By Graham McNorthbank
No matter what the rest of the line up tonight, Arsenal will have an untried goalkeeper between the sticks in Belgium for our match against Standard Liege.
With both Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski sidelined, either Wojciech Szczesny (it’s pronounced like Chesney as in Chesney Hawkes) or more likely Vito Mannone will be in goal to make their Champions League debut, meaning that every player in a Liege strip will fancy their chances from distance.
That could play into Arsenal’s hands if our hosts continually ping in shots from 25 yards, but given that we know nothing about how either Vito or Ches will fare in the top flight, it could also prove to be a long long night for us Gooners.
Also missing from the squad tonight are Andrey Arshavin, Denilson and Robin van Persie, but with virtually everyone else fit we should have no excuses other than butter fingered youngsters at the back.
Defence will obviously be a priority, so I can’t see anything other than Bacary Sagna, William Gallas, Thomas Vermaelen and Gael Clichy being our starting back four. Mind you, they’ve already conceded eight goals this season, so maybe Le Boss has other ideas.
In midfield the options include Emmanuel Eboue, Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas, Abou Diaby, Aaron Ramsey, Thomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere, from which I’d opt for Wilshere, Fabregas, Song and Rosicky. I can hear people complaining already that this isn’t the stage to give Jack experience, but let’s not forget he’s already faced Dynamo Kiev and Porto in the competition and, no disrespect to Liege, but I reckon they are fiercer opponents.
Up front the pickings are a bit scarce with Nicklas Bendtner, Eduardo and Sanchez Watt available. That makes it a no brainer to stick the Big Dane in the middle supported by Dudu, but if things go well I wouldn’t be surprised to see Watt getting a cameo as his pace would cause any team problems, particularly late on in a game when legs are heavy.
As usual, I’ll invite you lot to share your ideas here on tonight’s line up, but for the record, here’s the Addict XI:
Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Clichy
Wilshere Fabregas Song Rosicky