Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Ozil needs to step up -Wilshere misses out -Boost as player passes late fitness test

Morning Gooners.

Another game day and this time it's Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. It's been said everywhere that it's vital we don't lose and I believe that is the case if we want to progress in this competition. Taking away a point from Germany, will also mean we've got more chance of slugging it out with Dortmund and Napoli for one of the two qualifying spots.

But I believe that we can win tonight. There is huge belief around this team. The confidence is high and our away record is fantastic. Arsenal have lost just one of their last six on the road in the Champions League, winning the last three ties. And who can forget that night in Munich back in March where we were the unlikely victors against the future winners of the competition with a stunning 2-0 result.

Arsene Wenger believes this side can pull out a performance which would see us take three points from tonight's game. It's a tough order as Jurgen Klopp's men are unbeaten at home this season.

Wenger said:

"As we have lost the game at home, the away games are very important for us now. 
"Maybe we had not the same belief at home because we failed in a few big home games and you could feel there was a bit more scepticism and less belief maybe. Hopefully we got that behind us with the Liverpool game. 
"We want to do well in all the competitions. It was a disappointment to go out in the League Cup last week but, of course, the priorities are the Premier League and the Champions League. 
"The fact we are in a good position in the Premiership does not change the fact we want to do well in the Champions League as well."

There is good news. Kieran Gibbs has made a recovery from the injury which forced him to be substituted on Saturday. He trained with the rest of the first team squad at London Colney yesterday and flew out to Germany with the rest of Arsene Wenger's 18-man squad.

Not so lucky is Jack Wilshere, who as expected will miss tonight's game with the ankle problem which insured he wasn't able to play a part in our 2-0 win over Liverpool.

With no other players coming back into the squad which played in the Premier League on Saturday, it leaves the manager with few options in shuffling his pack. That will have to take place on Sunday at Old Trafford if needed.

One player I believe does need to step up and be counted is Mesut Ozil. I think he's been pretty quiet of late and has hardly had much influence on recent games. It would be great to see him stamp his influence on a game like tonight's. I thought against Liverpool, despite his assist for Aaron Ramsey's goal, he wasn't as crucial to the team's victory as Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky. He also seemed to drift through the Crystal Palace game and the home tie against Dortmund.

I've previously said that I don't believe we'll see Ozil at his best in an Arsenal shirt until after Christmas. He's a hugely talented guy and some of the moves and tricks he's made in our red and white shirt have been amazing. I'd love to see him step up tonight and stamp his authority on the game.

I think tonight's team picks itself. Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielney, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky, Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud.

With Napoli playing at home tonight against Marseille, I can't see anything other than a home win for the Italians. The French team have been woeful in this competition this year.

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