Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Duo face late fitness tests -Wenger stalls on contract -Walcott's Old Trafford boost

Morning Gooners.

All our attention now moves to tomorrow's Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund. It's another huge match in our schedule and one in which we cannot afford to be beaten. A point at the Grove last month would have put us in a much better position in the group, but we all know what happened and now this team must deal with the consequences.

Dortmund come into this game having won 6-1 on Friday night. Our result against Liverpool also puts us in a good position and hopefully we can take the momentum into our european game. It is vital we don't lose otherwise it's going to make qualifying for the knock out stages very tough.

Of course our focus is the league - and given our good position it should be our priority. But given the fact every top player wants to compete in the Champions League, the manager will take this competition seriously until he can no longer win it. Sadly it seems our injury hit squad is not yet going to receive a boost with a return of a player or two in time for the trip to Germany, which it really could have done.

The players who started on Saturday will again form the basis of our starting line up, minus Kieran Gibbs who looks set to miss out. Also on the sidelines will be Jack Wilshere, according to the Daily Telegraph, but both Englishmen look set to return in time for Sunday's game at Old Trafford. They will however face fitness tests this morning before they are completely ruled out of the Dortmund game.

We therefore have a pretty settled side which will take on last season's beaten finalists. Our away record since losing to the team which beat Dortmund at Wembley back in May - Bayern Munich - has been nothing short of exceptional. We've only failed to win once in 14 games.

Arsene Wenger has urged his players to keep their focus.

He said:

"The focus of the team and the togetherness you could feel from the outside. 
"Let's enjoy it, take a lot of encouragement from it and continue to develop as a team. 
"But as well we must be cautious and be on our toes because we changed it (season) in an emphatic way so let's make sure we continue to grow and do not think 'okay let's have a little breather'."

We know that Dortmund will want to win the game so that they can take a three point lead above us in the group. I think we've got enough to stop that from happening. What has impressed me is that each time we've suffered a set back and made a mistake we've learnt from it. Hopefully the home game will act as a wake up call and we can come away with a respectable point, if not all three.

The Daily Mail report that the manager has decided to put his contact talks on hold while we are still battling it out in the Champions League and will not think about a new contract until the group is decided.

Meanwhile The Guardian say that Theo Walcott could take a place on the substitutes bench for Sunday's game at Old Trafford for the game against the Champions.

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