Arsenal - Preview: Arsenal v. Celtic (h)
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Arsenal vs. Celtic

Ashburton Grove



Preview: Arsenal v. Celtic (h)

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.

The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday August 25 2009

Time: 5:05PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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26/08/2009 17:32:00

That Eduardo is a cheating [unt, I hope the keeper breaks his other ankle.
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26/08/2009 20:17:00

The boys have been cool and playing terrific football. Granted Dudu dived for that penalty although he could very well have scored.
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26/08/2009 20:18:00

YE y wish bad for others. U hv a ref to sort thse things out. In anycase he would hv scored.
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26/08/2009 20:20:00

Then why didn't he, you would have thought that he of all people, would want to play a fair game, no-one should want to be labelled a blatant cheat, he'll be carrying fake blood next.
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26/08/2009 20:30:00

Needless thing to do, dive, we were on top anyway. I wonder if the commentators woul be going on about it as much if it had been a celtic player that dived, having said that I can fully understand celtic supporters beign *****ed off. And there is always one slimy spud popping up showing their ignorance.
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26/08/2009 20:33:00

The rules should be, that the ref should ask the player (eduardo in this instance) if there was contact. If he says yes, it should be reviewed at half time, and if he is proved a lying cheat like he is, then he should be sent off and banned for 6 matches. If it's in the second half, then the same but a 7 match ban. See how many divers you get after that !!
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26/08/2009 20:35:00

Half of the spud team?
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26/08/2009 20:40:00

You are a bunch of cheating faggots with a manager with a very strong "YOUTH POLICY", who never see's the cheating like when two of your cheating shirt lifters bumped into each other, then rolled around crying, hoping the ref would stop us scoring. Only it was a proper ref that game. 5!lly pr1 -ck armoury. gotta go where 3-0 up again.
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26/08/2009 20:40:00

1 - 0 at half time. Ebue has been particularly good today and Gallas going forward effective. Verminator continues to annhilate all the attacks and Dudu has been bullish. Song and Denilson good, Clicky and Sagna really smart and Nik and Diaby enterprising.
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26/08/2009 20:42:00

Typical arsenal second goal well taken by Ebue. Arsenal 2 Celtic 0
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26/08/2009 20:50:00

Eduardo's shouldn't be proud of that goal. Not a great performance but Vermaelen and Gallas look like a solid partnership again. I'm sure I'm the not the first one to point this out, but all of Arsene's recent signings have settled into the team extremely quickly (e.g Sagna, Eduardo, Arshavin, Nasri, Vermaelen). Shows that he puts he a lot of thought into who he buys and how they fit into the team.
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26/08/2009 20:51:00

Hey who said cheaters never prosper a. Oh well another 5 away goals for us, B team this time, but a ....... who's counting
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26/08/2009 21:15:00

Arshavin is just a magician. 3 - 0 to Arsenal
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26/08/2009 21:19:00

As usual we have to gift our guests a goal very last kick of the day. 3 - 1 final score.
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26/08/2009 21:30:00

Although to be honest their last goal was class!
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26/08/2009 22:40:00

It was disappointing to see Eduardo dive, to be honest. He comes across as such a likeable bloke, and I really hope this is a one-off. That goal killed off the tie. Eboue had a really good game - offensively and in terms of work rate, perhaps his best in an Arsenal shirt. Once again, no clean sheet, for the 3rd time in 4 games. I hope we will not pay for it in the close games.
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26/08/2009 22:49:00

It was disappointing to see Eduardo dive, to be honest. He comes across as such a likeable bloke, and I really hope this is a one-off. That goal killed off the tie. Eboue had a really good game - offensively and in terms of work rate, perhaps his best in an Arsenal shirt. Once again, no clean sheet, for the 3rd time in 4 games. I hope we will not pay for it in the close games.
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26/08/2009 22:49:00

I agree prit eddy is the last arsenal player I would have expected to dive and because as you said he is such a likeable it makes it all the more dissapointing. It really spoilt the game for, a game I think we would have won comfortably anyway
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26/08/2009 23:12:00

