The European journey continues tonight for Arsenal against the champions of Dutch Eredivise, AZ Alkmaar. This is the first of back-to-back fixtures against the Ronald Koeman’s team. Koeman who was at Arsenal’s 6-2 thrashing of Blackburn, said that he saw some weakness in Arsenal’s game during that game and will look to exploit it.
Which would probably mean he was referring to the 2 goals that Arsenal conceded and hopefully that means it will be an open game tonight. Which will also mean that Alkmaar will suffer another Champions League defeat on top of their current financial turmoil. Don’t get me wrong, most teams choose to defend with almost 10 men behind the ball like Olympiakos did and still suffer defeats. If Alkmaar plans to go on the offensive, it will only serve to make Arsene Wenger’s job easier tonight. The attacking prowess that Arsenal have at the moment is pretty amazing with goals coming from all over the pitch. Defensively, we are not too shabby after the purchase of Thomas Vermaelen and though we might have conceding against the likes of Blackburn and Birmingham, I just don’t see how Alkmaar can contain or stop Arsenal from scoring. Even if Tomas Rosicky is at home recovering from injury.
With that in mind, here’s how I think we will lineup tonight
The last time we visited the DSB Stadion, Flamini was still playing at left back and Reyes was still starting up front for Arsenal. A certain bald Frenchman was still playing centerback for Arsenal in the guise of Pascal Cygan. Plus the lanky twat from Togo was still playing understudy to Thierry Henry. Make no mistakes, these were quality players barring Cygan and a certain Togolese idiot whom I will never mention in my blog again but the general strength of the squad is much better comparatively. Those days, Arsenal may have the best striker in the world but the team was not. Now, the team is much more solid with strength equally distributed throughout the field.
Carlos Vela returns after missing out on the weekend due to his long journey from Mexico and I suspects he will start tonight considering Nicklas Bendtner and Eduardo are still out injured. This is as good an oppourtunity for him to prove to Wenger that he is worth a place in the first eleven. He should take the cue from Abou Diaby who came in when Denilson was injured and has kept his place ever since. Vela has contributed already this season with his solitary goal in the Carling Cup against West Brom and has occasionally scored for his country. He has the speed as well as the guile to make it. Perhaps his upper body strength is not quite there yet but his left foot is as good if not better than Eduardo’s.
On the other hand, Wenger might hand a first competitive European start to young Jack Wilshere. The Englishman has had less oppourtunity this season compared to last one but remains one of the biggest hope coming through from the academy. First choice for Stuart Pearce, it is understandable while he still cannot claim a regular place in Wenger’s side but time is the only factor for that to happen. His trickery on the ball and vision will be much appreciated with AZ Alkmaar players surely concentrating on his other more esteemed teammates.
Here’s to another 3 points in the group and enjoy it wherever you’re watching.