Group H Kick-off: 19-45 (BST)
Ronald Koeman knows AZ Alkmaar could find themselves “in deep trouble” if they allow Arsenal to dictate the pace of their Group H contest on Tuesday.
However, Koeman, who won this competition as player with Barcelona in 1993, believes he has seen enough chinks in the Gunners’ armoury to give the Dutch champions hope of securing a home win.
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, meanwhile, believes his team, who lead the group with six points from two games, are showing good enough form to suggest they can end their trophy drought this season.
“Maybe for us it will be easier to play against such a good team,” says Koeman. “We all know football can be a funny game, in which anything is possible. It starts with belief, then we all have to be at the top of our game and they must not be.
“If we let them play their football then we will be in deep trouble, so this is where our task lies. We have to be well organised, but also have to be good individually, and be very sharp in covering their top players. But they also have their weaknesses.
“I saw Arsenal live against Blackburn, and Blackburn had four chances to score. Maybe Arsenal had 14, but still … They are a joy to watch, but they also suffer defeats every now and then in the league and Champions League.”
Wenger, meanwhile, believes the current Arsenal side are steadily improving.
“We have a good team with a good attitude,” he said. “Every player in the team can score, and in the Champions League you have to score from every opportunity you get.
“I think this team has a big future. We’ve improved but haven’t won anything yet – we will try to change that this season.
“AZ have more of a balanced team than Standard de Liège, and are better on the ball, but it is never easy to beat a team in the Champions League. It’s never easy to beat a Dutch team either, but tomorrow is a good opportunity to do that.”