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Arsenal/Partizan: all the action before it happens. (This time loop technology is good stuff).

Arsenal / Partizan

By Phil Gregory

Following on from Smair Nasri versus Fulham, Partizan come to the Emirates. After a tight game in Belgrade , which arguably marked the turning point in Fabianski’s Arsenal career, the final match of the group stage offers us an outside chance of first place in the group. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if we came second.

We’re in the competition to win it, and you’re very lucky if you manage to avoid the strongest sides all the way to the final. That said, we’re all the likelier to win it if we get a favourable draw, but even that isn’t guaranteed as there are some strong sides who’ve come second. Certainly for the teams who’ve come first, we’ll be the team to avoid.

With only the Tuesday night games played at the time of writing, our likely options include Schalke, Barcelona, Bayern (middling in the Bundesliga) or Real. We avoided Inter thanks to Tottenham topping their group, though truth be told Rafa’s Inter don’t really intimidate anyone. Only Real and Barcelona would cause me concern in that list, though Jose’s side are still fairly unproven outside of La Liga and Barcelona’s success last year was aided by our lack of first eleven players. Certainly there’s potential for a tasty tie in there, though Schalke wouldn’t go amiss!

Today happened to serve as a bit of a refresher course in journalistic standards. Anyone who saw the Facebook page on Tuesday (Untold Arsenal on Facebook here) will know I updated it with news of Koscielny’s injury based on a story from Sky Sports which said he was out until the New Year. Such a story had appeared in the trashy sports press earlier this week, but I didn’t use it until I saw Sky Sports complete with Wenger quotes.

It did puzzle me that such news hadn’t been on the official website, but I presumed quotes were quotes. That obviously turned out to be a bit of a mistake (as relying on sports journalists’ integrity usually is) when the news from the press conference broke that Koscielny was set to start against Partizan.

Fabianksi

Sagna Squillaci Koscielny Clichy

Song Wilshere

Rosicky

Nasri Van Persie Arshavin

Fabianksi continues between the sticks, while the defence is as you’d expect given Koscielny’s recovery. Song and Wilshere play deeper shielding the defence, whilst Rosicky deputises for Cesc.

Nasri goes as near to the opposition’s goal as possible given his goalscoring record this season.

Arshavin is inside left as usual and I went for Van Persie to go centre forward. Wenger stated the Dutchman starting is a possibility, and he may well be tempted to give him a run out with the United  game in mind. Certainly the question between him and Chamakh will be a big one for Wenger in the run-up to that tie.

Against a team with zero points and well a drift at the bottom of the group, we should have enough to get the win by a comfortable margin. I’m going for a standard 3-0 home win, though I’m interested in a clean sheet as much as the three points with United away on Monday in mind.

———————–

“Arrgh” is the sound of the Arsenal fan who didn’t get “Making the Arsenal” for Xmas

Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

Political note: if you are a UK resident and you agree that it is wrong that government funding should be cut while Vodophone, Topshop, BHS, Dorothy Perkins, Barclays Bank, and most recently Cadbury, should avoid UK tax by utilising tax loopholes that the UK government refuses to shut down, please visit UK Uncut

Non-political notes:

Life, the universe, Arsenal

Why are you always going on about the past?

35 comments to Arsenal/Partizan: all the action before it happens. (This time loop technology is good stuff).

  • flake

    I agree with the team choice but would put Nasri in the Cesc role and Rosicky on the right, Nasri is on fire and needs to be where he can influance the game all the time rather than on the fringes wide right, also he is a little more robust than Rosicky in the tackle. Apart from that as long as theres no sign of the crab Denilson in our midfield i’m happy.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Team selection choice is pretty agreeable.

    You could put Nasri where Rosicky is and Walcott where Nasri is if you wanted.

    Up to the manager in the end……..

  • critic

    song should b rested and denilson shud get chance.

  • Dark Prince

    Dont u think Arshavin needs some rest? he just played few days back in fulham game…so i’d rather have him for manu’s match fully fit

  • It should be easy game, no question. But don’t underestimate Partizan. Not that they are match to us in any spot, but they have nothing to lose, and this game is for them perfect opportunity to apologize to their fans for miserable results earlier. They have nothing to lose in this game, and they don’t have to gain a thing. And in such games you can find your self in trouble as opposition has nothing to play for than their pride, and pride for people from Balkan is sometime bigger motif than any amount of money.
    So all what we need is serious approach no mater who will start, as I believe even our reserves are better than they. But this has to be played and considered seriously and has to be finished in stile.

