It’s Standard Liege in the Champions League tonight with top spot and a place in the second round of the competition at stake.
The manager will want his players focused on this game rather than the one against Chelsea yet his line-up will undoubtedly take into account his plan for the weekend. Arsene Wenger will want his best side on the pitch from the start against Chelsea and with this game coming just three days after Sunderland and an international break before that, there is sure to be some rotation from the side that lost on Saturday.
Bacary Sagna will surely be given a break after three games in a short space of time with Emmanuel Eboue the obvious replacement. Kieran Gibbs will travel with the squad and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him slot in for Armand Traore at left-back after the Frenchman’s rusty display against Sunderland.
While the manager will be reluctant to break up the central-defensive partnership despite William Gallas’ possible need for a rest, I can see a changes in the centre of the park. I have a feeling Denilson might slot in for Alex Song to give the Cameroon man preparation time for the massive test at Chelsea while Samir Nasri may be pulled back into the middle in place of Aaron Ramsey, who could possibly use a break from the spotlight. Conversely the manager might see Liege as the perfect opportunity for Ramsey to get his confidence back after the weekend and prepare him for Chelsea on Sunday.
Up front Eduardo should be given another opportunity to find his shooting boots with support coming from Andrey Arshavin on the left and Tomas Rosicky on the right. Theo Walcott or Carlos Vela may also feature in a forward line that lacks height and physical power but has an abundance of energy and creativity.
Wenger will want to see an improvement in the final third after the laboured performance on Saturday. Nasri, Rosicky and Ramsey all disappointed against Sunderland and if given the chance to play against Liege, must do better. Likewise Eduardo needs to give us a reminder of what he can do as a striker and the defence could do with a clean sheet, something they really should have got on the weekend.
While one eye will be firmly on Chelsea this weekend the boys need to get a win tomorrow to improve the morale in the squad as much as qualify for the next round. Their was a real lack of movement and energy against Sunderland the team needs to instill some confidence in themselves and the supporters that they can create and take chances without Robin van Persie in the team.
I’ll be watching this one live at 5.45am (local time) on ESPN in Australia and will be expecting a marked improvement from the weekend. Come on Arsenal!
PS. For those copping stick from your mates about Spurs insane 9-1 win over Wigan yesterday be sure to check out this link for a laugh. Absolutely pathetic, hah.
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