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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Steaua Bucharest vs. Arsenal

Ghencea Stadium

02/09/07

19:45BST

Steaua V Arsenal

As with Arsenal's game against West Ham, this game is an easy one for Arsenal - at least on paper.

That will surely not be the case though as the Gunners are set for a cold night in Eastern Europe. The fact that Arsenal will be without as many as EIGHT first team players for the Champions League game.

Italian Massimo Pedrazzini took over from Gheorghe Hagi after Steaua lost to Slavia Prague on matchday one. Since then the Romanian's have won their first league game for over a month.

The Romanians have won 2 of their last 5 games in all competitions. One in the league, one in the cup.

Arsenal have won all of ther last 5 games. Infact Arsene Wenger's team have won all but 1 of their games this season.

Not bad for a team that were apparently skint and in crisis a couple of months ago.

Vital Quotes:

Steaua Bucharest striker Adrian Neaga is hoping his team can match Arsenal on the night, and even observed that Arsenal players are only human: 'Arsenal's players are human beings, like us.

Of course they are a very strong team, but we don't consider ourselves underdogs.

Steaua are a member of football's elite and we will play like equals against our visitors from England.'


Arsene Wenger explain that his attitude towards the Champions League has changed since he arrived at Arsenal: 'I want this club to win the Champions League but for my personal ego it is less important.

'I feel a manager should be judged more on his overall career than just winning one trophy.

'I was interested in that 10 years ago but a lot less now. You want to win it for different reasons. When you are very young you want to win it and say you are the best.

'When you have more experience you want to achieve it for the players and the club. You then want it less for yourself and to say how good you are.

'When you are 40 you want to win the biggest one and want everyone to talk about you. But I want to do it for this club because they have never done it.'

Steaua Bucharest Team News:

Lovin and Goion are both missing for the home side. (I've not got a clue what LD is on about at the bottom).

Other than that, no important team news.

Player to watch: Nicolae Dica

The Romanian striker was watched by Aston Villa during the summer as they looked to spend some of their Billionaire owner's cash.

They opted instead for Marlon Harewood.

That's not to say that he wont pose a threat. He managed 4 goals in 6 games during last season's competition.

Arsene Wenger will be well aware of what the striker can do, and I'm certain he'll have drilled into his defenders to mark him tightly.

Arsenal Team News:

The quartet of Jens Lehmann (elbow), William Gallas (groin), Rosicky (hamstring) and Eduardo (groin) are all out while Hleb, Adebayor, Diaby and new-found midfield general Flamini all face late fitness tests.

Wenger hinted that he might move Theo Walcott up front to partner Robin Van Persie.

Player to watch: Gilberto Silva

With Arsenal having so many injuries, Gilberto will be given a chance to show what he can do.

With his place, and potentially his Arsenal future at stake, he'll be wanting to impress Arsene Wenger to force his way back into the team.

I wouldn't mind betting he walks away with the man of the match award.

Ref Watch:

Even worse than Arsenal's team news is the news that Terje Hauge will referee the game. For those of you that don't remember him just cast your minds back to Arsenal's Champions League game with PSV last season. Enough said!

Match Prediction:

I'm going to back Arsenal, despite all their injury problems. It'll not be an easy game, European nights in eastern Europe never are. But I think the Gunners will come out 2-0 winners. Walcott and Van Persie with the goals.




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The Journalist

Writer: Nick Simmonett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday October 1 2007

