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Arsenal vs. Roma

Emirates Stadium



On Sky

Arsenal v. AS Roma

After another false dawn following an impressive cup performance, Arsenal will need to pick themselves up and regroup ever so quickly as the task gets no easier when AS Roma invades the Emirates on Tuesday.

This game should make for a better viewing than the Sunderland match did because there is no chance Roma will set up like Sbragia's men did. Arsenal's newly found defensive sturdiness will be tested like never before this year. Though come Tuesday night, I'm afraid we won't be talking about defense, but instead our lack of offense again.

Vital Quotes:

Wenger had this to say leading up to the club's 200th European match. 'I don't believe Roma will come for a goalless draw,' said the Frenchman.

'They will play in an Italian way, catch us on the break because they know an away goal will give them a good chance.

'We will have to have a spot-on defensive performance and score goals against them.'

He went on to say this. 'We are, I believe, strong enough to beat them,' he told Sky Sports News.

'But in the Champions League at that level it's down to minor mistakes, being in good form on the day, being decisive and taking your chances.

'It's a very important game because I feel a big victory can give them the lift and confidence they need.

Arsenal Team News:

Abou Diaby will return to the Arsenal squad for the first time since being stretchered off in the final minute against West Ham. He will most likely return to the starting lineup to support van Persie at attacking midfield, as Wenger will probably set up in a 4-5-1 formation.

Clichy was taken off in the final minutes against Sunderland, and he proceeded to go straight down the tunnel. I have not heard any news on his condition so I would expect him to be on the team sheet, but if not Gibbs will have a big task ahead of him.

Other than Diaby, nobody else will return. Eduardo, Rosicky, Walcott, Fabregas, Adebayor, and Silvestre are all still out. Arshavin is cup tied and will not feature despite Wenger's complaints on the matter.

Possible starting XI: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Eboue, Song, Denilson, Nasri, Diaby, van Persie

Player to watch: Neves Denilson

Wenger also targeted Denilson as player to watch because he will be in for a battle of the highest order against Daniele de Rossi.

This is what Wenger had to say about the battle. "When you play against Roma you know there is one battle you cannot lose and that is in midfield because that is their strong point."

"They play with a congested midfield and with a lot of short passing on the ground. If you lose that battle you will be second best."

I know Denilson has been asked to play as a defensive midfielder, but he has a good eye and we need him to take a few more gambles up field and not just pass it side to side.

Roma Team News:

Roma have an injury crisis of their own. Centreback Juan and striker Mirko Vučinić are both out, while Totti and right back Cicinho did not practice on Monday and are major doubts. Expect Italian U-21 captain Marco Motta to fill in for Cicinho and Simone Loria to take Juan's place. If Totti is not fit then former Gunner Baptista will head Roma's attack.

Player to watch: Daniele De Rossi

Again this goes back to the battle in the midfield. Arsenal dominated the AC Milan midfield last season which led to our progression onto the quarter finals. A similar situation will take place in these ties. Whichever midfield walks away with the upper hand throughout the two ties, then you can be sure it will be that team in the hat for the next round.

Match Facts & Stats

This is Arsenal's 200th European game.

Arsenal have met only twice before, when the two faced each other 02-03 Champions League group competition. Arsenal won 3-1 in Rome and tied 1-1 at Highbury.

van Persie and Daniele De Rossi are both one card shy of an automatic suspension.

Ref Watch:

We will have a officiating crew from Denmark for this match. Claus Bo Larsen will be the head official. He was also the head official during the Super Cup in August between Manchester United and Zenit St. Petersburg, where he sent off Paul Scholes for a laughable handball.

Match Prediction:

I'm pretty doubtful of an Arsenal success tomorrow night. I think a 1-0 Roma win or another 0-0 draw is the most likely result, but I will predict a one nil win for the Arsenal. van Persie to come up with one moment of brilliance to put Arsenal in good shape to progress.

