Dynamo Kiev vs. Arsenal
The Anchor Man previews Wednesday’s Champions League clash.
Arsenal travel to Ukraine tonight to face Dynamo Kiev and, although the Gunners have been beaten on their past two visits to the capital, the suspicion is that their opponents on Wednesday are not of the calibre of previous sides that have got the better of Arsene Wenger’s men. Shakhtar Donetsk have emerged as the force in Ukrainian football in recent seasons and I’ll be backing the London club to come back with a win.
Dumped out of the Champions League in a pulsating quarter-final at Anfield last season, Arsenal also ran out of puff in the Premier League and ultimately finished the season empty handed. Failure to add any significant bodies over the summer to an already small looking squad had many writing off the Gunners chances for this campaign but they have started brightly and confidence will be high following a thumping victory at Ewood Park on Saturday.
Although new recruit Samir Nasir, who has impressed so far since his arrival at the Emirates, misses tonight’s clash through injury a big plus for Wenger has been the return to form and fitness of Robin van Persie. The Dutch forward has come back the player of old following months of frustration on the treatment table and his partnership with, the at times unplayable, Emmaunuel Adebayor looks set to flourish. The Togolese striker reminded everybody just how devastating he can be with a hat-trick at Blackburn on Saturday and I’m convinced Arsenal will be on the score sheet at least one tonight.
While Kiev were quite rightly feared throughout Europe when Shevchenko and Rebrov were in tandem their performances since that golden era have been disappointing. Failure to register a single point last year when grouped with Sporting, Roma and Manchester United came just twelve months after also failing to claim a single win in the group stage. Kiev conceded 35 goals in those previous two campaigns and new Russian coach Yuri Semin has his work cut out to turn around their fortunes.
If the home side are to pose a threat tonight then are likely to rely heavily on Ismael Bangoura and Artem Milevski to provide the goals. The pair have combined for eight in the league already this term but I just don’t see the hosts winning enough ball in midfield for them to be a factor and the odds on offer about another English success will do.
Back Arsenal LOST
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