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"It was the winter holiday and I was back in Togo having a kickabout with friends when my phone rang.One of the boys answered it and said, 'Manu, it's Arsene for you'. 'Arsene who?' I said. 'Arsene Wenger', he said. 'Get out of it', I said, and grabbed the phone off him. But then I heard the voice. 'Allo'. F*****g hell. It is Arsene Wenger!"
-Emmanuel Adebayor

Spata Prague is not Dinamo Zagred and RvP is not Titi

Not the easiest draw we could have gotten in the CL but its better than getting Fenerbahce or AEK Athens. Liverpool, despite what the English press are saying, will breeze past Toulouse who were lucky to even finish in a European spot last season. Celtic though will struggle against Spatak Moscow and I wont be surprised if Gordon Strachan and Co end up playing UEFA Cup football this season.

This tie will undoubtedly remind most fans of the Thierry Henry Show in Prague 2 years ago when he famously equalled and broke Wrighty's record. The words "Record Breaker, History Maker....Thierry Henry" will forever ring in my head. 2 years on the weird coincidence the CL loves giving us, just like how beating Vieira's Juve proved a point, this match will either tell Arsenal if this new strike force is better than the one-man firing squad of Thierry Henry.

One things for sure, Robin van Persie is not Thierry Henry. It worries me how much pressure he is under as Arsenal fans look to him to become our new talisman. Unlike previous years where you could probably guess Arsenal's starting strikers in a match, this season all 4 of Arsenal's strikers(Theo not included, he plays at RM) are potential starters, but only RvP would probably start every game he is fit. Arsenal are looking to Van Persie to fill the huge Titi shoes when what they should be doing is making sure the attack doesnt revolve around one striker. Van Persie doent have Titi's speed and if the likes of Everton and Sunderland were to put 3 men on him, like sides use to do against Titi, he will not get by them as easily. Titi was a runner, RvP is a shooter.

Arsenal have a chance now to show the world that they are better now post-Henry and there's no better way to prove it than by reminding Sparta Prague that 2 years ago, Arsenal beat them, not Thierry Henry.

The 1st leg will be played in Prague on the 14 or 15th of August while the Czechs will visit Emirates Stadium on the 28th or 29th for the 2nd leg. I fancy Eboue to start on the right instead of Walcott who is still quite raw, and despite his blistering pace his technical ability needs improving. I watched him at Barnet and despite playing against a team obviously inferior to the Arsenal, the only thing that got him past the Barnet defence was his speed. Eboue on the other hand, embarrassed the Inter defence on more than one occasion during the Emirates Cup and I never want to see him play in a full-back role ever again. With Bacary and Eboue on the right we now look like the old Arsenal, great on one side, shit on the other. The Arsenal that did the double in 02 had the best left side in Europe, but the right side on the team were invisible not because of lack of quality but because Ljungberg loved travelling inside instead of staying on the wing, much like Hleb but with a lot more goals. Now, Arsenal left has the Gail Force that is Gael Clichy but in front him he has a player that will probably never be in front of him in Tomas Rosicky, who is 10 times more affective in the middle or behind the strikers (similar to Hleb). If Arsenal can get their hands on Quaresma(although highly unlikely), we would have the balace that no Arsenal team have ever had, NOT EVEN THE INVINCIBLES!

My predictions over 2 legs:

Arsenal 3-1 Sparta Prague (a 1-1 draw in Prague)
Liverpool 5-0 Toulouse (3-0 trashing at Anfield)
Celtic 1-1 CSKA Moscow (CSKA through on away goals rule :D)

posted by highbury1913 @ 11:40 am | |

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