Time: 10:13PM

Your Comments

They've lost two players on Saturday, Lovin and Goion. Do your research more rigorously simmo!!!
Little Dutch
thats right simmo this is unacceptable!!...(whispers under his breath) where do we find these people
anonymous
If none of the 4 fitness doubts make it then I wouldn't be surprised if went 4-5-1 with RvP up front on his own, Walcott on the left Eboue on the right and then the 3 CM midfielders pick themselves. Details of Steaua injuries are posted on their web site http://www.steauafc.com/nou/index.php?lang=en& which has an english language option. They don't seem too free scoring with only 6 goals in 8 games in their domestic league though they have only conceded 3.
Amos.
walcott to partner rvp? i hope not, judging by his performances so far. i hope bendtner partners rvp if ade's not 100%. i really think he deserves his chance, he has shown he can make a difference. meanwhile bert should get a start and this would be an occasion where his experience will prove invaluable. 3-0 to arsenal with rvp scoring a couple and one from a certain spanish midfield maestro.
supersof
I do believe you chaps are trying to make me look bad. Well me and my mate's J & D are not impressed. If you read the invisible text you'll see that I do actually mention that. Come on lads, don't make me send the boys round. Now this intoxicated writer is off to further damage his liver. Tatty bye.
simmy8_2000
Goian was rested for the match with Vaslui so he would have no problems starting with us...and he is going to to Steaua`s greatest threat! Where do you get ure info LD?
rdcgunner
I hope Wenger plays Bendtner. His aerial presence will really make a difference in a game like this if Eboue and Clichy can whip in some crosses. This is the way to kill eastern european teams.
Wyn Mills
On the Steaua website report on their game on Saturday it says "We had Victoras Iacob sent off for elbowing and we also lost Lovin and Goian through injuries in the 14th minute, Baciu and Cristocea came on for them." Whether these injuries will keep them out or not I am not sure. There are reports that RvP also faces a fitness test for us.
Amos.
That was for the game before last...with UTA Arad, the one in with Iacob was sent off!
rdcgunner
if you thought martin troll is having a bad time at WHL... Steaua Bucharest owner Gigi Becali has vowed he will sack interim coach Massimo Pedrazzini if his side lose at home to Arsenal in the Champions League tomorrow...this is his 3rd game in charge by the way but we should not do him any favors regardless.
anonymous
no pressure then massimo lol, martin troll - lmfao mate.
nikolaijns
I am worried about the amount of injuries that are starting to pile up, but i still expect us to win 2-0 in a tough game.
AB_Arsenal
Arsenal 3-0 at least, we are too strong for steau bucharest. I back fabbo to get another one, the man is a machine!
BergGun
They both got injured in the 14th minute???? Was there a serial best player attacker on the loose??? Shame that Eduardo isn't fit, he'd have been in his element out there against shoddy defences and he obviously can put up with a little adverse conditions after playing in Zagreb for so long.
hatespur
Theo might be more comfortable as a forward (that's been the case with England U21, though he struggled his last couple games), but since this is a CL game (and away at that), 4-5-1 seems to be the more likely formation with Theo on one of the wings if he's pressed into service. Or maybe Wenger plays Bendetar up front with RVP just behind or on one of the wings...who knows?
Shinobi
Thought the boss said he was going to play Theo more in the middle. Or did I read that wrong?
alwaysgunner
alwaysgunner, Wenger did say that using Theo in a more central role was an option today. I hope it pays off, coz the kid desperately needs a few good games to get his confidence going. This will be a good test for the depth in our squad.
prits
Good test tonight. I agree with simmo for a difficult, but well erned 2-0 win.
ArsenalRob
Arsenal win 2-0
fcdematthew
Another interesting scrap of info - Steaua have played 5 English teams at home and not lost! Anyway, wherever he plays, Theo will have them chasing shadows tonight! 3 -0 to the Gunners!
Andy-bayor
Terje Hauge was that ref who officiated our CL final.. where there was that offside goal allowed.. man.. we do have some bad omens.. hopefully we'll get thro' unscathed.
arsenalrulz4ever
senderos play well tonight..winning tackle and headers..hope he can gain his confidence back..
my_gunners
VAN PERSIE!!!!!!! 1-0
ArsenalRob
will be a hard game for you lot
muffdaddy1983
muffdaddy - the timing of your comment was wonderful :)
prits
1-0 to the ARSENAL !!
HENRY`14
Great goal by RVP. Keeper had no chance. Looking good my fellow Gooners
themadafrican
They had to work hard for that result but were never under any real threat. Senderos did great but overall we looked a little jaded at times. Great goal though!
Amos.
job done, not much of a spectacle tbh, pretty dull but the boys did what was required and even as time ticked down I did'nt doubt that we'd take the 3.
nikolaijns
