Champions league football is back and we are to face Shakhtar Donetsk at home tonight. Shakhtar have made a good start to their Champions league campaign by claiming wins at Braga and against Partizan. They also are doing great in their league, currently top with a 5 point margin. We ourselves have been successful in our opening games in the Champions league. So it will be a very well balanced match as they will be tough nut to crack.
In team news, we certainly are looking good as the injury list has depleted a bit. Still we are without Van Persie, Almunia, Vermaelen, Sagna and Koscielny. The good thing is we have got Cesc and Walcott back and looking forward to their appearances.
Probable Starting XI: Fabianski, Eboue, Squillaci, Djourou, Gibbs, wilshere, Denilson, Diaby, Rosicky, Chamakh, Nasri.
So Fabianski starts in goal for me because he is having a good run of games and it should not be disrupted. Squillaci and Djourou return to their centre back positions as we don’t have other options. Eboue again in place of Sagna and I would like to see Gibbs for Clichy. It will give some rest to Clichy and determine who shall start at City. In midfield I want Wilshere and Diaby to return as Wilshere is going to miss the next three games and Diaby deserves another go for his great runs. Still I hope he does better in front of goal. Denilson shall come in place of Song as he deserves a start and it will give much required rest to Song. Upfront only Rosicky has replaced Arshavin. Our little Russian needs some time to get back to his best and Rosicky needs a start after impressing again in his cameo against Birmingham.
So we both sit on 6 points each and this fixture and the return for this is going to decide who tops the group. Shakhtar will certainly want to take something from this match and we should do our best to come away with three points. That’s why I have opted for little rotation as we need to deal with one match at a time and maximum points here will be good for us.
We need to be focused and it will be better if we can secure the fixture by the hour mark with a couple of goals. Then we can bring in the subs, Fabregas, Walcott and Bendtner for giving rest to the players and to give some playing time to our returnees from injury.
It’s going to be an interesting encounter and Shakhtar won’t sit back. They will take their chances if presented with so we would need to be top of our game. The game will also see the return of Eduardo to Emirates and to a warm welcome from the home supporters.
We are playing at home, so I am predicting a win for us with the score line 2 goals to 1. A clean sheet will be welcomed with open arms though.
Keep the faith.