Partizan Vs Arsenal. An Untold prediction

By Phil Gregory

Partizan away is by no means a game to be taken lightly. Our away form in Europe isn’t the greatest, but to be fair, the lack of wins has much to do with the fact that many of the ties didn’t actually require a win, with dead rubbers and the like tossed in there.

Anyway, onwards with the preview. I’m not going to dwell on the WBA game for all or sakes, though the injury list isn’t much more uplifting. The goalkeeping situation is certainly interesting. Almunia is injured (make of that what you will) which means Szcznesy and Fabianksi have travelled to Belgrade. Fabianksi will almost certainly start in goal, but with his fellow Pole having also travelled it’s a reasonable question to ask is Wojciech now considered our third choice? In the circumstances, I would’ve expected Mannone to travel for bench duty, but perhaps the young Pole’s recent rant has focused Wenger’s mind somewhat. We shall see.

Gibbs travelled, which is one piece of excellent news after some iffy leftback performances from Clichy. Competition is no bad thing, and the young England international will be looking to press Gael hard over the season. Cesc is, of course, out, while Vermaelen’s mysterious achilles injury still keeps the Belgian out. The long-term quintet of Bendtner, Van Persie, Walcott, Ramsey and Frimpong is very much a case of as you were last week, unfortunately.

The squad didn’t contain Abou Diaby, who was disappointing on the weekend though Henri Lansbury made the trip. Though unlikely to feature with at least one senior midfielder on the bench, the England youth international should be motivated by the fact his performances have warranted his inclusion in the matchday squad, and he will be capable of playing a role if he is called upon. The next Ray Parlour I’m sure I heard Arsène say at some point recently, which is certainly something to aim for.

For me, the wise money would be on the following team line-up:


Sagna Squillaci Koscielny Clichy


Denilson Wilshere

Nasri Chamakh Arshavin

I’ve got Denilson coming in to facilitate our possession game. How we use the ball will be vital in what is going to be an intimidating atmosphere. Possession football is a better defence than either any pressing set-up or two well-drilled, deep banks of four. While we have the ball, the opponent cannot score so someone like Denilson is pivotal in recycling the ball effectively and moving it on safely.

I’ve left Rosicky out of the line-up despite some impressive performances (penalty-taking aside) as Nasri was outstanding against West Brom, while Wilshere brings fight, solidity and not an insignificant contribution in terms of creativity to the midfield.

It goes without saying we need better for the defence in this game. Koscielny has been impressive since his arrival, so he can be forgiven for the odd below-par game.

What matters however, is how the players react to the disappointment. That’s going to prove the X factor, and it means I’ve no idea what to expect from this game. After a hugely disappointing result at the weekend, the players head into an intimidating atmosphere in Eastern Europe. Will heads be down, or will there be a reaction?

I’m going for 2-1 to the Arsenal off the back of a swashbuckling performance from young Jack. I don’t expect it to all go our way, and our passing will need to be much more crisp than it was at home. Despite the injuries, we have some strong players available, and some solid options on the bench in case we need to change things around.


Editorial what-not: I am aware that the Untold review of injuries has not been published.  I had it ready to go up this morning, but I have corrupted the file.  Will get it uploaded as fast as possible – Tony


25 Replies to “Partizan Vs Arsenal. An Untold prediction”

  1. Great one Phil! but why not rosicky over arshavin? doesn’t he need some rest before the bridge game.Personally i think the lineup looks good enough for a win( i.e if wenger starts with this team) but i’d be happier if rosicky got the nod ahead of arshavin.He is looking sharper more creative and does a better job at tracking back than arshavin and maybe Wenger when he said certain players need a breather the innuendo was towards the lil russian

  2. Pretty much agree with that team, with just one exception.

    Nasri completed four matches (plus extra time at WHL) in 11 days. That too after coming back from an operation. I think Arsene should give him a breather keeping the Chelsea game in mind. We don’t want our most in-form player fatigued this early into the season, or worse, injured again.
    He should be kept on the bench and brought on only if circumstances force us to. Rosicky is an adequate replacement.

    And I really hope we go with that midfield 3 because I can’t wait to watch Wilshere perform in that attacking midfield role.

  3. The key to winning this game is to come out quick and keep the opposition fans quiet. As Phil said – it’s going to be intimidating otherwise!

  4. I pretty much agree with you Phil, except for the part about Nasri which Siddhant already mentioned earlier. By the way, does anyone know if any of those out injured will be back in time for Chelsea?

  5. Probably a fair point on Nasri, but considering he’s regarded as one of the fittest players in our squad, and Chelsea isn’t until Sunday I think he’ll play tonight.

    I’m not keen on Rosicky for Arshavin. Tomas doesn’t have the penetration that Shavva does, much of Rosicky’s best performances have come in the middle of the park this season.

