Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Arsenal vs Olympiacos Preview, Team new and Frimpong the Super Soldier!

Morning all,

As Tuesday dawns upon us we realise the type of team we are; one that plays in the Champions League. Had this been a Spursday Thursday, I would feel much different. I wouldn’t feel the glow of optimism sprouting from my being as we approach an ultimately meaningless encounter in the context of the Champions League, but exciting nonetheless. Exciting because there will be a wealth of talent on display, much of which rarely has the opportunity to shine in competitive matches and believe me this will be competitive despite the lack of importance from our perspective. This was highlighted by Wenger when he said:

“It is true that some of the players do not play many games but they will be even more motivated to show they deserve to play. I wanted to bring this team because they gave a hard time to Manchester City last week. This side will be up for it. I would be deeply disappointed if our winning attitude was not right. I will make sure we walk out there with an immense desire to win the game.”

Olympiacos have more than a shout of going through if they beat us which will mean we can expect the frosty atmosphere to be particularly severe as we take them on with a depleted team in their own back yard. Their fans will expect a result and you can expect a hostile atmosphere which in itself is great experience for the lads.

More exciting however will be another opportunity to watch the Ox in action. He has impressed on nearly every outing this season and has seemed to make life difficult for the opposition regardless of quality. I would expect a positive performance to heap more pressure on the boss to include him for League matches in the future. I am sure that is one bit of pressure the boss wont mind having.

Also expect real performances from some of the other fringe players. This may well be their last chance this season to prove themselves on the big stage following our League Cup exit last week. In fact I expect many to go out on short term loans following this busy period to ensure that they have the game time to develop. One of the key players in this regard is Frimpong. After a superb performance last week, he will be eager to demonstrate his worth to the team. He is Arsenal through and through and you can see that every time he has put the shirt on but you feel that if he is to kick on he really needs some experience in top flight football. Perhaps the touted loan move to Wolves may come to bare fruit which could represent the kind of opportunity for Frimpong that Wilshire had two seasons ago at Bolton. Wenger obviously sees great potential in him so now I think it is down to heed the advice given to him and really make that next step up. Wenger remarked:

"I love his raw enthusiasm, the only problem is to keep him on the right track. Like every generous guy, you don't want to see him lose that. He's a real fighter. You would love to go to war [alongside] Frimpong. But he also has to use his energy in a positive way because sometimes too much energy can be a handicap. He has a good mixture of confidence, humility and energy. He learns as well. So after the heat, he accepts that he needs to think about what is wrong and right. Football is made about what the game wants not what the fans in the stands want. Good players always respond to the game situation and make the right decision taking all the emotional part out of it.”

I really like the last part as it sums up well the feeling for an enthusiastic come aggressive personality playing for the club he loves. It would be easy to get carried away with the crowd cheering your aggressive challenges to go that one step too far but I am sure as he matures it will become less prevalent in his game.

With regards to team news it is unclear who will get the nod today but I expect a much similar team to the one that played against City last week. I even expect the same formation of 4-4-2 to accommodate the game time both Park and Chamakh need so desperately. Rosicky is included in the squad but could be touch and go for fitness but I expect to see him at some stage. My predicted starting line up for tonight is:


Yennaris                             Djourou                                 Squilacci                    Miquel

Oxlade Chamberlain                       Frimpong                           Coquelin                Benayoun

                                             Park                                  Chamakh.

Although like last week don’t be surprised if the defence is supplemented by a heavyweight in Vermaelan or Arshavin to play.

So with that I shall leave you to enjoy your day!

Come on you Gunners!


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