Next Fixtures:

28/2 (Sat)- Fulham (H)- Premier League

3/3 (Tue)- West Brom (A)- Premier League

8/3 (Sun)- Burnley (H)- FA Cup

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The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday February 23 2009

Time: 10:07PM

Your Comments

Funny thing is after moaning about all our 0-0's is that will be a good result 2moro! I think Diaby will come back in and play behind RVP in a 4-5-1, that formation suits us better in Europe. Roma are the typical Italian team, like a snake on the break and the key man for me might well be Alex Song because if they break directly onto the back 4 its curtains.
I think 0-0 would be a terrific result tomorrow night. Not conceding is the priority because we can counter attack sides that come at us away from home. As long as we don't concede tomorrow night, I think we'll go through because I always fancy us in Italy.
Little Dutch
i think that with Diaby up behind RVP he might get that bit of creativity weve been lacking. I'm still retaining the faith that this baron run is going to end.... 2-0 to the Arsenal. RVP and Nasri to score with Eboue throwng in a blinder to win him back some love.
i think a 0-0 draw will be the worst case scenario. cant see us dropping this game, the lads will want to prove themselves in this competition after our poor showing in the league. rvp to inspire us and perhaps baptista to inspire the romans. it will be a battle of the gladiators for sure!!
sorry, just to clarify, i meant we SHOULD win, but at best roma will get a 0-0 result.
As good as a 0-0 draw is in the long run, I think we need a goal out of this game to boost the spirits of the players/managers/fans.
What LD, you fancy us in Italy, but alwaysgunner says that you're always negative, after all, he did read your one article in which you were not happy with how the team performed.
Agree TP what a change, (woe betide us if we lose then we will hear how much he paid to go in again and again and again). Odd which part of my emails did I say he (LD) is always negative?? In general LD writes very good reports, if you could have cared to look back I have been in total agreement on many occasions; nevertheless I cant and wont always agree. But therein lies the problem disagree and the LD gang run to attack who ever does. A previous writer to this blog (and funny his initial was AG) arrived at the same conclusion alas he writes no more. If we lose I wait for the knitting needles.
i think this will be tight affair with a huge possibility of either team nicking it with a 1-nil victory. But i hope for the opposite to occur, with us kicking their arses all over the pitch.3-1.
Youngest in Charge
AG, I'll see it one more time. Whatever happens tonight, I'll report it tomorrow honestly and as I see it, whether we win 10-0 or lose 10-0. If you read it and disagree, by all means put across a different point of view. I think this will be very tight and I'd predict 0-0 and I would be delighted with that. Arsene has a great record with Italian teams, it suits our defence to play Italian sides who tend to favour slow build up play which I would back Toure and Gallas to snafoo. If Roma don't have Totti, I'd expect them to be happy with 0-0.
Little Dutch
De Rossi would kill our MF. Mark my words. 0-0 or 1-0 to Roma
(LD) I never doubt for one minute you will write it as you see it, most times I agree and enjoy the read; its just the odd times when (IMO) you get too negative and I have a different point of view. Just as i will when Tommy plays for us again? Hat boiled or stewed?
p.s. plus the gang that run after you. Thought never liked Lewisham anyway.
Lewisham? What?
Nothing wrong with Lewisham!! I would be delighted with a 0-0 here. I just think we are so bereft of confidence at the moment I can't see where any creativity or goals are coming from and a moment of class from Roma could leave us with a very dificult away game. I thought Sunderland played through our midfiled very easily and if Sunderland can do it then Roma certainly can. Maybe 5 in midfield would help but I'm not sure Wenger likes do this at home, even in Europe.
I am very happy that Diaby is back for this game, I think he's a great creative player to have in Europe, even if all our creative players were uninjured. But right now we really need him, we could've used him on Saturday. I'll definitely take a 0-0 draw -- that is not the worst case scenario at all, the worst case scenario is something like 2-0 to Roma. As long as we don't concede, I think we can win at the Olimpico. Right now our problem is scoring at home more than scoring away. And yes, you're right, it's a big game for our little Brazilian. I'm like a nervous Brazilian mom with Denilson, I'll be worrying about him all night.
I can also see a 0-0 coming too.. (and hopefully doing a Milan in Rome) But I agree with Gkid, we've piled the pressure on ourselves by not scoring of late and a goal would lift the team a great deal. I'm not making any predictions though.
Don't worry about Denilson, it is Almunia, Toure, Bendtner, Eboue, Diaby and possibly Nasri that we have to worry about.
I've been fairly pessimistic about our chances but then all of a sudden am thinking that might our recent defensive assuredness and scraping through games just what is needed in the CL? The way we've normally played, I've always felt we were suspectible to the higher quality of attacking players at CL level. Maybe this concious change of emphasis might actually help us scrape through a couple of rounds and into the semi-final.