While I only got ITV which's showing the ManU game, I opted for live audio of our game on Arsenal TV Online. It sounds much more exciting than theirs! Even with 60 mins passed, I still felt we could win it. I kept hoping RvP would score a goal all of a sudden and thank God he did! PHEW!! BTW, here's an interesting article about le boss, I guess he prayed for a win today just as I did: http://football.guardian.co.uk/news/matchreport/0,,2181875,00.html
Louisa
Sorry, here's the correct link to the article on AW: http://football.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/0,,2181511,00.html
Louisa
Superb results, on our way, we're on our way, goin moscow...
AFC85Lew
the goal was good, but the possession and shots at goal tells me this was a one sided (boring) affair (i couldn't watch)
afri-gooner
Not the best performance from the lads, it reminded me of the countless games last year we dominated but came away with nothing, but I should have had more faith, as this is the class of 07/08 and we now win these kind of matches :) Chuffed for big Phil as he had a stinker of a game - calm, assured, should do his confidence the world of good.....Clichy, Sagna, and Toure all played to their usual standard, wasn't too impressed with Eboue, and what happened to Fab in the second half?? Looked like he was doing his best Jenas imitation, giving the ball away at almost every opportunity, perhaps in need of a rest??? Great, clinical goal from RvP, but my MoM has to be Ade, he did everything except score and was a constant thorn in Bucharest's side. One thing that was extremely disappointing to see was the number of times the Bucharest players suddenly got injured when we were on promising counters....cynical play from the hosts which must have happened a good 5 or so times......I saw the possession stats were a bit odd, think it was 39-61 to the home side, but it certainly didn't look that way during the course of the match....
KaoTeK
One sided boring affair! Get real man, if you find this type of game and the result boring go and watch Spurs play their games are always exciting!
Red3
oops not stinker, I meant stonker ahaha.....
KaoTeK
senderos was good.... more of this and we'll be fine when toure leaves for acn.. toure was our saviour as we could hv been 1 down.. clichy and sagna were good defensively but surprisingly they looked tired in attack.. hleb looked tired, but that was perhaps due to lack of training prior to the match.. as u mentioned, adebayor was motm.. flamini looked a little tired as well but i think gilberto's class and calmness showed immediately once he was on the pitch.. think its time to give back gilberto his starting berth.. fabregas had one of his few off nites and i'm sure he'll bounce back against sunderland.. van persie and adebayor are beginning to look good together and they'll only get better
McGooner
why wait till the end of the match before opening the scoring. We were rusty upfront. Senderos at least, made some positive impressions.
49ers
Gotta wonder if Sendaros is a player more suited for European play then the intense nature of the Prem. Some people forget how well he played for us during our run to the final two years ago, where we set the record for consecutive shutouts. But hopefully he can take today's game and bring it with him into the domestic games. Overall I'm very happy...I would've taken a point with a smile on my face, but getting three in an eastern European venue where historically we've never done well is an outstanding acheivement for the lads, and shows again that this team is maturing and growing into something truly special.
Shinobi
I thought this was a good performance, we took our eye of them a bit in the second half, but there was only ever one winner and I always felt a goal would come. I thought the commentators made too much of this whole 'win ugly' thing, I felt we played some very good stuff, in fact, towards the end of the match the commentators even said so before changing their minds at the final whistle. Adebayor was excellent, he really gave them problems, Flamini another good game. Interesting that Senderos has played in all of our five consecutive shut outs, at the West Ham game on Saturday he was very good but people were constantly on his back, it seems there always has to be a scapegoat and I guess it's him at the moment.
Little Dutch
Fabregas had a bit of a shocker second half and say what you like but Adebayor is not fit enough, he had his moments but by the end of a game he always looks far more tired than he should be and doesn't always look like he's giving 100%. Still i guess being slightly dissapointed by a 1-0 away win in the CL is an indication of what good times we're having at the moment!
BergGun
I felt that Steaua would tire in the second half and we would score. They did a fair job in keeping us out but if Cesc had taken the early chance we would have had a different game. Their centre back did a good job man marking Ade who was carrying a knock but he still got through the work of two men - one of whom was very good.
Amos.
average performance, great result. sunderland next. looks like we will stay top of the league at least till October 28, 2007 vs liverFool
fcdematthew
 

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