Arsenal v Lokomotiv Moscow
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hopes that his side can capture the form that saw them beat Inter 5-1 last month, and put them into the quarter finals.
Wenger has only once before managed to get the Gunners to the quarter-finals of the competition. Things looked bleak for the Frenchman when the Londoners went down 3-0 to Inter in the opening fixture, but they have managed to claw their way back into contention.
“We need the three points, said Wenger.
“The only thing easy to predict about the game is that I expect them to defend well and us to attack well.”
Wenger hopes that his player’s previous European experience will see them through safely.
“We believe we have a great chance, everyone is focussed and we have a lot of players in the team with 40 or 50 Champions League games behind them,”
Suspected Barcelona target, Thierry Henry is likely to be available after missing last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Leicester City. Henry will undergo a test on his knee but is almost certain to start.
Patrick Vieira, who also missed the weekend’s fixture, also looks set to start in midfield.
Lokomotiv Moscow coach Yuri Semin said that his side will try to upset the Highbury party.
“We are currently leading the group and we will do everything to maintain this position,’ he said.
‘The tactics might change during the match but there is only one thing for sure and that is that we will have a battle for 90 minutes.”
The Russian side only have one injury concern given that their domestic season has now finished. They are awaiting a decision on midfielder Marat Izmaylov, who was injured during Russia’s Euro 2004 qualifier against Wales.
Dynamo Kyi v Inter
After suffering consecutive defeats against Arsenal and Lokomotiv Moscow they are now rock bottom of the group. Kyiv can still qualify if they beat Inter and Arsenal lose at home at Lokomotiv, but their task is hampered by a series of long-term injuries.
Two players have gone under the knife: Roberto Nanni, who had an operation on his knee on Friday and Andriy Husin, who is also recovering from surgery. They also have injury doubts over Denis Onishenko and Serhiy Fedorov.
Following the end of the domestic season, coach Alexiy Mykhaylichenko has taken his side to a training camp in Italy to prepare for the clash, which he described as “very productive”.
Mykhaylichenko also hinted that he could employ unique tactics to defeat the Italians
“We intend to show our opponents a surprising style which will be uncomfortable for them – you can find out what it is tomorrow,” he said.
Inter know that three points is required for them to have a chance of moving to the knock-out stages. They will be keen to exorcise from their minds the 5-1 drubbing they received from Arsenal in the San Siro.
Argentine midfielder Matias Almeyda has called for his team-mates to focus on the job on hand.
“I think it will be a good game against Dynamo, we will have to try and be intelligent and stay calm,” he said.