  6. Partizan have a very poor team. If you watched them this season you wouldn’t go for 2-1 that’s for sure. It will be more like the Braga game if Arsenal come anywhere near their level. They have 3 good players in the attack, Ilic on the left wing, Iliev as the playmaker and Cleo who is a top-quality striker so they will be a very good test for our french defence. They are poor in the midfield area, especially as their only DM player Moreira is pretty lightweight and Song shouldn’t have any problems there. They have two young fullbacks who are at the present very much only raw talent, physical, keeping it simple with long clearances and tough tackles. At CB positions they have Krstajic who is immensely experienced, but has just come back from injury and he lacks pace but is a good reader of the game. The second CB is Jovanovic who looks like a very bright prospect but is very much error-prone, good in the air and a tough tackler. Stojkovic is their goalkeeper, he is solid, nothing special, similar to Almunia 🙂

    My prediction 1-4 to Arsenal of course.

    ..and, you can see the whole press-conference on partizan’s official website

  7. Let’s just hope that the result on Sat. served us a wake up slap for the boys. Fair enough, a few of the guys should rest before the trip across town to the KGB headquarters, and to be totally honest our CL group is not so difficult … so maybe we should be thinking about resting a few of the guys.

  8. Im not convinced, Mr Nobody. They were resilient at home in their last appearance in the CL group stages and are surely a stronger side now. We’re without some big players, arguably the core of our team so I’d be delighted with three points.

  9. As far as I can see, the only players who might just be available for the KGB will be Cesc and Diaby, but those are still doubts. Another week or so, possibly, for Theo, Bendtner, Van P.

  10. I am with Phil on this one.
    TR7 gets a rest in lieu of the upcoming Chelsea game. Sombody tell Song that going forward in attack to increase your goal profile is only allowed when you are at least 2 goals to the good.

    More importantly Denilson’s inclusion facilitates our passing/possession game and to those that ever doubted this aspect of him witness: AWAY at WHL Versus HOME to WBA.

    Poor Fabianski is in goal most likely. I am beginning to wonder if Lukazs was a very bad man in a previous life and is serving pennance in this one. Either way, The arsenal goal would appear to have become his personal pergatory and honestly events must be storing a weight on his shoulders that Atlas would have buckled under. I am no different from most fans regarding his position but it would take a fairly mean spirit not to at least have some sympathy.

    Here is hoping that the defence do not hang him out to dry (I am looking at you Gael) and that the defence gets adequate cover from a focused midfield(I am looking at you Alex).
    I would hope for a narrow , controlled win. Just enough to lift spirits but not too much invested to knacked half of them for the trip to Stamford Bridge.

    If it was me I would have put out the reserves for this game and given the rest plenty of rest for the weekend interspersed with mandatory videos of the games we had lost and won against the blue roubles.
    That being said I understand the percieved need to get to that 6 point marker before unsociable away ties in places we used only ever send spies to in the past.

  11. With Sagna and Clichy on the flanks for Arsenal one cannot expect a clean sheet ,no matter who the opposition as concentration levels drop every ten or so minutes ?

  12. But Song has to press forward for goals as Arshavin seems unmotivated ,Vela confused on which foot to shoot with ,Chamakh needs another striker alongside him and Nasri,Rosicky the only players who want to go forward ,so don,t blame Alex as there should be other defensive midfielders who can drop back when Song pushes up ,Wilshere,Denilson,Diaby.

  13. Game after game it,s left to Samir and Tomas to push forward and get the goals,but they cannot be overplayed as it,s a long hard season ,so who else will get forward and score goals while Cesc is recovering and van Persie,Bentdner not yet available for selection ,names please?

  14. Normally I don’t publish comments all in capitals, but I’ll let you off Dunjabg. Would you care to tell us what we might expect tonight?

  15. Well I seem to remember Arshavin scoring a goal against Tottenham. In fact when I come to think about it he seems to have played six games and scored four goals. That’s not too bad is it?

  16. I’d be worried if Shavva was covering Sagna, seeing as they play on different sides of the pitch.

  17. What about that penalty save for Fabianski? Could it be the turning point in his own private story – from pauper to prince? I wonder what such a thing does to a keeper, he looked all psyched after that save 🙂

    All in all, good performance by the guys, Jack was superb again, Rosie was a bit too soft for my liking, like he was not totally sure about taking his shots, etc. I cannot draw anything from Denilson’s handball – it was just weird…

    My negative point was Sagna, probably one of his weaker games for Arsenal.

    Also looks like the next two matches will determine who goes on top.

  18. the penalty was relatively tame but he did well all the same. I was far more impressed with his reaction save at the end. That was top class.
    His reaction after the penalty save really showed how much pressure he had to vent eh.
    It may not last but well done FAB!!

  19. He had to have a solid game at some point. Although I don’t think he can cope with any kind of pressure, I’m hoping this is the real him, and that he’ll prove it at the Bridge.

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