Here comes the competition, qualification for which next season is our main aim this year. For Arsenal this match is a welcome one. In the Premier League they have week in week out been facing teams that come just to defend which has resulted in a number of goal-less draws recently. Goals have been very hard to come by and just when it seemed they had solved the problem of not getting enough goals by winning 4-0, they end up getting yet another goal-less draw this Saturday!
The form is badly against Arsenal, not having won 4 consecutive matches now in the League but Champions League is exactly what they would want at this stage. Roma will most probably come to get a win, they all do it in the Champions League, and so Arsenal will be able to play their game more freely and hopefully get a couple of desperately needed goals.
As for Roma, their League form is much better than Arsenal’s except for a 3-0 defeat. 2-1, 2-2, 3-0, 0-3, 1-0. They may have lost one but at least they have been winning too. Overall it has been a poor season for both the teams so far. Roma at 6th and Arsenal at 5th. This means both are effectively out of the title races, Roma are also out of the Coppa Italia so for them Champions League is the only competition they have any hope of winning. Arsenal are still in FA Cup but Wenger gives far more priority to this competition than the FA Cup. So both the teams will give an all out performance.
A scoring draw would be dangerous for Arsenal as they will then have a big task to do in the 2nd leg. A goal-less draw will give a very slight advantage to Roma but we all know everyone thought Arsenal was out of the Champions League when they had a 0-0 draw with AC Milan at the Emirates last year so you cannot count Arsenal out that easily! A defeat could mean disaster but honestly speaking hardly anyone would be expecting a defeat in this match.
Arsenal enjoy matches against Italian opposition. But that is IN Italy. We beat Inter Milan 5-1 away from home, AC Milan 2-0 away from home. So even if Arsenal don’t get a good result in this match, they will still have quite a chance of advancing to the quarters in the 2nd leg.
Talking of team news now, Diaby is back and Arshavin is out as he is ineligible to play in the Champions League for Arsenal this season. So most probably the same line-up as in the Sunderland match with Eboue replacing Arshavin on the right.
Sagna Toure Gallas Clichy
Eboue Denilson Song Nasri
Bendtner van Persie
No chance of a start for Vela ahead of Eboue as we all know who Wenger would go for! Besides Vela isn’t experienced enough. Hopefully Denilson and Song can somehow put up a good performance (though it is unlikely!) and Wenger has stressed that Denilson will have a very important role in this game.
I wont predict a win because in all of these recent draws we have had, I had predicted a win :p. So being a little superstitious I will go for a 0-0 draw!