After a weekend off from blogging I’m refreshed and ready to tackle all things Arsenal.
The agenda for this week sees the away leg of our Champions League Round of 16 clash with FC Porto followed by a home game in the league against Sunderland. They are two games that probably sit in the medium-hard difficulty ranking but nevertheless two games that we need to produce good results in.
Three points against Sunderland on Saturday are a must while a point in Portugal could probably be considered a good result. Not that we won’t want to see our boys take a lead back to The Emirates for the return leg in three weeks time.
Usually second round Champions League games are played a week apart but for various reasons UEFA have decided to stretch the games over a longer period. How it might affect things I really don’t know, but there is little doubt we have a superior team to Porto and should qualify through the quarter-finals.
Having said that, Porto are a side that continue to defy the odds on the European stage and very nearly knocked Manchester United out of the competition last time around, so we need to be careful. Unsurprisingly, the manager agrees.
There has been no team news released over the weekend but the fallout from the Liverpool game all but confirmed the absences of Andrey Arshavin and Alex Song with respective hamstring and knee problems. The extent of both players injuries are unknown at this stage – although neither are expected to be serious – but both players will be sorely missed.
Arseblogger suggested that Arshavin’s absence might allow recharge his batteries and come back stronger, but I think he’s actually been playing quite well and would have been relishing the opportunity to play his first knockout game ever for the club. Meanwhile Song has been a colossus for us this season and whoever comes in to cover him – most likely Denilson – will have their work cut out to cover his absence.
In other news around the traps Arsene Wenger has praised Abou Diaby for his recent form, stating that he has “become a very strong player”. I don’t think anyone would disagree.
His development this season has been superb and he has deservedly become a favourite of the Arsenal supporters. He brings with him pace, power and physical presence as well as a natural goal threat that many of our midfielders lack. Indeed, his performances have been so good this season that he has become first choice ahead of Denilson, with the manager going for Diaby, Song and Cesc Fabregas as the midfield trio when they are all available.
Anyway, I might leave it there for today. More tomorrow.
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