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PREVIEW: Arsenal v Dortmund, Team News, Line-Up & Prediction
Arsenal welcome Borussia Dortmund to the Emirates tonight in our penultimate Champions League group game.
A point will be enough to secure qualification to the knockout stage but we really need a win to get the confidence back in the squad following a difficult few weeks.
The calamitous 3-3 draw with Anderlecht was bad enough, but we then let slip a lead to lose away at Swansea and topped it all off by somehow losing to Man Utd on Saturday despite dominating for 90% of the game.
I dread to think how ugly the atmosphere will get towards Arsene Wenger if things don’t go our way this evening. A fourth straight lose is only going to further increase the pressure on the bosses head.
The good news is that Dortmund are also struggling domestically, as they come into the game sitting third bottom of the Bundesliga table after a 2-2 draw with newly-promoted Paderborn at the weekend.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are still a dangerous outfit though, as we found out in the first leg, so we’re going to have to be much-improved at the back if we’re to get a positive result this evening.
Jack Wilshere is set to be out for at least 8-10 weeks after damaging ankle ligaments against United on Saturday. The only silver lining is I hope this is an opportunity for the boss to revert back to a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Wojciech Szczesny is also missing with a rib injury so Emiliano Martinez will start in goal as David Ospina is still out with a thigh problem.
The good news is that Laurent Koscielny is back in contention after returning early from an Achilles injury and I’d expect him to start as we’ve been shocking in defence of late.
Danny Welbeck is a doubt with a hamstring strain so Yaya Sanogo is on stand-by as Olivier Giroud isn’t eligible because we didn’t register him for the group stages.
Obviously Mathieu Debuchy and Mesut Ozil are still missing, while Theo Walcott is also out after failing to recover from a minor groin complaint.
I’d only start Kos if he’s completely ready as there’s no point taking a risk on his long-term fitness. If he’s not 100% fit, I’d go with Bellerin at right-back and move Chambers into the middle.
Santi Cazorla has been poor recently so I’d like to see Lukas Podolski given a chance to impress. He’ll be hungry to show what he can do against German opposition too.
It’s almost impossible to predict which Arsenal will turn up tonight and how we’ll respond to recent set-backs. Arsene seems confident the players are ready to show what they are made of so I’m going to back the boys to nick a result tonight. Hopefully it will be a catalyst for our season. Arsenal 2-1 Dortmund.