Arsenal v. Olympiacos; Beware of Bloggers Bearing Clichés

Nicholas Bendtner practices his Om Song before the Champions League clash between Arsenal and Olympiacos

Preamble:

I’ll admit it. I don’t know anything about Olympiacos FC. Aside from the reports that have flooded in over the last two days (Journo’s do have a purpose) I don’t know dick about this club, mostly because I’ve never seen them play. If you have seen them and want to share your experiences with us, please do, that’s why the gods created comments on blogs.

I do know that they are Greece’s most successful club, that they will be wearing black kits tonight, and that they are very good at home in European competitions and very very bad away from home in European competitions.

I also know that they have shared their “tactics” with us all and that their cunning plan will be to 1) deny Cesc the ball and 2) deny us space. Genius, they must have watched a film of us play or something.

Injuries

Nicholas Fender Bendtner wrecked his Aston Martin yesterday and from the looks of it he finally finished something. This was no minor slip off the road into a sapling, but a full on death defying car crash… at 10am, sober. He’s being withheld as a precaution and so he won’t play today.

As I reported yesterday, Denilson is out for “two months” with a fractured back. A lot of folks are reminded of Gilberto’s fractured back and how he was out most of a season and I too feel like this “two months” estimate might be a bit optimistic. As Mia pointed out in yesterday’s comments, players who return from this type of injury often go on to pick up other niggling injuries as they work their way back to fitness and I think this is especially true in the engine room of the team. Let’s all touch wood (he he, touch “wood”) that Denilson has a speedy recovery and that by some stroke of luck is never injured ever again. EVAR.

Nasri is still out with the broken leg and combined with all our other injuries that means that our midfield options are very limited. Remember how at the start of the season I was all bragging about how stacked Arsenal were in midfield? I do still believe that we are stacked and am grateful that we are so blessed to have Diaby, Eboue, Song, Rosicky, Cesc, Ramsey and Merida available. That said, a lot of those names are real question marks as for their match readiness and only a precious few of those players can truly play the holding role. So, it’s a mixed bag for me. The boss could, for example, put Rosicky in Cesc’s spot and move Cesc into a more holding role. As you can see from that example, though, it might not be the best use of Cesc Fabregas. Whatever Wenger chooses to do today, sorting this sort of selection nightmare is where Wenger earns his pay. I’m sure he’ll get it right.

Or he’ll play Eboue in the holding role like he did last year, to GREAT SUCCESS!

Walcott is ready and begging to play but the boss is saying that he lacks match fitness. Almunia is still out with a “chest” infection. And finally, Fabianski and Djourou are both still out recovering from surgery.

Starting XI

arsenal-v-olympiacos

I don’t really think this is much of a controversial selection on my part. The boss has highlighted van Persie’s touch and creativity as the reason why he plays him alone up front instead of Fender Bendtner. He talked about Eduardo being available for the match, and Rosicky needs a run out I think, so that’s why I put those two in. The rest of the team selects itself really.

Feel free to disagree!

Where to watch the match?

If you live there, I’m sorry but it’s sold out so you can’t go. You can watch it on Sky Sports Xtra if you have that or maybe you’ll have to go to the local boozer.

Here in North America the match is being carried on your local Fox Sports Net channel. This is different from your Fox Soccer Channel, it’s usually part of your basic cable and usually shows regional sports programming. Here in the PNW, we actually have a High Definition feed for our local Fox Sports Net, so, and this is super exciting, I get to watch Arsenal in High Def for the very first time. I’m so excited all six of my nipples are tingling.

I don’t know about the rest of the world, so if you live somewhere other than England or North America, please feel free to share where you can watch the match in the comments.

Predictions

  • Arsene Wenger was not handed a £60m “war chest” and even if he was, he won’t spend it until he finds a “Goldilocks” signing.
  • Carlos Vela is not going to Xeres.
  • Fabregas will have 1 goal and 1 assist tonight
  • Arshavin will come on in the 70th minute
  • Arsenal will win 3-1.

That’s it for today, Kickers, see you tomorrow for the Good, Bad, and Ugly.

40 Comments on Arsenal v. Olympiacos; Beware of Bloggers Bearing Clichés

  1. I’m tempted to state that I’d rather have Eboue and his work ethic in there rather than Diaby and his narcolepsy, but then I thought, this is about the time Diaby will show up, just before all of us are about to pull the plug on him. So my guess is Diaby, if he plays, has a great game. Only to make us forget he’s on the pitch perhaps this Sunday against Blackburn. Oh Diaby, you foul, mercurial temptress.

