By Walter Broeckx
Let me start this review in the absence of the rest of the Untold crew with a personal note. This match could have made me a TV star. Well at least in Belgium. Last Sunday I was called from the sports redaction of the channel that has the rights to show the CL matches in Flanders. The reporter asked me if we would go to London for this match and if that would be the case he would have tried to get in touch with us in London. We might have had a film crew on our tale for this trip. Alas a midweek match is very difficult for our supporters club to attend and so nobody made the trip. I looked at the option to buy a last minute ticket for myself but I will follow the match with the rest of our supporters club in the pub in Antwerp.
I would have made sure I would get the name of Untold Arsenal in the coverage of course but well it isn’t to be for this time. Enough of my missed opportunity of 5 minutes of fame in Flanders. Let us talk about the match.
If we can believe Arsenal.com and I have no reason to doubt them we will be without Jack for this match. He is sick and will be rested and should be back for the weekend. For the rest the squad that was ready for Burnley is ready for Anderlecht. Jack also missed the Burnley match so you could say an unchanged team for Arsenal.
Let us look at Anderlecht as they have lost a few players since the first match in Brussels. The biggest loss will be Defour. The Belgian international got a calf injury and will not be able to play. He has been their best player this season so far so it will be a miss. Another important player Matias Suarez is also out with a knee injury and will miss a few weeks. Suarez is probably their best player or most talented, but also very injury prone.
So Anderlecht will miss a few important players. But so will we as we still are without Özil, Giroud, Koscielny and Debuchy. Writing that down shows that we are without almost 1/3rd of the French national team.
We should have learned a few things from the first match. The most important thing is to not take Anderlecht too lightly. I was wrong when I said they cannot defend and park the bus. As that was what they did for most of the time and then they scored on a counter. And then they showed they can counter a bit but not finish it off.
The second thing is that we should make sure that we play at a high tempo from the start. And if we can manage to score an early goal we might be in for an easy night. But if we let them grow in to the match we could have a more difficult match than we had against Burnley. As Anderlecht will try to counter better and maybe have more technical players than Burnley has.
I hope that we can score early like we did against Galatasaray and make it comfortable for us and give us a bit of breathing space before we go to Swansea next weekend.
If we win this match we are certain of European football after the group stages. Unless Galatasary would win against Dortmund but despite Dortmund not doing well in the Bundesliga they do seem to lift them selves in the Champions League this season and produce great games and results.
I wonder if we will have a few players coming in compared to last Saturday. I don’t think Walcott will start a match in the next few weeks but will be given more and more match time till he is completely used to playing again.
But I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ramsey again from the start. But who to take off? Cazorla? Apart from not being able to score for the moment he is playing fine. Leave Flamini or Arteta out? If I go for the CL press conference tradition I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Arteta on the bench at the start. I have noticed before that the player sitting next to Wenger doesn’t start the match. It could give Arteta a bit of rest so he should be completely fit for the weekend. And it would give us more attacking options and drive up front.
Would he give Welbeck some rest and play Podolski? That might be another change he could do. And see how Lukas and Alexis get along on the pitch. I think we did rather well in the final 15 minutes with both of them on the pitch and surely Lukas could use his lethal left foot against Anderlecht as he did in the first match.
After all this speculation Wenger will brush it all aside and just start the same eleven from the Burnley match. And we might see
Chambers Per Monreal Gibbs
And the rest will find a comfortable seat on the beach. I will sit in the pub thinking about my missed fame….
- What every football club (and most certainly Arsenal) is aiming for.
- The apparent decline of Tottenham and the question of care for players elsewhere
- Positive injury news for Arsenal ahead Monday’s game with Sheffield United
- Arsenal’s finances stay secure but we can expect more price rises for fans
- How a 14th monk described Arsenal’s failure to buy Moisés Caicedo and Mykhailo Mudryk