well AG, you claim that 70% of this blog is negative and yet many if not all believe Arsenal will win this tie. Analysing the dearth of creativity when clearly we are struggling in the premiere league is NOT the same thing as being negative. I still expect us to go far in this competition and win the FA cup.
I heard that Fab has declared himself fit and wants to play against Roma. If only this was a risk the player and manager could afford to take. Sadly for us, Arsene is correct to treat his return cautiously. Sigh! How badly we need him back.
Glad Diaby is back. He need to be aggressive with De Rossi. I cant see Roma scoring, even with Totti. Esp if he's the lone striker. 1-0 to us.
julie, do you mean he wants to play in the second leg?
TP the report didn't specify whether it was for tonight or a fortnight's time but even so Wenger himself has said that he will not put him in the squad for the first or second leg even though the player is bursting to get back and doing very well in ball training, having "recovered." Aww, at least little Cesc is showing some fighting spirit, eh? Sounds as if technically he could play a game but obviously caution and buildng up fitness are very important. I say we'll see him by the end of the month (March).
TP, just checked again. Apparently Cesc DID ask to play against Roma tonight in the first leg but Arsene gave him a flat no because he doesn't want to risk him.
ah ok, well its good that he's progressing so well, we'll call him the anti-Rosicky. The sooner the better.
Very attacking starting line up, I guess today we will see just how far Denilson has progressed as a DM! Good luck young fella!
Almunia , Sagna Toure Gallas Clichy , Eboue Diaby Denilson Nasri , van Persie Bendtner
I'm very intrigued by the lineup. I thought for sure it would be a 4-5-1.
I wish I could be more positive, but I can only see 2 players in that team who can be relied upon to create a chance. RvP and Sam. However, we have a good recent history of decent players transforming to excellent ones in the CL.
Eboue just got Eboue'd!!
well taken robin
PHEW!!! :D
nasri and sagna have been class so far..
Denilson = Brilliant! If he can preform like this every game then I'll have to eat a piece of humble pie served by Tom. I said before the game we needed Nasri to come inside for us to have a chance, and what do you know, he has and we look good. Also Eboue is having a very effective game out on the right.
Robin, Diaby, Nasri, Sagna, and Clichy have also been wonderful. Great tip by Almunia to keep Roma out as well. If Bendtner had a better first touch this tie might already be over!
How is that not a straight red? At least a second yellow?!?
United are bossing Inter all over the park. Can't any team really take it to those guys? We've been playing very well, Denilson's been superb and I wish Eboue would play like this every game. Bendtner's poor touch continues to hurt our chances.
That 2nd half kick-off was comical. Did the ref give Kolo a yellow for complaining?!??! Nuts.
bentdner !!!!!!!! ****in idiot..!! well done eboue...
Are we going to pay for not killing this game off?
No, he got it for entering the field of play without the ref's permission.
Lou, the ref's a f-----g idiot. He was ready to start the game when we had only 8 players on the pitch. Gallas and Toure weren't on the pitch yet. Belatedly the ref notices that not all our players are on the pitch and THEN decides to go thru the proper procedure to allow them to come on the pitch officially (when he was all set to start the game without first checking if all our players were on the pitch yet). Toure comes on while Gallas waits for the ref to whistle that he can come on. Toure didn't wait, so he gets booked. Gallas waited, he doesn't get booked. Moron. Something is seriously wrong with our players totally unable to score from so many good chances.
Benthner, should have gone to specsavers.
o!! come on !!! SCORE !!
Eboue having a good game!
I can see us been punished if we don't score another goal
don't tell me Diaby's injured AGAIN!
How edifying! Totti kicks Denilson in the nuts off the ball while the ref's not looking.
n he missed,,,,,,,,,
And Henry scores for Barca, how we could use him to nite.
Baptista knew exactly what he was going on Diaby there. Having just got back from an Achilles injury, the cowardly beast just has a whack at Abou.
Eboue sums himself up today. Great build up play and tons of effort, but a lack of vision and no finishing skills.
Same as Nicky, he has no finishing skills either.
Shame Eduardo wasn't fit. Adebayor and Bendtner aren't up to the job.
I was thinking the same jubair, how many of the wasted chances would he have converted.
Yep should have won this 3-0 at least. At 1-0 it's finely balanced and could go either way.
At least we didn't concede and the result and performance will give us confidence. If we had Eduardo instead of Bendtner out there...
I would've taken this result and this performance very happily before the game. But now, I'm just a bit worried we might get punished for missing those great chances. That said though, we should enjoy the result (which Atletico, Inter and Lyon couldn't get at home) and the attacking performance despite not winning it by 2-0 or 3-0. At least we're getting there in terms of creating chances despite the injuries and unavailability of AA.
