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

AZ Alkmaar vs. Arsenal

DSB Stadion

20/10/09

19:45

On Sky

Preview: Alkmaar v. Arsenal

Arsenal travel to Holland looking for their third win on the bounce in 2009 Champions League group play. The Dutch champions are rooted to the bottom of Group H after losing in Greece and drawing in Liege. Arsenal, on the other hand, have made a great turnaround after falling two goals behind during the first match in Liege and top the group. A win tomorrow would almost guarantee Arsenal a place in the lucrative knock-out stages.

Quick Vital Quotes:

Arsene praises van Persie in the Daily Mail, but the real story lies in Ronald Koeman's outline to beat Arsenal.

'Arsenal, therefore, have defects. We must take the initiative, dominate possession and take the chances that come our way."

I can't help but laugh. Dominate possession against Arsenal? Goonerholic gives a good view on Koeman's plan.

AZ Alkmaar Team News:

AZ are not in good form. They have lost five of their last eight matches. They need to do well in this match to get their domestic and European campaigns back on track. Fortunately for them, they have no injuries or suspensions to report.

Player to watch: Moussa Dembele

Moussa is a young, talented winger who can make even the best defenders look like amateurs. Gibbs(or Clichy) and Sagna will have to be aware of Dembele's threats. Here is a video that shows what he can do.

Arsenal Team News:

Our injury rotation continues as Rosicky and Walcott are out, but Vela and Clichy return. Also, Fabianski and Nasri will play against the Wolves reserves on Wednesday. Bendtner, Djourou, Eduardo, and Denilson are still out.

Player to watch: Manuel Almunia

The Spaniard will most likely return to the starting lineup since his recovery from the bubonic plague. It will be interesting to see how he responds to being dropped for several matches.

Match Prediction:

I can't see anything, but an Arsenal win. Alkmaar to dominate possession? Don't bet on it. We might play bad like we did in Liege, but even that should be enough to see off the Dutch champions.

Next Fixtures:

25/10 (Sun) - West Ham (A) - Premier League

28/10 (Wed) - Liverpool (H) - Carling Cup

31/10 (Sat) - Tottenham (H) - Premier League




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The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday October 20 2009

Time: 6:04AM

Your Comments

Vela to get a start? or will it be Eboue? Also, I think we're fortunate that our match falls on a Tuesday this time around, because a certain number of players have played A LOT of games in the past month, and will need that extra day of rest for this weekend...
TPowell
If Alkmaar really plan to take the game to us, then I smell a big away win. Also, its almost two weeks away, but the NLD is coming up!
gunnerkid107
They're taking the possession game to us indeed. But we're having a better spell now it seems. Shock first goals in other games are making me a bit nervous but if we can take the pressure from them for the first 20 mins or so we should be ok.
GoonerLou
good luck lads - always like to see the English sides do well!
merlin
Refer back to the Vital Quotes above, the praises Arsene gave RvP! I thought he's defo gonna score but he so unselfishly gave the ball to Cesc who obliged. Lovely goal, lovely team work! :)
GoonerLou
yes...and not forgetting arshavin's presence of mind to win the ball too...nice
Temasek
Nice counter attack, which lead to the goal from Cesc, more of the same for the 2nd half would be very good!
hackneyval
Poor Pepe Reina again... made a terrific double save but still the 3rd attempt which was a clear header went in... 1-1 at Anfield... :P
GoonerLou
ahhh ball sack.
Gunnerman
Can't believe it!
GoonerLou
Ah well let's just learn from it. Judging from AA's face I think he will. I'm just grateful for the group draws in the first place. We've got 3 games to get another 3 points to qualify. Could have been worse guys.. look at Barca and Liverpool...
GoonerLou
That was the worst team Arsenal has played in years, and the players didn't even bother to play. Traveling supporters have every right to be angry with how Arsenal approached the match.
gunnerkid107
I can lou, our players have played too many minutes lately, for club and country. Just as I predicted in the match thread. At least we have 5 days until our next match, in the grand scheme of things, this one wasn't really all too important
TPowell
At least, Arsenal still tops the table; and, yes! It could have been worse. On another note, the team may need to stipulate a "no head" zone for Diaby in the penalty area when defending set pieces. We can do without his Diab(y)olical clearances.
Naijagunner
I see what you did there
Gunnerman
Yeah! Couldn't resist it. When he is in that box, it is heart in the mouth, for me.
Naijagunner
I agree. Diaby shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the box for opposition crosses. He had another stinker. Can't wait for Nasri to come back.
Wyn Mills
Actually at least this time it was clearly an unfortunate ricochet from his chest/chin/shoulder/whatever. Perhaps he should be more attentive but usually he heads them to our goal like he plays for the opposition! So a normal mistake isn't as bad as a Diaby-mistake.
Fabby69
gk107, i believe you meant "the worst arsenal performance in years" when you said "the worst team Arsenal has played in years" ... I don't know if that was the worst performance we've put up in recent times but it was def a disappointing display overall. But I thought it was one of arshavin's most "lively" display in arsenal shirt...he actually tracked back and won the ball back...
Temasek
ok i've calmed since yesterday - if i had logged in yesterday my post would have been full of expletives. The result, although could have been better, was not a bad one, we have played two of our away games and have two home games left. Unless we have a major cock-up we are still in a very strong position and we do have to remember how many of our attacking players were out yesterday. Hopefully atleast two of them will be back for the hammers game.
DBerg
I actually thought Diaby, along with Song, was one of our better players. I think having a run of games (in the same position) has benefitted him and he looks a tidier, more 7 out of 10 player than the wild variations between idiocy and genius. I'm disappointed that yet again arrogance and complacency creeps into these young players- who've achieved nothing in the game of football- so easily. We tried to coast in the second half and the equaliser was what we deserved. I'm tempted to say that I'd rather that complacency was jolted out of them in a game like this rather than against West Ham or Sours. But there's little evidence that these young players learn quickly, particularly when it comes to complacency and arrogance, which fills the team every team we put something approaching a decent run together. We have very good players and have had a good season so far, but mentally we're still very suspect. When under pressure against bigger rivals, we fold like deck chairs. When not under pressure against smaller sides, we get cocky and give cheap goals away. We simply do not have a good enough mentality in the side to win the league and the Alkmaar game was proof of that.
Little Dutch
LD, if proof were needed then it came today against West Ham. The statistics will say we continued an unbeaten run, but the reality of it is we are dropping points that may ultimately deprive us of silverware yet again. I notice Wenger has stopped referring to 'mental strength'.
Wyn Mills
 

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