We have two very difficult games coming up against Dortmund. After that we will know exactly where we are in the group. They are a very good side and they are doing well in their own league.
Winning the first two games makes a difference and now we have a massive game at home. If we win that one we are almost there. I think this is going to be a crucial one.
We currently sit top of our table with just three points between us and both Dortmund and Marseille.
Arsene Wenger says that win this at we are nearly through to the knockout:
It’s not a decider but an important one. It’s an 80% game for the qualifying.
If we win the game, we know that if we win the other home game we are there.
A win tonight will see us push Dortmund further away from us and getting 9 points from our first three CL group matches would be fantastic, massive.
Mikel Arteta is right though, tonight we face the toughest opposition we have so far this season, and by miles. Ok, Napoli managed to beat them 2-1 but the Germans went down to ten men just before half-time. They also had their manager sent to the stands which probably didn’t help matters either.
We breezed past the Italians with great ease and were privileged to witness a first half display which surpassed any kind of football we have seen for many years and the second half, although very different, was calm, collected and very very professional.
We need that again tonight, start with pace and directness and be clinical in front of goal.
We’ll have to do it without Mathieu Flamini though, he’s been ruled out after suffering with concussion on Saturday. There’s a ’5 day rule’ after such an injury and the doctors won’t allow him to play. Very sensible, not even a match like tonights is worth taking such a risk on a players health. Nothing is.
As said earlier, Dortmund have some fantastic players, Reus, Lewandowski, Aubameyang, Bender and some may be concerned over Sahin, but he was pretty average when he was at Liverpool.
Szczesny says that his good friend and Polish team-mate can’t wait to get to Arsenal tonight, but their friendship will go out the window for one night only.
But look at the players we have.
Aaron Ramsey, who can’t put a foot wrong in 2013, Mesut Ozil who was born to play in the Champions League, Olivier Giroud whose flicks are more precise than those in his hair, Bacary Sagna who looks to get younger each game, Per Mertesacker, Kieran Gibbs, Laurent Koscielny who together, look the most organised they ever have. Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla… the list really is endless and those players have absolutely nothing to fear ahead of tonight, nothing!
Respect Dortmund but show no fear, start as they did against Napoli and give nothing away.
Most importantly, we have the home fans on our side and they count for a lot when in full voice and they need to be tonight.
From beginning to end, The Emirates has to be buzzing and the players, whoever get to play need to give them a lot to be buzzing about…
Finally, Happy Birthday to Arsene Wenger who is 64 years old today.
Let’s hope he has two reasons to celebrate tonight…