  • Bexxy

    I’d start with chamach and bring on rpv, hopefully at half time and 2 up 🙂

  • TommieGun

    I agree with rhys & flake, nasri to play the cest role.

  • Wrenny

    My guess would be either Van Persie or Rosicky in the Cesc role, behind the usual front three of Nasri – Chamakh – Arshavin.

    I don’t believe Wenger will rest players tonight, or at least not more than one or two. The Man Utd game isn’t until Monday, and the next match after that (Stoke) is next Saturday. The games aren’t coming as thick and fast as they did in November.

  • Paul C.

    I agree with Wrenny. Tonight you play the strongest side possible and worry about Monday afterwards. Hopefully we can score a couple of early goals and make it a casual exercise the rest of the night.

  • AnonymousGun

    Casual exercise?

    This is ARSENAL! we gives the other team chanceS! especially when they are weaklings ..

    XD

  • Dark Prince

    Van persie in central role?? rather hav nasri is central role and use Van persie and Walcot up ahead alongwith Arshavin…Rosicky and Song to complete the midfield alongwith Nasri…back 5 is easy to predict…though i hope Gibbs gets a chance. Chamakh, Vela and Denilson should be used as substitutes.

  • xD

    I think we’ll stroll through and everyone will feel silly for doubting so much. my team would be:

    Fab

    Ebsy Squill JD Gibbs

    Song

    Tomy Samy

    TW Chamakh RVP

    give Andrei a rest as mentioned above, we need him on his game come Monday. Well rested I have no doubt he will be. Also sub Marouane as early as possible (circumstances permitting) and get Nikki on the pitch, the man needs a game!

    I predict 4-1 (just can’t bring myself to predict a cleansheet these days)

  • Dark Prince

    xD – it has been an unusual season for Arsenal fans this year…whenever we think Arsenal might drop points for a particular match, Arsenal goes and wins that match…but when we think Arsenal will win easily, they somehow lose it. So i wont take this match easily. I hope the players too take this seriously, unlike the Braga and Shakhtar games. Only msg to Arsenal players -‘Go for the kill and do it as soon as possible’!! Go Gunners!!

  • Todd

    Not really related to the article, but why is it that so many people complain about arsene playing players out of position. Then when someone learns that position(nasri-RW) and is on form and firing, they want to move them.

    Leave Nasri at RW and let him thrive for a while now that he understands the role. Nasri’s finally making the runs in behind the defense and terrorizing the right backs, let him continue to do so. I’d be more inclined to run wilshere in the hole, with song-denilson holding midfield, than moving nasri central.

  • RedGooner

    3 Points would be nice and silence the media.
    I think we have the players available to win comfertably.
    That image of wenger on his knees on the sky sports site annoys me with the words the only english team NOT to qualify yet !

    Feck sake if we had played on tuesday and some of the others were waiting to qualify tonight would the headline be the same with that twitchy idiot redknap on his kness I dont think so.

    Lets hope for a good result and get back to concentrating on the league.

  • Getty

    Todd, you have a very legitimate point there! If one is thriving in a position, why do you want him moved? Although, Nasri has done well in both positions last weekend. He Played on right mid and scored goal and came to the middle and scored that sweet goal in the second half. The key is who is going to take his right midfield position if you move him to the middle? Walcott may do well against Partizan, but hasn’t been effective since his return from injury in the PL. He reminds me of either a baby or a very old man. The brain knows exactly what he wants to do, but the body wouldn’t cooperate.

  • ArsenalDuabi

    Our next round opponent will be Spanish (Barca or Real) or German (Bayern or Schalk).

  • walter

    Don’t mention the war, don’t mention the war. 😉 (John Cleese in Fawlty Towers)

  • Wrenny

    I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it.

  • walter

    I think Phill was looking the other side when that deflected shot went in.

  • Gooner Gal

    I don’t care bring on Barca, anyone – we are Arsenal, we are through and all the other clubs will be scared! There were good and bad points but for now relief and happiness.

    We need to have all our players fit and well because we are still on for the quadruble.

