The squad for Champions League match against Partizan Belgrade was announced yesterday. Almunia and Diaby, due to injury, are not selected in the squad. Fabianski as a result is going to go in between the sticks. Lansbury and Szczesny are also included in the squad.
Considering our last match, this away trip is not to be taken lightly. It is make or break from here. Having not seen Partizan Belgrade play so can’t comment on their style of play but they can be physical and a tough side to beat at home. Though I believe we have the squad, including keepers, to get a win over there, provided we show up mentally as well and give our best.
From the squad selected, I don’t think there will be many changes in the starting XI that started against Albion. Fabianski in goal for Almunia is the obvious one. Though, I would like to see Szczesny in goal, because it is time now to give him some games. The back line is very likely to remain same except Gibbs can come in for Clichy if he is fully fit. The midfield is where Wilshere should be included along with Nasri and one of Song or Denilson to be a defensively midfielder. Personally I would like to see Denilson because at least this season, till now, he has been better than Song.Upfront Chamakh will again hold the line and he should be partnered by Arshavin and Rosicky, who will be the Captain.
Probable Line Up: Fabianski, Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Clichy, Wilshere, Denilson, Rosicky, Nasri, Chamakh, Arshavin.
Now to be successful in this match, we need to stick to the basics. Keep the ball, don’t lose it unnecessarily, keep it tight and disciplined at the back, the whole team needs to defend, don’t give much space to opponents and score whenever the opportunity arises. If our team can do this today, we certainly will have a win.
The opponents, if they would have done some homework, would know that the best way to expose us is on the counter and by using the flanks to put in crosses. If we can keep it tight on the flanks and not get caught out, for which we need our passing to be precise, then it will be very difficult for the Belgrade to take something from this match.
From Nasri we require the same performance we saw against Albion, but this time from the start. If he can deliver today, supported by the likes of Wilshere, Rosicky and Arshavin, then certainly it will be very exciting. Denilson would need to sit back today and link up play from there.
An early goal by us will really help to lower the pressure. If we can kill this match early then I suppose Wenger will throw in Lansbury and Vela to give them some playing time.
I have said before the importance of this match has increased significantly. We need our team’s confidence to be high when they go on to face Chelsea at the weekend. But for that to materialize we need to solely focus on this match and get a result here and then when the time comes, Chelsea will be dealt with too.
Enjoy the match and see you on the other side.