While we avoided losing four consecutive games in four different competitions, we still need to avoid the unenviable feat of being knocked out of three cup competitions in eleven days. We go into a game against a boring side, trailing 1-0 without an away goal to our name. Not the easiest task we’ve faced in the Champions League but we’re not exactly incapable of a 2-0 victory. It’s not conceding that’ll be the problem. We’ve kept eight clean sheets in twenty one home games.
We’ve faced PSV Eindhoven five times in the Champions League, drawing them in the first group stage in 2002, 2004 and of course in the second round this season. We’ve won twice, drawn twice and lost once, scoring six goals.
Before the away leg, PSV sat top of the Eredivisie by five points, and had won three, drawn one and lost two of their last six games. Since then they’ve beaten FC Groningen and RKC Waalwijk and now sit six points clear.
Kolo Toure and the two Emmanuels Eboue and Adebayor should return to the squad with the domestic tyranny of the FA meaning fuck all in Europe. Eboue however picked up a knock against Blackburn, the severity of which isn’t known.
Tomas Rosicky is out with a groin problem but should be back for the following league game against Aston Villa.
Thierry Henry is rated as 50:50 by Arsene. I think, wisely or not, in a game of such financial importance where we need to win by two clear goals, Henry will start if he’s even slightly fit.
Justin Hoyte could be back in the squad for the first time since picking up a hamstring strain in the Carling Cup final. Flamini may also return to the squad.
Robin van Persie still out for another four to eight weeks with a broken metatarsal.
Farfan is fit again after missing the first leg and will start upfront with Arouna Kone.
Either Hoyte or Eboue will return to the right back spot, depending on who is fittest. Toure will start in central defense alongside one of Senderos, Gallas and Djourou. Senderos was on the bench against Reading which suggests he may start, although PSV’s attack is based predominantly around the pace of Kone and Farfan, suggesting a pairing of Gallas and Toure would be best suited. Two of Walcott, Hleb and Ljungberg to start on the flanks. With a weeks rest after this game you’d expect Gilberto and Fabregas to start in the middle, unless Wenger feels like unleashing Diaby. If Henry isn’t fit Baptista’s goal on Saturday may just give him the edge over Aliadiere in the competition to start alongside Adebayor upfront.
Almunia, Djourou, Hoyte, Diaby, Denilson, Walcott, Baptista