I wouldn't be so naive about Eduardo, I have seen him go down very easily in the past. Nice, honest and hard working - he is still a footballer, and they all dive.
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26/08/2009 23:20:00

I think its fair to say that the majority of fans anywhere in the world would rather not see the kind of gamemanship Eduardo displayed today, and its been rightly condemned by most gooners that I know. But, for a spuddie to come here and mouth off, calling everyone names? Get off your gaddemn high horse dikc head! Your players do it just as much as any other, Manure has it down to an art form and have profitted by it through the years, we as a club, either fans or management, have never encouraged that kind of behaviour, and I can remember less than 4 times where one of our has actively conned a ref for a penalty or free kick. Spuddie, can you say the same about your sorry lot? Oh, I forgot, you're winning the Premiership this year!
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26/08/2009 23:25:00

Have to say Vermalen looks a good player. Shame about Eduardo though. Diving even when the result was a certainty anyway.....really shameful that. Can kind of understand a player bending the rules in a cup final etc although its still no excuse for cheating....but to do it 2-0 up. tut tut
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26/08/2009 23:37:00

Look at the spud watching our game when his own team are playing. Another 5 but who's counting? Nobody is because its a Carling cup game against DONCASTER...... even your watching real football. big teams dont even play in the 2nd round of the carling cup, big clubs who qualify for europe like..........FULHAM. Never seen a Spud dive no? That Barbietov was a real hard man when he played for you.
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26/08/2009 23:46:00

That wasnt aimed at you HY but your pal who wishes severe injuries on a player who, wait for it........ took a dive?! As if he is the 1st player to ever do this? Its too easy to claim some kind of morale high ground about divers, I have to ask what is worse diving to win a penalty or kicking someone out of a game like Celtic tried to do to Fabregas in the 1st game?
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26/08/2009 23:55:00

I remember when eduardo dived once against birmingham 18 months ago............there was minimal contact then too. So who could blame him for jumping out of the way when a huge thug was rushing towards him tonight?
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27/08/2009 00:04:00

Haha. YidEdy was watching the Arsenal game instead of Tottenham. Hilarious.
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27/08/2009 01:02:00

Keep it tight and it's a foregone conclusion. Take no risks, play to the strengths. Contain and win
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27/08/2009 01:03:00

I just hope Eduardo never ever does that again. He's too classy a player to ever have the need to dive to score goals.Personally disappointed. And the incident has been rightly condemned by most gooners.
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27/08/2009 01:20:00

A balanced, detailed analysis of the leg and the tie - At least while we wait for LD's. To be compared favourably with other articles of note, notably from News C*rp's The Times of L*ondon.
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27/08/2009 06:49:00

eduardo what...maybe isn't purposely... but in this mach that is irrelevant.
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27/08/2009 07:42:00

I was really disappointed that he took a dive. In the stadium i had no idea until i got a text from a spud associate saying he had dived. When i got home i couldnt help but feel slightly deflated. Yes Gerrard, Rooney, Ronaldo, Drogba, Robben have all been guilty of it far more times, but i hate to see Arsenal players do it. Hopefully he does not get a reputation, costing us when he is actually fouled.
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27/08/2009 10:16:00

Villa fan here. I have always liked the Arsenal. They play football as it should be played. You have some wonderful players and I genuinely hope that you win the league. Makes it all the more disappointing to see Eduardo gaining a penalty like that. I know, all teams do it - even the Villa - but it was still disappointing to see when it was clear that you were far superior on the night and were certain to win the tie. Instead of being elated at the football you played I am left with a slightly bitter taste.
chocolate teapot
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27/08/2009 11:12:00

The Spurs game wern't on you depressed bunch of tarts. Icepole ur a t0554, wonder if wenker saw it. Doesn't matter cause the the FA / UEFA did, and are bringing charges, shame they don't bring charges against wenker, but why bring up the past A... Hope united stuff you tomora !!
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29/08/2009 03:39:00


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