  • RedGooner

    Dont really want Barca until the final to be honest if we play well enough to get there.
    One thing I do know it will depend on what players miss the match if the two teams do meet.
    Last year we were missing way to many players to be competitive.
    Seems like the important games are comming thick and fast the next 2 weeks should be fun.

  • TommieGun

    I think we played badly last night, sorry. Arsh with a 56% pass complete rate epitomizes it for me. The goal we conceded was (again?) due to a double defensive mistake that in my opinion is all down to lack of co-ordination between our CBs – which should improve, I admit, but still doesn’t look all that good.

    Another issue was lack of creativity – some people complain about Song roaming, and don’t understand it’s AWs instruction – he is the one creating for us these days, sadly. Without Cesc, and with Jack’s unexplainable fade out Song is the only one providing the necessary transition to attack. BTW that’s why I think Nasri should be played there, at least for the moment.

    I have to say, that despite the scoreline and all the positives drawn (Theo scoring, trying to play Chamakh with Robin, etc) – last night made me a bit worried.

  • AnonymousGun

    The fact that its clear that AW was experimenting with the team balance up top was lost for you? Thats why we were playing Denilson, to be a bit better defensively, while AW experimenting with the top 4 coordination. It was a disjointed performance with everyone getting in each other’s zone TBH (There are several incidence when RvP went for the same ball as his other teammates, or didnt chase after expecting the others to go for it) .. MC and AA needs to familiarized with RvP movement. I’m sure they will perform much better come Monday.

  • Bexxy

    The fact AW was experimenting was not lost on me, but the logic of the timing was. Fair play to the lads, for digging AW out of another hole.

  • walter

    Why worry? We played bad and we won. Isn’t that the mark of real champions?

  • Bexxy

    Walter

    If you agree the thinking behind last nights team selection and tactics then yes. Yes we experimented got away with it and are likely to be crowned euro champions.

    A risk well worth taking?

  • mshmapton

    Well we got the result, which was the main thing but the performance was dire. Complacent, arrogant, lacked effort, no imagination. Wenger’s failure to win what was the easiest group by far has left us with a trip to either Germany or Spain. Even the most biased and deluded apologists has to accept we now have a 50% chance of being dumped out in the next round. Winning the group should have been a priority, fielding weakened sides has cost us in the past. Yet again he hasn’t learnt anything. We will have to play much better than that on Monday next.

  • Bexxy

    Who’s to blame?

  • Paul C.

    Guys, we qualified. Stop complaining. As AW said 5 of our matches that immediately followed the CL this season were away matches and AW tried to balance and rotate in order to maximize our chances in both competitions. We are top of the League and our away form has been excellent so how can people complain? Losing to Shaktar away is not a BAD result. Nobody is going to want to go and play there. That is a tough, tough place to play. They won the UEFA Cup two years ago. They havent lost at home in years. They are not a bad side. Braga was a poor performance. Yes. It happens. We recovered and qualified. That is all that matters. We might have won the group and got paired with Inter in the next round.

  • TommieGun

    @ walter – you got a point there … 🙂

  • Ronnie Brown

    I don’t mind playing a tough opposition in the next round, if we are going to win the competition we would have to beat them anyway.

  • walter

    I always think you have a 50% of not qualifying in the knock out stages, regardless of the opposition you face

  • Paul C.

    Walter – that is pretty amazing mathematical analysis!!!!

  • gooner80

    IF AM being realistic we are not good enough to win the champions league and in the past two seasons our team has been stretched in the knock out stages of the competition, we are not at the stage that we can compete on all fronts.

    come the new year we could be flying on all cylinders and if we do get a Spanish team and do win it would give the team confidence just as long as we dont crash out ofthe compettion like we did against barca last year we pretty much dropped out of the league aswell (I KNOW we had Injuries) some of which were caused by competing on too many fronts

    I think this month will decide if we have a shot at the league with the chelsea and manu games being like 6 pointers. either way i think we need to drop out of a competition. My expectations have dropped dramatically and i would be happy if we win the carling cup and finish second in the league, I feel that will give us the confidence to push on next year, the back four has not gelled and with so many changes back there they have done pretty well.

    Anyone watching barca will know we are not on their level (AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME AT LEAST) a hammering could dent confidence which is important to this team. we should beat either of the german teams over two legs