  2. Eduardo, RvP, Rosicky! I see goals there plus TV5 will throw in a setpiece header. Olympiacos has only scored once in 8 away games in England, so I can see Vito Mannone Mission with another clean sheet.

    Prediction: 3-0. Risks: 1. Diaby/Clichy, both of whom need “a good game”. 2. Mannone overplaying. Also, could be a good game for Cesc to stamp his authority on — missing a bit lately.

    Game listed as HD here in Boston (ch 852 on Comcast)…yum.

    Recommended pregame music: U2 – “Daddy’s Gonna Pay for Your Crashed Car”

  3. No Arshavin???
    Cesc left
    Song holding and i’d prefer to see Eboue right side, then up front arshavin eduardo rosicky….
    Think it should be a walk in the park so i’d like them to try it without RVP.

  4. I don’t know anything about them either but they beat AZ, which suggests they aren’t as terrible as we might have been hoping. And haven’t they got Matt Derbyshire?

  5. I’m in Pennsylvania and I have DirecTV. I DVR’d the match before I left for work this morning and it was listed on channel 630, which is a Fox Sports Net station as you mentioned.

    But I was listening to the Dan Patrick show on the radio at work, and he mentioned that DirecTV is showing Champions League matches on channels 461 – 469. I don’t know if they’re PPV but, if it’s true, there is another option.

  6. That Aston Martin still looks like ‘speeding’ despite a few ‘dings’. Bendtner would be better off in a Vauxhall after this.

    If I’m Zico and Olympiakos, I’m breathing a ‘sigh’ of relief that Bendtner is out. I would also be very happy about the (L) side of Arsenal because it just screams ‘highway 1’ w/ no tolls all the way to our goal. We’ll see.

    • @Xabier, no, it still means that you shouldn’t read Tony Cascarino, it’s bad for your mental health.

      In fact, I have to wonder why the NHS hasn’t put a warning label on his column.

  7. Wenger today sounded like he is considering playing rosicky in midfield “Yes, it’s a good opportunity for Diaby now,” he admitted. “But we have Rosicky coming back as well so we have plenty of options.”

    This sounds like a great idea as i Have sen rosicky do more tracking back and tacking than Diraby this year. He will literally give his shirt for the team

  8. Looking at the Aston Martin (esp. cosidering they sit on the right side in the UK) I’m amazed that Bendnter is even alive let alone have only minor injuries.

  9. I’m at work. Ill have to do with BBC text feed :(. And the new version of BBC text feed hangs every now and then!! arghhh!!

  10. Someone on another site who sounds knowledgeable says they’ll play like Blackburn. Yawn. And worry. They’re quite dirty, apparently.

    Nice to see Sunu scored for the reserves (also Frimpong and Rhys Murphy). Watt didn’t play, so I reckon he and Vela will be on the bench.

  11. @Akash, Not wishing to jinx anything, but get that feeling, Nicko survives possible fatal crash, picks up injury in training, out for 2 months.

    Viva!

  12. I had my own DirecTV drama today. I tried to record from one of the specialty channels. The descriptor is there as plain as can be. It was wrong, but whatever. I tuned to ANOTHER one labled for Arsenal. Liverpool again. I got to the game at around ’71, so thank goodness I was able to see the two goals so far.

    Olypiakos has their own Dudu. Yes, I never get tired of such things.

  13. weren’t we excellent? I’d forgotten Diogo went there. Two seasons ago we offered his Brazilian club, Portuguesas, quite a lot of money for him, but not alas the 20 million they were demanding. I don’t know what Olympiakos ended up paying but it was certainly masses. As you probably noticed they’re stocked with expensive Brazilians. Weird they did indeed play like Blackburn.

  14. MOTM? Arshavin, I suppose, but I thought Song did very well, which pleases me (because I’ve always liked him and I can think of only one other person in the world who did) but also depresses me deeply (because what the fuck are we going to do when he’s not here?)

  15. “Now the category of brilliant play, clean sheet and a superb 2 goal scoreline… And the OSCAR goes to… The Arsenal!!! ‘Ehnnn… I will like to thank the manager, the backroom, and most especially, the playing staff for an excellent pulsating performance. Ehnn…!! Oh! And a big thank you to Tim for his calming? article. Ehnn…!!! And I suppose everyone else for sticking around. Thank you.’ (applause)”

    Welldone everyone! Cheers!!

  16. ‘You cannot buy players at Waitrose,’ says Wenger. No, indeed, street markets are more our sort of price range, or we make them at home (Waitrose is England’s priciest supermarket). Still, there’s an interesting rumour in the Telegraph that we’re looking at Keko, Spanish, 17, at Athletico, and without a professional contract. That sounds like our sort of bargain.

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