A quick preview of our opening match in the Champions League. The Champions League kicked off yesterday for the current season. Arsenal have their first match today at home against the Portuguese side, Braga. Braga surprised everyone when they qualified for the Champions League this season, it is their first time, by disposing of Sevilla and Celtic in the process. Last season they finished at number two in their league. They are a team that can hit a counter attack quite efficiently, so we would need to be careful in our play and not get caught out.
In team news, the members of the injury list remain same. Vermaelen has not yet recovered from his Achilles problem; he might be available for the match over the weekend. Diaby is also going to miss the next couple of matches. Meanwhile Walcott, Van Persie, Bendtner and Ramsey are already out for quite some time.
The team at the back as usual picks up itself. Almunia in goal, Squillaci and Koscielny will team up again and Sagna and Clichy will return to their places, after their rest at the weekend. I won’t be surprised if Gibbs starts again in place of Clichy. Fabregas will start in the middle, along with Song and Denilson, as Wenger will look for experience in the middle. Wilshere might be given the nod ahead of Denilson. Up front Chamakh, Arshavin and Rosicky will team up again.
Predicted XI: Almunia, Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Denilson, Rosicky, Chamakh, Arshavin.
I think Braga will sit back and let us look for a goal and try to hit us back on the counter. They are very well organized at the back and are physically strong. For us, we would have plenty of possession. We would need to be creative in the final third to find goals, and the way the team performed at the weekend it shouldn’t be much of a problem. The other way would be to use the flanks and put in some crosses for Chamakh to head home. A clean sheet would be good and if we can score a few goals, it will further increase the confidence of the team.
That’s it for now. Enjoy the game.
p.s. Just more than an hour left to kickoff. I would have come up with this earlier but was busy with other stuff.