Archive for September 15th, 2010

Hasta La Vista, Braga – Get your Verminator t-shirt Now

114 comments September 15th, 2010

Last night saw Tottenham make their Champions League debut. Fortunately it was very much a case of ‘new competition, same old Spurs’ as they let slip a two goal lead in Bremen. Mikael Silvestre played at left-back against Aaron Lennon, and actually did quite well. On a night that made entertaining viewing for Arsenal fans, Manchester United also came away with just a point after failing to break down a stubborn Rangers side.

Still, this is only the group stage, and no one result can derail a campaign. I think all four English sides are quite likely to make it through to the knockout rounds – and our bid for qualification starts tonight, at home to Braga.

Whilst they have players capable of springing a goal on the counter-attack (watch out for the long-range shooting of Luis Aguiar), we ought to have enough to see off the Portugese runners-up. An early goal would be ideal, but we may have to show patience. They will be niggly and hard to break down.

At the back, concentration will be vital. Sagna and Clichy have both been rested, so should be sharp. With Thomas Vermaelen still out, Sebastien Squillaci and Laurent Koscielny will be entrusted with protecting Manuel Almunia’s goal. They have varying degrees of experience in the competition: Squillaci has reached a final with Monaco and played regularly for both Lyon and Sevilla. For Koscielny, however, this will be his Champions League debut. Hopefully the more senior Frenchman will be able to coax him through the task.

In midfield, About Diaby will be out – and it’s unclear just when he’ll be available again. Arsene says he’s deliberately being cautious due to Diaby’s horrendous record:

“I’m vague [about the length of Diaby’s absence] because it’s the ankle on which he had surgery.

I was very anxious because he had a scan yesterday [Monday] and with Diaby there are always bad surprises on the scan. But the scan looks quite promising.

We don’t know how long he will be out as we don’t know how long the inflammation will take to go down.”

Knowing how canny our manager is, it wouldn’t surprise me if the ambiguity of his statements about the severity of Diaby’s injury is a deliberate move to highlight just how bad Paul Robinson’s tackle was. Having lost several key players to injury already this season, he won’t want to see many more challenges of that ilk.  Unfortunately it sometimes takes a serious injury to get people to take notice of these incidents.

In Diaby’s absence, Alex Song and Cesc Fabregas will be joined by one of Jack Wilshere, Samir Nasri, or Denilson. I suspect it might be the Brazilian, who has yet to start a game this season.

Nasri could then come in to the front three in place of Tomas Rosicky, who might struggle to start two games inside four days. Andrey Arshavin is likely to line up to the left of Marouane Chamakh, whose adaptation has impressed the manager:

“He has done very well.  I believe he has a love for the physical game, a love for challenges. He loves contact, he is good in the air and when you jump high, no matter if it is in Japan or England, if you jump higher than your opponent then you get the ball with your head.

Off the field he adapts well [to England] but he is a guy who loves to be with the team, with his team-mates. He can be happy everywhere.”

I have to say the signing of Chamakh looks certain to be a success. His work-rate, movement, and aerial prowess are already evident. If he can add composure to his game, just as Emmanuel Adebayor and Didier Drogba have done since moving to the Premier League, he could become an even more complete player. His form only makes me wish we’d signed him twelve months ago, and spared ourselves the farcical situation we faced last season wherein Arshavin was forced to plough the lone furrow.

The key to getting through the group stage is to win your home games. Do that, and you can afford to drop a couple of points on your travels. With some tricky away trips to come, three points tonight would be more than welcome.

I mentioned earlier that Thomas Vermaelen will be absent. Some would have you believe he’s injured. Nonsense: The Verminator is merely undergoing repairs.

Since arriving at Arsenal a year ago, Vermaelen’s performances have been nigh-on impeccable. Doubts were raised when he first signed, mainly about his height, but a combination of an unnatural spring and a burning desire to win the ball and vanquish his opponent banished those almost immediately.

It is those qualities, as well as his steely glare and a conveniently-rhyming syllable in his surname, that earned the Belgian the nickname ‘Verminator’; qualities that Gunnerblog has joined forces with Arseblog to celebrate with the launch of this exclusive new t-shirt:

Click to buy

Last season Gunnerblog produced a set of ‘Cesc We Can’ shirts that proved very popular. This shirt, like the Cesc one, is designed by David Rudnick and made of 100% ringspun cotton. As ever, the ambition is to create high-quality Arsenal stuff, made for fans by fans.

Only 250 have been made, so click here to get yours now and avoid disappointment.

If Arsenal are to achieve anything this season, Vermaelen will be there at the steely spine of this new Arsenal side. He might not be on the field tonight, but one can be sure he’ll be stood in the tunnel with a chilling message for our Portugese opponents.

Hasta La Vista, Braga.

Search Gunnerblog

Get your Gunnerblog t-shirts now!

get regular updates from GS with twitter

Top Gunn

Cesc Fabregas
The man in form.

    Retro Arsenal T-Shirts from - Bringing Back The Good Old Days!: Click Here!

Latest Posts

Sponsored Links


September 2010
« Aug   Oct »

Posts by Month

Most Recent Posts

Posts by Category


Powered By

eXTReMe Tracker