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Preview: Arsenal v. Celtic (h)


Ashburton Grove



After making the home leg of the tie almost a formality, Arsenal entertains Scottish opponents, Celtic FC, tomorrow to officially book a spot in Friday's Champions League group stage draw.

In the aftermath of the Gunner's 2-0 away win in Glasgow, the media decided to focus on everything except Arsenal's impressive performance, just like they did after the demolition of Everton. Sure, the ball going off of Gallas' rump was a tad lucky, but the second goal was all down to Arsenal. If Caldwell didn't put it into his net, Bendtner would have happily done it for him. Song, Denilson, and Cesc bossed the midfield from the start and silenced the Parkhead faithful. A similar performance in the midfield will guarantee Arsenal progressing into the money stages of the competition.

Vital Quotes:

Wenger is stressing to his squad that there is still a job to be done. He had this to say: "My priority is still to get into the Champions League first and once we are in it, to try to win,' he said. 'We live in a pragmatic world so let`s first get in it.

"It`s not job done, it`s job to do. That`s how I approach it. There`s a job to do and to finish. We have done a big part of it but the most important [thing] is to get over the line and that`s what we want to achieve tomorrow."

Arsene surely has plans to rotate his squad, but he doesn't want to disrespect Celtic by publicly announcing it. "I rest players who I feel need a rest without considering the game after." Wenger declared. 'My target is to win tomorrow`s game, it`s a massive game for us and after that we will see what we do for the weekend.'

I will not rotate as a result of the Man United game [I would only rotate] because when a player is very tired and you have a player who is very fresh you play the player who is very fresh because he will be better. But some players who have played many, many games if I feel they need a rest I`ll do it."

Arsenal Team News:

The only new injury is to Fabregas, but he would have been expected to sit out this one anyways. Whether or not he will be back for United on Saturday remains to be seen. If he does play at Old Trafford, he will most likely play for Spain the following week. So is it worth it, or should we give Cesc a three week rest? It's an interesting conundrum for the Professor to mull over.

Djourou, Rosicky, Nasri, Walcott, and Fabianski are all out, but Rosicky will be in the squad against United if needed.

I don't know what starting lineup to expect. The players rested on Saturday will most likely come pack into the fold, but who Arsene feels needs more rest is a mystery that only his detailed stats knows the answer to.

Player to watch: Robin van Persie

van Persie didn't have a good game in Glasgow. Something was off. He was lacking his usual confidence, and his shots lacked conviction. On Saturday, he played much better but still didn't manage to bulge the back of the net. He was visibly frustrated throughout the latter portions of the second half, but it was very encouraging to see him trying so hard to get that goal even though we were three goals up. I expect him to grab one today if Arsene decides to play him, which might not happen.

Celtic Team News:

Celtic midfielder Landry N'Guemo is suspended due to yellow card accumulation, while Stephen McManus, Barry Robson, and Mark Wilson are also out due to injury.

Player to watch: Aiden McGeady

I hadn't seen much of McGeady before last weeks match, but he impressed me with his performance in the midfield. He is extremely quick and has plenty of tricks up his sleeve. Hopefully, for Celtic fans, the club doesn't have to let him go if they get knocked out tomorrow.

Match Facts & Stats

I see no evidence to support Celtic being able to slow our attack down, but leave it up to Arsenal to make it harder than it needs to be. I'm going to be pissed if I don't have any fingernails left tomorrow night. I'll go with 3-0 win for the boys in red in white.

Ref Watch:

Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez, from Spain, will be the head official for this tie. He was also the official for our penalty shootout win in Rome last season, so I hope he brings along the good fortune again.

Next Fixtures:

29/8 (Sat) - Man United (a) - Premier League

12/9 (Sat) - Man City (a) - Premier League

15 or 16/9 - UEFA Match Day 1 - Champions League

The match will be broadcasted on ITV in England and on FSC in the States.

Writer:Brice Coffer
Date:Tuesday August 25 2009
Time: 5:05PM

Best of International Football News



The new look match preview looks excellent! The only leg I was worried about in this tie was the away leg, and to come away from that 2-0 to the good is a massive bonus. The players can't get complacent for this game, but I'm going to. 4-0 to Arsenal.
25/08/2009 17:12:00
I think we will win but i think 4-0 is is wishful thinking maybe a repeat of the score at parkhead
25/08/2009 19:10:00
I made sure to follow the new guidelines on Vital Arsenal and put 'Ashburton Grove' as the stadium instead of that E word. And I agree with you Rocky. The Vital network did a fantastic job with the redesign format for the previews.
25/08/2009 20:36:00
A clean sheet for us? Highly doubtful. I think it will be 2-1 or 3-1. Diaby needs to put in a 2nd god game, to show he can be consistent. Hopefully, our strikers can score a few goals for their confidence ahead of the ManU game.
26/08/2009 00:17:00
i'm with prits, 3-1 to Arsenal. Although a clean sheet would be nice. Gallas and Vermealen are playing so well but like someone mentioned in another collum i wanna see them taking some pride in keeping a clean sheet, because i think they can. I think they'll do it against ManU because they'll be forced too play, but they should be doing it everytime.
26/08/2009 04:53:00
Good job guys with the new look. For a long time now I have always had the flutters before this kind of game. But for this game I feel quite good about it. Just like I feel good about the MU game coming up on Saturday. I agree with Prits 2-1 or 3-1. Somehow I have a good feeling about the team. I agree that Willyscore and Vermilator are doing well at central defence annihiliating all attacks.
26/08/2009 06:46:00
It's been fantastic to watch Gallas and the Verminator (like that nickname) work so well together and so quickly. I hope Gallas keeps scoring those scrappy goals all season long! I like your optimism, phreddy!
26/08/2009 15:51:00
We have had a great start to the season, but as you know, we haven't won anything yet. All the pundits are ' bigging us up ', but let's take one game at a time. We all need to calm down and not get carried away. I think we'll win 12-1 tonight, AA will score 5, RVP 3, Bendtner 2, Song and Gallas with one each. Come on you Gunners.
26/08/2009 16:50:00
CR1, you're hilarious! You know of course Diaby will get injured again because Celtic will come out to kick us but in compensation the newly hirsute young Vieira clone will bang in 8 goals all on his own.
26/08/2009 17:32:00
That Eduardo is a cheating [unt, I hope the keeper breaks his other ankle.
26/08/2009 20:17:00
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