n no De Rossi at rome....
Yeah it's not a terrible result but it's so frustrating watching the team. We either struggle to create chances or when we do like today, our finishing is very sloppy. At least we have Arshavin in the domestic competitions and Eduardo should be back soon.
Yeah if we have Eduardo for the away leg and keep the defence solid (credit due there too today), we should be okay. :)
I think Eduardo will be back for the 2 leg.
Well it seems like my match prediction came true. One nil to the Arsenal with van Persie coming up with the winner. I wish we would of pushed on though. Eboue was wonderful today in effort and build up play, but as always the final product was abysmal. He proved why he is a good squad player today. I'm glad the crowd gave him such a great ovation even with his miss. Bendtner...what can you say? Played in an unfamiliar role today, but that wasn't his problem. His control and finishing in places he would of occupied at striker was nothing short of shocking. The next game will be nerve racking, but I think we will go through.
Fulham worries me now -- this team simply can't score goals, not even RVP. And Roma gave us lots of chances to do so. Roy Hodson is just like Sbragia, he knows how to park his team in front of goal in very disciplined fashion. I fear another draw.
Should not be overlooked that our defence has once again put in a very solid performance. They will have to try to score which should open things up for us.
I think Benthners problem is nerves and lack of confidence, a confident Benthner would have put those chances away.
First of all, the Bendtner criticism was a tad harsh. Second of all, this game proved that we do not have the QUALITY of football player available to us that is required to break 10 men defences down because we could not score more than 1 goal against an open team. Thirdly, Denilson was awesome. Also, Diaby was good on the ball, created a lot, but he is nowhere near good enough to replace Fabregas, however, he should partner Denilson till he comes back. Lastly, had Arshavin played in this game; it would have been 5-0. The amount of bull crud that you hear about us needing a player who will ruffle a few feathers, somebody to point fingers, a player who will rally the troops - all tosh. I cannot think of anything that we need less than a player who takes it upon himself to shout at the likes of van Persie, Nasri and Bendtner. They would not like that. We do not need that. By all means, a quality footballer who also has a go (Gallas for example) but that “Tony Adams” type of character could ruin us. We need quality, but not much and no new signing would be required to bring that. We lack a World Class creative central midfielder and a top class wide/creative midfielder - funnily enough, we have Fabregas and Arshavin waiting to come in Then we can argue about Toure, Almunia and Denilson being weak links in the team, but at the moment, it is the attacking players who constantly let us down.
I don't know Tom, I think Nasri is well on his way to being a world class creative central midfielder. If Cesc leaves (and I don't think he will) Nasri will be moved to the center.
Well said tom, give us our most creative players back Fab, Arshavin Theo and Rosicky plus Eduardo up front and we do well but if only we could find away to avoid all the fucing injuries that we seem to pick up at an infuriating rate.
How good was Diaby tonight? Hope he's not badly injured, but knowing him he'll be out for the season. But if he played like that more often our midfield would be complete. He has that x-factor that we lacked in the centre against Sunderland. Song works hard but doesn't have the nous of Diaby.
Very brave of AW to only start with 10 players, including a lone striker. Shame it took an hour before he brought on the 11th in Vela. He might have gotten away with it, mind.
TP, I am not going to argue that Nasri is not a top player, he clearly is, But he has under-performed. He will not move in the middle when Cesc leaves because he fits in really well on the left, no need to change that with Ramsey and Wilshere coming through the ranks.
Yeah, Bendtner is pants. I find it strange that Armory above thinks he lacks confidence - the guy thinks he is the best striker at the club, that's confidence for you (albeit misplaced). Adebayor is hardly the best finisher but I'm sure he would have put away one of the chances Bendtner made a hash of. Oh and as ridiculously bad as Eboue's end product is, his energy and willingess to run at players gave us an option that we otherwise lacked. This was noticeable when he came on late against Sunderland as well, it was something we had been lacking up to that point. Still wish it was Walcott providing that energy instead though.
Yeah we were profligate indeed. But I seem to remember how we missed some chances when we drew 0-0 against Milan at home only to turn it around in Italy. It was the minimum of rewards we should've got for our effort and performance but it's great to score without conceding in CL. I can honestly see us playing well again in Rome. The finishing will come as we get our collective confidence back.
