Thun coach Urs Schonenberger has warned his team they must remain focused against visitors Arsenal if they want to reach the Champions League knockout phase.
“You cannot switch off against Arsenal for a second,” he said.
“When you play them, there will always be a danger of them scoring goals. We have let in four of the last five goals from dead-ball situations. That can’t be blamed squarely on the defence – the whole team must take responsibility.”
Thun made a game of it in the first meeting at Highbury back on Matchday 1, before another late goal condemned them to a 2-1 defeat.
Arsenal are guaranteed qualification after winning all four of their games, but Schonenberger still expects them to field a strong lineup.
“Arsenal will want to prove they are a world-class team, so we expect to face a strong lineup,” he said.
“But if Thierry Henry is not playing or is taken off then it solves many of our problems. Arsenal live off Henry so we will have to close him down quickly if he gets close to goal to make sure he doesn’t hurt us.”
Thun sit third in Group B, four points behind Ajax, and Schonenberger admits that a UEFA Cup spot is the best his side can hope for with two matches remaining. “Our minimum requirement is to get a point against Arsenal and hope Ajax beat Sparta,” he said. “If Ajax win and we get a good result then it will guarantee us third place.”
Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger declared his team would not be taking it easy tonight, desp[ite already qualifying for the knock out stages.
“We want to finish top of the group, we want to finish unbeaten and we want to respect the teams who are fighting for UEFA Cup places like Thun and Sparta,” Wenger said.
With Ashley Cole and Gaël Clichy out with foot injuries, Wenger is expected to field youngsters Alexandre Song and Emmanuel Eboué tonight.
“I want to finish top as it is great for confidence both in Europe and domestically,” he added.
“If we win, it can give us a psychological advantage three or four days before we play our next game. Our aim is to win all our group matches.”
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