Thanks to Mean Lean in my absence for doing a preview. And a far better job of it than I usually manage, may I add. After a fantastic result in a potentially tricky away tie against Blackburn, we move on to a potentially tricky away tie against Dynamo Kyiv. Kyiv aren’t a force to be reckoned with in Europe any more as such, but away games in Eastern Europe do occasionally cause us problems. This is going to be a week of relatively heavy travelling, and fatigue can lead to poor performances. We’ve been drawn with Dynamo in the group stages of the Champions League two times before under Arsene’s reign. In both 1998 and 2003 we were beaten in the Ukraine.
We need a good start to the Champions League group phase before we forget about it for a couple of weeks until Porto visit on the 30th. The group isn’t a spectacularly difficult one and we should be getting into the latter stages, but we need to get the results. We’re in good form at the moment, in competitive matches so far this season we’ve won five and lost one, scoring fourteen goals and conceding one. We’ve moved on from the terrible performance against Fulham and now seem to be playing well. And in Adebayor, van Persie, Nasri and Walcott we have four players who at the moment all seem capable of scoring when needed. This is a very busy month of matches and, looking at the upcoming opposition of Bolton, Sheffield United, Hull and Porto, a run of wins would do nicely, starting tomorrow.
We’ll be without Nasri, Rosicky, Diaby, Silvestre and Eduardo for this match. Clichy and Eboue have been passed fit for the game. Arsene mentioned some rotation would be required this week, but looking at the squad in it’s current state that could only really mean starting Bendtner and Vela in place of Adebayor or van Persie and Djourou in place of Gallas or Toure, as every other position is stretched to the limit.
Subs: Fabianski, Toure, Song, Ramsey, Wilshere, van Persie, Adebayor.