed on him by UEFA for being naughty so he will be watching from the stands while Steve Bould takes the reins once again as he did on match day one against Montpellier.

Worrying news is that Mikel Arteta will face a late fitness test today after suffering an ankle injury,
"Arteta will have a test tomorrow morning. We will make the decision then whether we include him in the squad or not. He has an ankle injury..."
With Diaby out for three weeks, this means we'll be lining out unlikely cover together for both roles this evening if Arteta fails the late test.

Enter Coquelin and Ramsey. Much as I'm happy with the progress both have made in recent times it does scare me a bit to see both of them thrown into the deep end from the very beginning. Would rather have either of them play alongside the more consistent and experienced Arteta when they are used but then football has its way of seeking to expose whatever cracks if any that have been papered over. So today is the day some of that depth we've been boasting of in our mid-field will be tested as Cazorla partners with Coquelin and Ramsey.

Everyone in the back line is  fit and you don't need to be Einstein to tell who will make the cut for tonight's game. Jenkinson, Per, Vermaleen and Gibbs. Don't see how Kos will start ahead of Per after his last two games. If by chance that happens, hit me up and I'll buy you a lager.

Poldi, I expect will start on the left as usual which leaves us with the center forward position and the outside right. If anything, the pressure on Giroud has doubled after that miss in the dying minutes of the Chelsea game so my guess is that Wenger will start him from the bench while Gervinho plays that role again and Ox starts on the right. I won't rule out Theo being started in the center since that seems to be on the cards these days and will have to be tested some time soon but on a day that we'll be fielding a makeshift midfield it's my guess that wouldn't happen -this will unbalance the team even further.

Mannone will resume between the sticks in the absence of the still-crocked Szczesny. Last time he played against Olympiakos last December, he dropped a clanger that gifted them a goal and Olympiakos ran away 3-1 winners. It was the last of the group matches and we had already qualified so the likes of Djourou and Squillacci were given a run-out on the night so much won't be made of that result. Confidence in Mannone was on a high before last weekend's game against Chelsea but that has dropped a long way since then so the No 1 position is another source of worry tonight.

football formations

The good news/absurd statistic is Arsenal have never lost on match day two in the Champions League group stages: P17 W13 D4 L0 (11 home/6 away).

We'll have to lay to rest the memories of last weekend's loss against Chelsea tonight to show that we have the mental toughness that the Premier League demands of prospective champions so C'mon, You Arsenal!

Will be in touch via Twitter throughout the game so do stay in touch as we march down on those Geeks Greeks tonight. Holla!

Follow on Twitter @naijaendgooner

1 comment:

  1. Dude, you owe me a beer and I'm collecting. Kos started tonight.


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Naija End Gooner