North London’s PREMIER football club begin their 17th consecutive campaign in the Champions League with a fixture which comes up for the 3rd time in 4 seasons. Arsene Wenger takes his charges into this contest on the back of not-so-impressive fallouts from league games in which they have failed to win more than once after 4 games.
The extra calamity of the injury worries with which the Gunners head into the clash with the BundesLiga giants, Borussia Dortmund, does little to give hope that the Yellow Wall won’t be too high to surmount. That said, this fixture must have become familiar territory for ‘Le Prof’ and is absolutely there for the taking. The soup, they say, is hottest at the first dip of the finger, and so, having faced the Klopp Metalica severally, we should have mastered the tact and art of manouevring this peculiar mannshaft.
Not by any chance should any suggest it will be an easy ride – a “Reus-less” Dortmund are far from Ruthless, neither does the absence of Matts Hummels translate to falling to a massive pummeling. Both teams could really do with having all their stars available for selection. Gundogan, Walcott, Sahin, Debuchy would have been undisputed starters. Yet, both managers have enough in their lockers to manipulate the available variables to suit their formulae, and I figure Wenger will JUST edge out his great admirer, if he does FOUR THINGS:
- Unleash the Germans
Arsenal have 2 players less than Dortmund who were in the all-conquering German team eight weeks ago in Brasil. However, Arsenal’s least contributor, Podolski, featured more times than 3 of their players combined (Weindefeller, Groskreutz and Mattias Ginter failed to muster an appearance). Mertersacker was key, Ozil was ever-present, and the confidence that goes with winning a World-Cup medal is evergreen. They will not cower under the pressure as their manager suggests, they will flourish.
- Ozil Must be Central
Foolhardy is the description that will fit any attempt to write off Mesut Ozil’s abilities to influence games, especially big ones. After doing it at just 21 in his first World Cup (ask Gareth Barry) and for a La-Liga winning team, a little loss of confidence cannot be reason enough to start calling for the player’s head. He is still being sorely missed by Ronaldo and co, If Ozil is played in his preferred No 10 role today, he will most likely be better suited to complement the work-rates of Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck. It’s a waste to shunt him wide, which regrettably leaves the team a man short, defensively.
- Not by Picadilly, but the Chamber-lain
I have a strong opinion when it comes to the position of Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, and that is that he deserves more playing time. We’ve not seen how good he is because he’s not played half as much as he should. He is the one player I could say has rarely ever had a poor game, and against the athletic Dortmund, a taste of their own medicine will work out perfectly. Quick, strong and reliable to pop-up the unpredictable shot, the Ox will give us an outlet for counter-attacks, a “find-me” for Ozil and a good associate for fellow speed-star Hector Bellerin (if he starts). Hopefully, his game today will get him more game time to give Wenger more selection headaches.
- Let Jack
Much has been said on this already within the week following Wilshere’s continuous improvement and return to form. It’s been very encouraging to see the Jack burst forward and play his game and one imagines he will only get better. Every team resonates around a certain player to whom others look up to when the cookie begins to crumble. What Wilshere did against City at the weekend was an indication of the motivational role which he has on this team – the biggest role in any team. If we are to go Classical, he must be the Mozart (“oooh Rosicky!”), the Dr Dre if we choose to go Mo’Town. He’s that knight who never leaves the gauntlet on the floor, he loves big challenges, and given the freedom to roam and command, you do not see any midfielder in the Dortmund side matching the Arsenal man.
Matchday Fact: The last time we failed to beat Dortmund in their stadium, Van Persie played and scored for us. Today, he will not have the opportunity to play, he will watch Welbeck score.
Follow oohtobeagooner on Facebook
for more latest Arsenal transfer news, injury news, team news and rumours.