Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Tuesday March 6 2007
7th March 2007
Arsenal will be looking to save their season as they bid to overturn a 1-0 deficit against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday.
Champions League games are always important but this game has taken on a lot more importance after Arsenal exited both domestic cups in 4 days. First the young guns suffered a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in the Carling Cup final (an undeserved defeat I might add), then something closer to Arsenal`s first team suffered an agonizing defeat away to Blackburn after they had dominated for 70 minutes.
I wouldn`t say it`s vital that Arsenal win some silverware in their first season at Ashburton Grove but to say it would be pleasing would be an understatement! It would be outstanding to win the Champions League for the first time in Arsenal`s trophy-laden history.
It`s certainly a clash of the tactician`s. PSV boss Ronald Koeman plotted the downfall of Manchester United and Liverpool during his time at Benfica. I don`t think I really need to explain that Arsene Wenger is a great tactician! You just have to look at what he has done with Arsenal to see that he is one of the best managers to have lived!
Arsene Wenger doesn't expect PSV to play anything resembling an attacking game: "PSV are a cautious team who came out in the first game and beat us on the break," said Wenger. "They try to suck you in and counter-attack."
"I feel 1-0 is a tricky score. It is difficult — psychologically more than footballistically.
'But obviously we will have to strike the right balance and try and get one back as quickly as possible.
'I certainly think we can score against them but it is important for us to feed our strikers and give them some support.
'It's part of the learning process but we won't have the number of chances against PSV that we did against Reading. They came here with nothing to lose but PSV will be much more defensive. I don't expect them to attack us."
PSV Coach Ronald Koeman hinted he could play a more open game when his side visit the Grove tomorrow: 'Arsenal are not a typical English team.
'They play more a European system with fast players up front, a lot of talent in the midfield and a solid defence.
'It was important not to concede in Holland because we will get more space in London.'
The great news is that skipper Thierry Henry is fit enough to start. Wenger confirmed at his press confrence that the French international striker has recovered enough to play but Le Boss also admitted that there could be a reaction that could set Henry back to square one in terms of his recovery.
Tomas Rosicky is definantly out, but we already knew that. The Czech international is recovering form a groin injury.
Justin Hoyte, Manu Eboue, Robin Van Persie and Mathieu Flamini
Henry is due a big performance. It'll take a performance of Bernabaue proportions if Arsenal are to progress.
PSV will be missing Manuel Da Costa and Jan Kronkamp for the trip to the Emirates with laryngitis and a hamstring complaint respectively. Eric Addo and Sun Xiang are likely to step in and deputise for the injured pair.
Koeman wil have tol make late checks on goalkeeper Gomes, skipper Phillip Cocu, defenders Alex and Carlos Salcido and midfielder Timmy Simons, who have been suffering from slight injuries, but are expected to be fit. Ibrahim Afellay is doubtful.
The pacey striker could be Arsenal's undoing. Going into the game 1-0 down Arsenal need to attack. PSV will look to catch us on the counter and he is certainly capable of hitting us hard!
It's not going to be Arsenal's day. PSV will come with no intention of attacking. Nine men behind the ball and bang long balls for Kone to chase. I think PSV will get a goal before half time before Henry scores late on. Arsenal to go out!
Arsenal have a weekend off after their early FA Cup exit. Next up is Aston Villa away in the Premiership.
Date:Tuesday March 6 2007
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