Arsenal v AZ Alkmaar: match preview

04 November 2009 09:49
Wednesday, Nov 4

Arsenal v AZ Alkmaar

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Touchline duel: Arsène Wenger v Ronald Koeman

Koeman was manager of PSV Eindhoven in 2007 when their late goal eliminated Wenger's team at the last 16 stage. He also coached Ajax to two draws against Arsenal in 2003.

Key battle: Cesc Fàbregas v Mendes da Silva

The respective heartbeats of the two teams. Fàbregas opened the scoring for Arsenal two weeks ago in Alkmaar with a wonderfully crafted team goal but Da Silva, a Holland international, has a habit of contributing at important moments and hit a late equaliser.

Talking tactics

With Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner injured, Wenger has limited options on the right. He could ask Andrei Arshavin to switch flanks in a more offensive formation. Tomas Rosicky will be among the substitutes.

What they are saying

Arsène Wenger

"We have to be well organised and have a good position on the pitch.

"The thing is we have to show it every time we play - that we are a great team and can achieve something at the end of the season.

"We learned a lot from the old experiences. Now we try to practice what we learned before and be better this season."

Ronald Koeman

"This game is the most difficult one of all six group games we will have to play.

"Arsenal have a team who can go far in the Champions League. They have some fantastic individual players.

"But to reach the Champions League final is not easy. There are a lot of strong teams.

"In the knockout stages, one bad day and you will be out."

Team details (probable)

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Almunia; Gibbs, Gallas, Vermaelen, Sagna; Diaby, Song; Nasri, Fàbregas, Arshavin; Van Persie.AZ Alkmaar (4-4-2): Romero; Poulson, Moreno, Jaliens, Swerts; Martens, Schaars, Mendes da Silva, Holman; Pelle, Dembélé.

Source: Telegraph