Standard Liege v Arsenal
UEFA Champions League
Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 19:45
Arsene Wenger prefaces the match with some comments on the Eduardo case. He believed it was the media news cycle which led the UEFA disciplinary panel to jump the gun.
"Sometimes they choose somebody and they say 'let's do him' and everybody jumps on the wagon. It is like that and you have to deal with it but that doesn't mean that we have to deal with paranoia."
The ban has been overturned. It is good to have Eduardo back and not a moment to soon because Arsenal are now looking like the men from Flanders (The World War I reference not the geographical one). At least 6 starters are out. RVP, Arshavin, Almunia, Denilson, Samir Nasri, and Theo Walcott.
Tomas Rosicky who starred in that eventful City game is back and his attacking flair will be much needed. Wenger has the option of playing the 4-2-3-1 with Bendtner up front but with Rosicky in the line up the more attacking 4-4-2 is likely.
Vito Mannone will start at goal as Almunia's back up Lukacz Fabianski is also out with injuries. This is only his second start and his CL debut. The defensive line has to be cognizant of his inexperience and protect him. Standard Liege is an attacking club and are presently on a 15 win streak in the Belgian League. Arsenal have been prone to defensive lapses and the back four need to raise their game.
The danger men are Milan Jovanovic, their inform striker who has already scored five goals in six matches, Dieumerci Mbokani with 31 goals in 61 appearances, and attacking midfielder Igor Camargo (the trio scored 36 goals last season ). Their creative spark is attacking midfielder and captain Steven Defour, who led Standard Liege to their tenth domestic title. Holding midfielder Eliaquim Mangala anchors the backfield.
A talking point is the return of Alex Witsel, the Belgian defensive midfielder suspended for this horrific tackle on Marcin Wasliweski, Anderlecht's defender two weeks ago. With Eduardo's return this could introduce a dynamic that influences the match.