That is the ending note of the Champions League tune that has always given me the chills.
After that the stone faced players know that its down to business and not against just any pub team, it’s always against a top team. We face Borussia Dortmund who like us have staged a miraculous recovery after a poor start winning 6 out of their last seven games including a win against Bayern Munich in the weekend at the Allianz Arena.
I watched that game keenly so as to assess the shape they were in before today’s clash and the first thing I noted was how well-organized they were, Bayern had tons of possession but had nothing to show for it especially in the first half.
Their pressing was also very intense rarely giving Bayern time to settle and were led by Hummels who was very impressive at the back and with Kehl in midfield Bayern couldn’t break through. Their fullbacks received plenty of support from their widemen and as a result, Robben and Ribery or Robbery as the Bavarian fans call them, failed to sparkle.
When they won the ball they tried to break quickly but most of their transitions were poor and in my opinion here is where they sorely miss Lucas Barrios, who is out injured and Nuri Sahin who is currently plying his trade in Madrid. Shinji Kagawa apart from a few sparks here and there has been below par this season in comparison.
This leads me nicely to discussing two players that have been linked with us in recent months: Mario Goetze and Kevin Grosskreutz, the latter of course has reportedly said he would love to play for us!
Mario Goetze is the more talented of the two, he plays in a role that has been referred to in some quarters as a central winger. He is among the breed of players who start on the wings but moves in field to dictate play, he is very good and Santos will need to be very disciplined against him.
He reminds me of Nasri a lot in his playing style and most Gooners would love it if we were to sign him but I have mixed feelings about it and if we were to sign him he would most likely play on the wing.
With him rarely taking on a fullback we will go back to tiki taka losing the dynamic play we currently have with Gervinho and Theo out wide and I don’t us to go back to tiki taka as I prefer a more direct play but, that’s up to the boss to decide.
Groosskreutz is a player that I will liken to Park Ji Sung, he can run all day and is a very good tactical player to have. He will chip in with goals but I wouldn’t class him as a player to take us to the next level. Against Bayern he was very poor because against skilled opposition his limited skill set becomes clear for all to see. He is not a player that would walk into our team but Goetze would with ease.
The media are speculating that we are indeed very keen on the former but only time will tell.
Going back to Arsenal we have been doing very well lately which is nice, however our Champions League campaign so far has not been sparkling but we are doing ok. A win tonight will ensure our qualification to the next round and we must do all we can to finish top to avoid meeting the top seeds at such an early stage.
However what are the odds we win our group and Milan finish top in theirs but we still get Barca? …
Our midfield will have to deal with their pressing better than in Germany and I had hoped Rosicky would start as his experience would be paramount but he has been ruled out with an injury.
With the threat of Goetze I can’t see AA starting on the left either since Santos will need all the help he can get and maybe Diaby will provide that extra cover.
Overall I don’t expect too many changes for this one and if we play to our potential we will win.
Our winning run is going well, let’s hope it continues tonight….
C’MON YOU REDS !!!!!!!!
Written by K-TR7