I have to be honest. In August I didn’t expect six weeks into the new season that I would be previewing our first Champions League group phase home fixture wondering if we could put out a first team squad starting eleven. That sounds dramatic. We can, but only just, and that should be significant.
Galatasaray are back in town and given our opening day performance in Dortmund we need to secure three points, and hopefully avoid further injuries in the process. We cannot gloss over the problems that we face ahead of the match. We have to, for one night only, forget the fact that an important, if not decisive, fixture follows on Sunday. We are missing, wait for it, Debuchy, Monreal, Arteta, Ramsey, Diaby, Gnabry, Walcott, Sanogo, and Giroud.
Those that are available should still be capable, surely, of delivering what Le Boss regards as a crucial three home points?
“Basically the target is always the same in the Champions League. You need to win your home games and you need one good result away from home. We had a disappointing result in Dortmund and the potential is there for us, we don’t lose a lot but we want to find the winning edge together and we have that opportunity against Galatasaray.”
Well nobody can argue with that, agreed? Wojciech Szczesny will surely start behind our only four senior (yes, you are already Calum!) defenders, Calum Chambers, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, and Kieran Gibbs. Arsene has a decision to make about who plays behind and alongside Danny Welbeck. How fit is Jack Wilshere? The answer, if he needs additional rest before Chelsea, is Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Tomas Rosicky, Mathieu Flamini, Mesut Ozil, and Santi Cazorla or Lukas Podolski. The bench might be thin. Apologies kids, and Joel Campbell, I wish you well if you get your opportunity.
I would love to argue the reasons why we will beat Galatasaray. I would love to give you a deep and meaningful tactical appreciation of where they are right now. It would be utter bollocks. I haven’t watched them once this season. I am relying on the old stereotype of Turkish teams travelling badly, and Arsenal historically doing alright at home, to inform my bet on the match, so don’t follow it slavishly. The High Street bookies are all over a low scoring Arsenal win. They are not often wrong, but 1-0 (7/1 at best), 2-0 (15/2), and 2-1 (8/1) don’t represent value for me. I am having a ‘holic pound that I can afford on both 3-0 and 3-1 at 12/1.
On the day, as well as overseeing our Champions League adventure, Arsene will be celebrating eighteen years in charge of THE Arsenal. I seriously thanked him once for what he had done for us, after the Highhbury Farewell. What has followed has caused much debate, and falling out between top people I knew.
Having said that it is time to withdraw to the land of nod. Have a lovely Wednesday all. Let’s pray for a good result tomorrow. Big weekend ahead.
We Love you Arsenal, we do.