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Arsenal vs Fenerbahce


Emirates Stadium

5th November 08


On Sky

OK, my first attempt here, so I had to look at Brice's previous match preview to follow the format. When I saw the first sentence in which he described the Arsenal team as 'devastated' going into the Stoke game, I don't know what adjective I can use now. But I'm an optimist, so let's say it's an Arsenal team that needs to bounce back from a series of disappointing results. A home game against Fenerbahce could be an opportunity for us to 'pick up the pieces and put them back together quickly' (Brice's words recycled) before the big league game against Man Utd. The Arsenal team, albeit depleted, should also fight for a win in order to virtually secure qualification to the Champions League knock-out stage.

Vital Quotes:

The manager was honest about the situation and challenge ahead. 'We have not been efficient with our results in the last two games. That is why it is important to come back and win.'

When the press and pundits alike questioned the mental strength and 'courage' of his team after failing to win ugly, Wenger was defiant as ever: 'The problem is not the bravery of my players ... the problem is we have not been efficient in some games. Let's re-establish what we have not done well recently - defended well as a team - and continue to play the game we can play in a positive way.'

'We have four home games on the trot now. So we want to qualify in the Champions League and come back in a strong way in the Premier League.' The boss is also correct in saying that but he's also cautious and wary of the trouble that Fener could cause, saying that 'We are ready and focused. But, at the same time, we respect Fenerbahce because we know that they are a very good footballing side.'

The manager of this very good footballing side has been under enormous pressure as the Turkish team are still in ninth place of the Turkish Super Lig. After letting their lead slip, Fener's encounter with Eskisehirspor ended a 2-2 draw last Saturday. Losing their captain Alex to injury at the same time, Luis Aragonés seemed cautious ahead of their visit to the Emirates, citing a very familiar player that he had coached at the international level as our major threat, 'Fŕbregas is an extraordinary player but principally what bothers me is my own team. We have our strengths and we have to show them. We made some mistakes in the first game but every game is different in the Champions League and we go out to win every game - tomorrow that will be our aim.'

It is pretty clear that both teams go into this game wanting to put on a better defensive show than the goalfest a fortnight ago.

Arsenal Team News:

Wenger will be forced to make changes all over the pitch today. We are without Emmanuel Adebayor (ankle, latest club news says he's ruled out for three weeks), Theo Walcott (shoulder) and Emmanuel Eboue (knee) in attack and captain William Gallas (hamstring) at the back, in addition of course to Eduardo (ankle) and Tomas Rosicky (hamstring).

If I were to make a guess, Wenger might be forced to play Robin van Persie simply because he will be suspended for the red card he earned against Stoke for the coming three league games (argh).

It would make sense for Wenger to use a couple of younger players like Djourou, Ramsey and Wilshere to rest the more established guys for the Man Utd game. So the line-up is anyone's guess really.

Possible starting XI: Almunia; Sagna, Toure, Silvestre, Clichy; Denilson, Song, Fabregas, Nasri; van Persie, Bendtner

Player to watch: Robin van Persie

If Wenger plays him, he will have to put in one hell of a good game to kind of redeem himself after the Stoke game and show what he's truly made of.

For me, also interesting to watch is the 12th man at home. I know it's a very cliched thing to say, but it's high time that the home fans really get behind the team and sing their lungs out when their support is needed most.

Fenerbahce Team News:

Captain Alex has a thigh strain and will miss the game. Fortunately for Fener, they have the fit-again Deivid available and he will shoulder the playmaking responsibilities in the absence of Alex.

Player to watch: Daniel Guiza

We know he finished the last La Liga season as the top goalscorer. Although he took a bit of time to adapt to the Turkish league, the last CL encounter told us that he's still a goalscoring threat for Fener. His strike partner, Semih Sentürk, was also dangerous going forward as we witnessed. The fact that they have been limiting the appearances of Kazim Kazim, the London-born Turkey international (and Arsenal fan may I add), although the forward's good performances made him a favourite among Fener fans last season.

Match Facts & Stats

Ref Watch:

Roberto Rosetti The Italian is an experienced ref who also worked at EURO 2008. Can't tell you anything more than that really...

Match Prediction:

I have to say that I'm not good at predicting results. All I can say is that I want a home win, any kind of win at all!

Next Fixtures:

8/11 (Sat) - Man Utd (H) - Premier League

1/11 (Tue) - Wigan (H) - Carling Cup

5/11 (Sat) - Aston Villa (H) - Premier League

Date:Wednesday November 5 2008
Time: 4:12PM


God NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! POlease not Denilson or Diaby amnywhere near the wings, there will be blood if I see that poxy line up again! No left winger??? Play Vela, hell play RVP there but not bloody Diaby. No right winger? Play Nasri, play ramsey but not Denilson!
05/11/2008 16:21:00
Forgot to mention, a very fine first effort GoonerLou, top stuff!
05/11/2008 16:21:00
Nice one Lou - I have to say I'm feeling nervous about this one. I normally expect us to bounce back strongly but for the first time I have this feeling that we could screw this up, such is the paucity of confidence around the club.
05/11/2008 16:45:00
No matte rhow bad we are Gooner_Vin, Fenerbache can esily make us look like world beaters they are really that bad! I would take a stab that our full strength carling cup team could beat them at The Grove!
05/11/2008 16:54:00
LG - hope you're right cos a 3 or 4 nil is what we need for our confidence going into the Man U game. I have really high hopes for Vela and his time can't come soon enough. Arsene should play Carlos and Robin tonight upfront - two left footers, that would be awesome!
05/11/2008 17:15:00
should be a good game, if ye win, ye have gone through so gives ye a chance to rest players for other 2 games
05/11/2008 17:30:00
i think it will be a draw against man u. arsenal will be up for it no doubt, every game is diff
05/11/2008 17:33:00
Thanks guys, hope it's ok as a quick effort. I'm just here as a stand-in, Gunnerkid will be back for the next game preview. You can see that I chickened out on the scoreline prediction...! And LG, I know, I'm also with you on Diaby playing out wide. But like I said, the lineup's anyone's guess, and I'd personally like to see Carlos too. But I think we'll need him and Bendtner up front for ManU. Arghh Ade's out for 3 weeks when Robin got himself suspended for 3 games, arrrghhh! Sorry, time for some positivity. Here's to a home win!!! (And no worries, if I failed with the match prediction, I'll take responsibility and resign from match preview writing lol)
05/11/2008 18:07:00
Good job, Lou! Also, 123, thanks for the positive comments, just wish you hadn't come out with the silly stuff on the previous thread. Also, on this thread, I could actually read your post with no trouble. ANY POSITIVE RESULT FOR US TONIGHT IS ALL I ASK!
05/11/2008 18:32:00
123 - As of right now I would take a point! Excellent job Lou .... thanks for filling in at the last minute!! Watch your back Brice!! lol
05/11/2008 18:34:00
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