Morning all. It's a fine day for football. My Under 8's are 2-0 to start the season with a +14 goal difference so far, so that's going well. And on top of that, since the disaster at Fulham, Arsenal have looked good too. We need that to continue tonight in Ukraine against Dynamo Kiev.
Injury news for Arsenal is as follows: Mikael Silvestre is out, along with Samir Nasri. Clichy and Eboue were both questionable but they both are in the 18 man squad. Silvestre hasn't been healthy since he signed for us. As for Eboue, I just wish he'd stop diving. Yes, it got us a penalty, but it's over the top, melodramatic, and just plain cheating.
Kiev are a good side and it's always tough to go to Eastern Europe and play. I've honestly never been to Eastern Europe so in my mind I picture it as very dark and cold year round. In fact Arsenal.com had this line on there: "The Ukrainian capital was grey and dreary..." That probably isn't the case all the time but it's still a tough environment to go into and get a win. That said I think we should be looking to take maximum points from this game. We are a far superior side now and our quality needs to win out. Walcott should be given another chance to shine in place of Samir Nasri and I think if he uses his pace well like he has been it could be another banner day for him. Kiev aren't as good as they once were with players like Shevchenko (below) and it's a match we need to win.
Arsene Wenger had this to say about the environment there:
The lineup should go something like this:
“Football in this region can be a little bit destabilising,” he said. “If you do not prepare well mentally you can be surprised by the level of commitment here and in Russia."We have had some bad experiences in this part of Europe before. When we lacked experience we were surprised by the commitment and enthusiasm we got from a side like Kyiv."But I believe we have learnt that any place in the world is difficult and I believe mentally we can cope with that better now."
What I'd like to see continuing is the runs by Walcott, using his pace and energy effectively from the start. If he wants to make the jump from good substitute to quality starter, then he's going to have to produce like he did against Blackburn week in and week out. I also want to see more out of Adebayor and RvP. They both had good games (Ade was fantastic) against Blackburn and their partnership is only going to get stronger playing together a lot of times in a row. Denilson I think should occupy a more holding role with Cesc in there next to him, but I do like how he gets forward and isn't afraid to take a long shot if the chance arises. Defence has looked a little shaky but let's hope they use this opportunity outside of league play to correct some of those mistakes.
My prediction: 2-0 to the Arsenal.
So that's that. Hopefully we'll get off on the right foot in this Champions League group. One last thing for the day is I'd like to mention that we are now in association with SoccerPro.com. They are the leading provider for all your football needs, including football boots, equipment, Arsenal kits (as well as other teams) , balls, and everything else you could possibly ever need to play, watch, referree, or anything else to do with the sport. I do encourage you to visit their site and check out the great deals they have. Cheers and let's go Gunners!