Kick-off: 19:45 (BST)
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has told his players there will be no room for complacency when they host Slavia Prague in the Champions League oon the back of 11 successive victories in all competitions.
With maximum points from their first two Group H games, Wenger believes the Premier League leaders will be “90 per cent” certain of qualification if they secure another win on Tuesday.
“It’s a typical, tricky tie,” Wenger said. “We could think that, because we beat Sparta Praha [in the third qualifying round], we’ll beat Slavia too. But the Champions League doesn’t work like that. We needed to dig deep to beat Steaua. Slavia also beat Steaua and they scored two goals at Sevilla. This is another good mental test.”
The 2006 finalists fell to PSV Eindhoven in the first knockout round last season and while that result still annnoys Wenger, he is convinced his team are stronger now.
“The PSV game must serve as a big warning,” the Frenchman said. “You never have easy games in this competition. But we’ve learned from our mistakes and I feel our teamwork is better. Before, we conceded a lot from counterattacks and set-pieces but now we’re stronger in defence.”
Wenger may start with Theo Walcott on the right wing following an impressive apppearance in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers, with Aleksandr Hleb handed a more central role in place of knee-injury victim Robin van Persie.
“The timing and quality of his movement are good and he’s back to the level he had before his injury,” Wenger said of the teenager.
Slavia’s domestic progress has been almost as impressive as that of the English league leaders: they head the Czech 1. Liga by five points having won eight out of ten games, including Friday’s 3-0 success over Viktoria Plzen.
Stanislav Vl?ek, who took his goal tally to seven with two against Plzen, will lead the visitors’ attack as coach Karel Jarolím opts for a makeshift five-man midfield that should feature fit-again players Daniel Pudil and Michal Švec.
Jarolim is without midfield trio Vladimir Smicer, Dusan Svento and Petr Janda, and defensive pair Martin Latka and Erich Brabec, but despite this, Jarolím is in upbeat mood, saying:
“Arsenal are one of the best teams in Europe but we won’t commit the same mistakes we made in Sevilla. Our players must be at the top of their games and we must play as a team, both in defence and attack.
“Everyone is beatable – even Arsenal. They’re the favourites to win the group but there’s no reason why we can’t create a small miracle.”