Group stage - 15/09/2010 - 20:45CET (19:45 local time) - The Emirates
Add Abou Diaby and Thomas Vermaelen to the list of starters that are out in today's fixture against Braga. They join Nicklas Bendtner, Theo Walcott, and Robin Van Persie. As for Aaron Ramsey, he is probably a couple of weeks away from re-entering the pitch.
The season is just a month old and here we are looking at a half dozen wounded already. There are of course upsides and downsides to this scenario. It represents an opportunity for on the bubble players like Jack Wilshere and Carlos Vela, an out of form Andrei Arshavin to step up, and a newbie Marouane Chamakh to impress further with his attacking capabilities.
On the other hand, it means additional pressure on the available starters without the prospect of rest adding to their wear and tear. In addition we have the presence of yet another new center back pairing. Laurent Koscielny has shown he is on a learning curve and a veteran like Sebastian Squillaci is also facing his initiation with a new club and league.
Braga are no attacking slouches.They saw of a very good Sevilla side on the road with a 4-3 win for a winning aggregate of 5-3 with Rodrigo Lima scoring a hattrick and Matheus adding another.
Hugo Viana has returned home after three years in the Liga and he has bolstered Braga's playmaking capabilities immensely. But their principal midfield creator is Luis Aguiar, a central figure in Braga's Europa Cup qualification in his first stint with the club before moving to Dynamo Moscow. He has been a staple in their successful domestic season. Braga also have Silvio, a full back who seen success from set pieces.
The bright spot is Samir Nasri should be available and could see minutes off the bench. Jack Wilshere should be delegated with the responsibility of snapping at Hugo Viana or Luis Aguiar's heels to slow the Braga attack.
Trivia: In 1921, Braga changed their team shirts from two large green and white vertical stripes, they took Arsenal's red-and-white colours as their inspiration. Since then they have been known as Minho's Arsenalistas (Arsenal from Minho).