Oct 31st, 2011 by 'holic
Arsene Wenger will have taken a little extra satisfaction from his first return to Marseille since his days as coach of Monaco. To be fair he himself talks about them in more respectful tones now than when he was in charge of the Monaco side denied titles by alleged corrupt actions in the early nineties. Nonetheless he must have felt an extra smidgen of satisfaction from Aaron Ramsey’s injury-time smash and grab in the Stade Velodrome a fortnight ago.
He is fully aware however, that the visitors are unlikely to be as unadventurous at the Grove as they were during the second-half on their own patch.
“I believe they have the team which certainly is more at ease away from home. They are a side who can defend well with very physical and quick players on the break, so I believe that the counter attack suits them more than dominating the game. They have gained in confidence in between the two games like we have so it should be an interesting tie.”
The speculation about his team selection is interesting. Arsene himself accepted that were he to rest his captain he would be very quickly called to account. I do think that if he feels Robin van Persie needs a breather then it is far more likely to be on the bench on Saturday than this crucial home Champions League test.
The fact that the match kicks off less than eighty hours after a breathtaking and intense encounter at Stamford Bridge suggests there may be a change or two to the side depending on who, if anybody, reported any niggles after that wonderful triumph. I would expect to see Jenkinson and Vermaelen recalled to start at the back. If there are any changes further forward then I would not be surprised if either Rosicky or Arshavin were recalled.
Other than that I expect Arsene to send a strong side out with the instruction to carry on where they left off after the interval at Stamford Bridge. We have seen the attitude the side displayed on Saturday in a number of really big matches in the last year or two, only for the level of intensity to subside again back in the bread and butter games. The point needs to be hammered home that this is not a bread and butter game.
The Champions League could be won with a handful more victories this season. On that basis, although the competition is much more fierce, this remains a far more viable target than the Premier League, where frankly we will have to recover invincibles-like form to be successful. I cannot believe we will go into this match with anything other than our freshest, and most accomplished eleven starters.
Since the first leg the two sides have shared a rich vein of form. As we toppled Stoke L’OM defeated Ajaccio 2-0. In their equivalent of the League Cup they chalked up four goals without reply against old adversaries of ours, Lens, as we knocked out Bolton. Then on Saturday both sides recorded their first away League wins of the campaign. As we sprinted past the fallen Terry, I mean Chelsea, Marseille more than cut the mustard in Dijon with a 3-2 triumph.
The ‘holic pound, so unproductive until last Tuesday, is now in search of a hat-trick. Anybody foolish enough to follow it religiously is now only a fiver down on the season. For no good reason I have a strong fancy for a 3-2 home win. At around 25/1 that is clearly not fancied by many, so be prepared to go six pounds down on the campaign if you follow it!
A Question For ‘Holics With Arsenal Player
Can I ask if any of you are having a problem with the display of Arsenal Player programmes in fullscreen mode? In other words, do you lose a big chunk of the picture when compared to the small window view? If you are having issues could you just let me know with a brief description of your computer and browser set-up (i.e PC/Explorer or Mac/Safari).
I am experiencing issues with the Mac, using four different browsers, and having now watched the match against Chelsea approximately fifteen times I am getting all unnecessary about things like the teams not fitting on the screen at the start, and the ball not being in shot all the time. Little things that could be put right rather easily, I would have thought, and which may well be my fault, as I am a luddite!
Cheers ‘holics. Here’s to a terrific Tuesday to follow our sumptuous Saturday.
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