Krismon can I refer you to LD's article re Bendtner's quotes. Suggest you read that to get an accurate assessment of Bendter's state of mind, he's not as cocky as you might think as his interview was misinterpreted and clearly deliberately lost in translation.
Tom, nasri has only been at Arsenal for less than a season so it is to early to say he can't fill Fab's role in the long term. As for Wilshere and Ramsey, they are only seventeen years old and we can't judge this early if they fill fit in that position and have the quality to replace Fab but Nasri, and I agree he fits very well on the left, has the passing range tackling and vision to fill Fab's role, maybe not as well as Fab (who could) but definetly someone that I would trust to play in the middle. The other choice would be Rosicky but..................
krismon1 All strikers thrive on scoring goals, thats theyr job. when they start to miss chances they start to question them selfs and loose a little sharpness in front of goal and in turn miss more chances! As for the statements that he is alleged to have said well I would not belive the British press if they told me that the sun rises in the east.
Agreed Armoury. How can we say how Cesc'd be replaced when he's still here and only 21? Nasri should be in front of Diaby, Ramsey, Wilshere and Den (as a creative CM) in terms of skills and experience - in that order. We've got Rosicky and perhaps AA who could play there as options. And Rosicky/AA/Theo/Vela/Eboue can be the wide men when Nasri moves central. Anyway, Cesc is here to stay!
don't care if we should have won this 4-0. Winning without letting the opposition have an away goal is far too important. Out of all the matches tonight, our result is the best one. Playing the home game first is always very cagey. Funny how nobody is criticizing MU's "profligacy", failing to score an away goal can be fatal, especially after all their opportunities. We're likely to have an extra player or two back for Rome and I still fancy Mourinho to punish Ferguson for that 0-0. Inter won't play as introvertly again, not with the brakes off after denying United the away goal. Job done last night, IMO. 1-0 is better than 2 or 3-1.
How can 1-0 be better than 3-1?
you are clearly underestimating the importance of the away goal rule and the way it is applied in the CL. I stand by what I said. Our result is better than what United came away with. If you play your home leg first you have to prioritize this rule to take the pressure off. Complaining about only winning 1-0 is splitting hairs. I fancy us heavily in Italy. And 3-1 for us is no better than 1-0 because either way Roma MUST score 2 goals to win but with last night's result they have no away goal in the bank and have to fear us converting over there. it's simple maths.
Bendtner was terrible.
Now all we need is 0-0 (how ironic) or a score draw. I don't care about winning 7-0 in the first knockoutround, just getting through to the final stages is the important thing, giving cesc a chance to get back. If we have to do that defensively, so be it.
Sorry everyone, bear with me for ANOTHER afterthought. To qualify what I've been saying. I agree that a single goal lead will make the return leg tighter than we would like it to be if other chances had been taken BUT Roma will be under more pressure than us. I KNOW you all remember the PSV tie 2 years ago.
"And 3-1 for us is no better than 1-0 because either way Roma MUST score 2 goals to win but with last night's result they have no away goal in the bank and have to fear us converting over there. it's simple maths". I hoped you would answer. 3-1 is better than 1-0 as its a 2 goal gap rather than a 1 goal gap. There are no outcomes where a 1-0 would be better than a 3-1. I know exactly how the away goals rule work in the CL and of course a 1-0 is much better than a 2-1, or 3-2. If they win 1-0 then it goes to extra time and they have another 30 minutes to try and get a winner. But its a fantastic result and one i am happy to take to Rome
A perfect example of this is when we lost 3-1 at Bayern. We won the home leg 1-0 but went out because overall we lost 3-2. HAd it of been 1-0 then we would of gone in to extra time where i think we would of won.
Lol some people must be confused reading all these scorelines, I nearly was! I'd say 1-0 and 3-1 are kinda the same if we score just one over there. They would have to then score three, only that the 3-1 would be better because it would go to extra time, whereas with 1-0, if we get one out there and Roma get three we got out with no extra time.
But it doesn't really matter cos Roma aint scoring three, no way. There's more chance of us scoring three. And no chance of caving in cos of their fans and atmosphere, because we showed over at Fenerbache we can handle it, actually probably even thrive on it.
Sorry, didn't mean to get bogged down in all the permutations of different scorelines.Think I started it, so I'll put my hands up. I just meant to say that I spent all 90+ minutes saying over and over, "please don't concede, please don't concede...etc" so I was delighted that we played well, won AND stopped them getting the away goal. Will now enjoy the 2 matches tonight, hopefully to see Real stuff Liverpool and gentleman Claudio scupper Chelski!

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