Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Winning tonight will help us secure group -Wenger's one change for Napoli?

Morning Gooners.

We're back on the Champions League trail tonight with a home match against Napoli. After the Italians rather surprising win over Dortmund two weeks ago, we know that our team face a tough game against Rafa Benitez's men.

Much like ourselves, Napoli have had a good start to the season, sitting second in Serie A. And in Gonzalo Higuain have one of the best forwards in Europe. They will be a threat but we know if we get a result from tonight's game, it will go a long way to securing our progression to the knock-out stages in the spring.

The European Cup is one of the few trophies which is missing from Arsene Wenger's C.V. and in his press conference yesterday the Frenchman admitted winning Europe's highest honour had become an obsession with him.

He said:

"We would love to win it as it has never been done with this club and we have flirted with it a few times. 
"I feel in recent years we have not been helped by the draw. We have played Barcelona, Barcelona, Milan and Bayern [in consecutive seasons], so we have had difficult draws. Recently we haven't had the quality to go through. 
"It's something I miss and I will try to fight very hard to fill my CV with that. But you play against Barcelona, Bayern, Real Madrid - every year they are there with a chance. 
"You always think 'let's do it every year, one year it will go for you'. Let's hope it will be this year. The competition is higher than ever."

We have been ultimately unlucky in the last two seasons. We needed one goal against Bayern to knock them out last season and in the end exited the competition on the away goals rule. The 2011/12 campaign saw us need one goal to draw level with AC Milan and after a brilliant first half come back at the Grove, we didn't have enough in the tank to do it in the second half of that match.

But we know we have got to play the best and beat them if we are to win this competition. And while in the past we've had a group which didn't inspire supporters to come out to a midweek match, I'm sure tonight there won't be very many empty seats.

The big European nights have produced some of the best atmospheres I've experienced at the Grove. Lets hope tonight is one of them. We're playing some good exciting football at the moment - despite the injury list we've got - and are on a good run of form. Let's hope that continues.

Ahead of the game the manager said that everyone who played on Saturday would be fit for tonight's game. We also welcome back Tomas Rosicky from injury.

We  know who are starting line up will probably be. I think the only place in the team which could be up for grabs is Serge Gnabry's on the right. With Rosicky back fit, he could come straight back into the team and replace the young German.

Gnabry has played three games in three games in seven days since starting against Stoke. It is a lot for a player to cope with, but I think Arsene Wenger will stick with Arsenal's opening goal scorer on Saturday for tonight's game and resist temptation to change a winning formation.

After all, we're just days away from the second international break of the season and there will be time for players not being called up by their country to rest then.

That's it for today. Back tomorrow.


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