Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Wenger's one change -Mertesacker focused -Begovic, Cabaye and Sakho join wanted list

Morning Gooners.

Well here we are. The most important game of the season. Losing is not an option tonight. We need to ensure we come back to London with there being something to play for in this tie. I have every confidence that we can get a result at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium.

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the only play to drop out of the squad from Saturday's match is Alex Oxlade-Chamberalin who is set to miss three months. Both Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna travelled with the squad yesterday and will be involved tonight.

As stand-in captain Per Mertesacker points out, the first 20 minutes is vital for us. Should we come through that period without conceding a goal and perhaps even scoring ourselves, we can play our own game.

Mertesacker said:

"It is absolutely fantastic over there, so you have to be aware of the opening 20 minutes. You have to keep [the home fans] as quiet as possible, which is very hard. 
"You have to play consistently over the whole 90 minutes and it is very important to be very focused on the first 15 to 20 minutes. We need to be ready and defend properly."
One area which is key for me is in midfield. The Ramsey / Wilshere partnership is vital and the other players need to ensure they are given the back up, especially from the forward line. On Saturday all it took was an Agbonlahor run through the middle and we were cut open. That cannot be allowed to happen tonight.

I can only imagine there will be one change to the side which plays tonight from the starting line up on Saturday. Santi Cazorla is the obvious choice to replace Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Meanwhile Arsene Wenger has defended his transfer policy. The Arsenal machine has started up and is tracking down players who will join us before September 2nd.... Just a few weeks too late.

Wenger said:

"As always, we do what we think is right. When we think we have the right players, we do it. 
"We were for years restricted and we competed with exceptional quality. This year we did not lose any players - we just lost two players with injury - but we will try to strengthen the squad and make the right decisions until the end."

It seems that we've added a goalkeeper to the list of players we hope to sign, with Stoke City's Asmir Begovic joining the wanted list. That list also includes the names of Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye, Swansea's Ashley Williams and Michu, as well as Paul Pogba of Juventus.

Another player being considered is PSG's central defender Mamadou Sakho, reports BBC Sport's Daviid Ornstein.

That's it for today. Back with more tomorrow.

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