Arsenal welcome Galatasaray tonight at the Emirates stadium.
Champions League Match Day 2. It is the Arsenal vs Galatasaray, at the Emirates Stadium. After the hugely deserved defeat at Dortmund a fortnight ago, we now face a chance to force our progress into the second-round. 1t’s been 11 years since we lost our first group game in the Champions League but we won the second, and went on to qualify. Like it was then, this game against Galatasaray…
- …IT’S A MUST WIN
Having lost to Dortmund on Match Day 1, this game is very much now a must win for us. Galatasaray’s draw with Anderlecht means the group is somewhat still open but factoring in the expectation that Dortmund will overcome both teams, you wonder where that leaves us on the race to finish in one of the qualifying places, never mind we get to face Bayern again if we finish second. A draw will see us not move higher than third, and we could even remain fourth if Anderlecht pull a miracle off in Belgium over Dortmund. We’ve got to win it to still stay in it.
- …IT’S GOING TO BE TOUGH
We may be playing at home and not in their ‘hell’ but it will still be pretty tough on both teams. There could be little extra pressure on the lads to get that vital win while the implications of not winning will be doubling their heart beat rates. We are yet to concede a goal in 5 competitive games against Turkish opposition but the last of that country to score (and WIN) at the Emirates was Galatasaray during last year’s Emirates Cup. The victory over Besiktas was pyrrhic; this might just even be more demanding.
- …IT’S GOOD PREPARATION FOR CHELSEA
This game will be followed by our third London game in 8 days and what we do will keep us in good (or devastating) mindset for the clash at Stamford Bridge. Last year’s memories are better forgotten for all Gooners but part of avoiding a repetition of that is to gather good momentum against Galatasaray by gaining all three points convincingly. We wouldn’t want to meet Mourinho’s men feeling we scraped something from this game. With the plethora of injury concerns which seems to rise by the day, it will most likely be the same players starting today who will still feature at Chelsea and so must gain all the agility and readiness they will require.
- …IT’S UP FOR GRABS
As tough as it may be, though, all three points are within reach as it always is when we turn up on our day. Cesare Prandelli won’t necessarily come out to win today, knowing that a draw will still see them above us. Much like Tottenham, they will set out to play on the counter after trying to soak up all the pressure. Rather than be a thing of frustration, Wenger must rally the boys to keep the bombardment on for as long as they can bear even as the set-piece drills continue to be improved upon. We shouldn’t get 15 corners and not make it count for once because it will count against us.
AND …IT’S THE RETURN OF MANU EBOUE!
He always loved to play for the Arsenal and though Sagna’s coming was the impediment to further contributions, his inch-perfect crosses for Henry’s winner against United amongst others gave us fond memories of the Ivorien, not forgetting his brace in the Champions League against Porto.
Of course, we won’t be cheering his team today, but we surely won’t be jeering Manu!
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