How many times do we read that a match is of “vital importance”? Are they? Is any match vital to the long -term success of the club? We all have our opinions but mine is that the CL is an adventure and good for earning money – but let’s be honest, is there any Gooner who really believes we can win the thing? OK, you over there in the red & white shirt covered in dribble, but anyone else?
Don’t get me wrong – I want us to win tonight and win handsomely but I will not be calling for the heads of the entire management team if we don’t. Man City & Chelsea didn’t even get into the knockout stages last season which gives an idea of how tough this competition is and perhaps, just perhaps, we may be better off out of it. (I did emphasise, perhaps! ). Mr Wenger says asks what is the point of battling to get fourth spot and then losing in the play-offs; he has a point. In the unlikely event that Spurs had been 4th and AFC 5th we would be suffering badly, and yet we do not even bother crowing about it.
Fenerbahce: Don’t know much about them but they have a corruption charge hanging over them which will be resolved after the tie is over – another example of the work of the overpaid lunatics who run the CL. What I do know is that Turkish fans are committed and loud. They will do all they can to make it a torrid night for the Arsenal. Whether their team is good I cannot say, but Turkish football has been improving for many years and in Mereiles they have a decent player.
Arsenal: The fears about our lack of players are somewhat exaggerated; we can raise a decent team though there remains some doubt as to whether Koscielny and Cazorla can play as they got cards last season. Going by the info from other sites it appears that they will start tonight.
If they play as we all know they can, this team is good enough to win. My fear is that without Arteta we may be porous in defence which could prove costly. An early goal would settle the team and the tie; as such it is important to approach the game in a positive frame of mind and attack from the start.
As always patience and concentration are essentials. I would love to see Wilshere start to boss a game, we know he has the talent and the drive, a touch more fitness and confidence and he will flourish, perhaps tonight is the night.
We have come through hard CL qualifiers before – anyone recall how tough Udinese were? This will be the same with hopefully a similar result.
On a side issue. Had Newcastle agreed to sell Cabaye, would he have been available to play play tonight?