Date: 25th November 2008 at 3:02am
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A new epoch of Arsenal Football Club begins on Wednesday as Francesc Fabregas Solar will lead the team out of the tunnel and onto the Emirates pitch for the first time in his young but certainly not neoteric Arsenal career. He will escort out a morale stricken squad to face Ukrainian side Dynamo Kyiv, and in this match Arsenal will be looking to seal their qualification into the knockout round of Europe’s most prestigious club competition.

Vital Quotes:

The pre-match press conference was dominated by captaincy talk. “I believe that personally the captain is the voice of the club towards the outside,” said Wenger at Monday`s pre-match press conference.

“Of course he is one of the leaders of the team but I have told you many times that I do not believe in one providential man in the dressing room that sorts out all the problems.

“A successful team has a shared leadership inside the dressing room and he will be one of the leaders but not the only one. It is very important that we share that leadership inside the dressing room.”

Of course the previous captain was a hot topic as well. “I rate William as a player and a man,” said Arsene. “I have a big respect for him. But he was working as a captain in a very difficult media environment.

“He was under big pressure from the press and at some stage you don`t want that high pressure to effect him or the team.

Suggestions are suggestions, I cannot stop them. But for me William is a player who is committed to the Club.

“I also think he could be stronger as a player now because previously he took all the problems of the team to his heart. I think this could be a new start for him and he can get stronger as a player.”

Arsenal Team News:

A few more injuries to add to the list. Nasri and Diaby are both back on the treatment table. Wenger must of pulled another cheeky slight of hand over us all when he said Adebayor was rested over the weekend, because the Togolese striker will once again not play a part. Bendtner and his pink boots will most likely start up front with van Persie, unless Wenger would like to go adventurous and send out Vela. Fran Merida is being reported to start on the left wing.

Kolo Toure (calf), Theo Walcott (shoulder), Emmanuel Eboue (knee), and Bacary Sagna (ankle) are all out.

Player to watch: Fran Merida

While the spotlight will surely be on one Catalonia youth product, another Barca youngster will be making his first Champions League start for the Gunners. Wenger described him as an ‘absolutely amazing talent’, and the eighteen year old will be looking to display that talent tonight.

Dynamo Kyiv Team News:

Dynamo can woefully boast a substantial injury list as well. Oleh Gusev, Carlos Corrêa, Ayila Yussuf, Artem Kravets, Malkhaz Asatiani, Olexandr Shovkovskiy, Taras Mikhalik Milo? Ninković, Olexandr Romanchuk are all out for the Ukrainian side.

Dynamo lost their last league outing by a single goal away from home to rivals Shakhtar Donetsk.

Player to watch: Ismaël Bangoura

The former Le Mans striker moved to Kyiv in the summer of 2007. In that time he has become a huge fan favourite, and in his first season he notched 26 goals in 32 appearances. In the reverse fixture in this group, he caused the Arsenal back line a good deal of trouble and scored the go ahead penalty. I can see him having a repeat preformance tonight.

Match Prediction

As nonchalant and atrocious Arsenal is playing at the moment, the Champions League has been a good competition for us to briefly bounce back in. Kyiv will put us under a lot of pressure because their back is against the wall, but I can see us prevailing in the end 3-1.

Ref Watch:

Luxembourg official Alain Hamer will the head official for this European tie.

Next Fixtures:

30/11 (Sun)- Chelsea (A)- Premier League

2/12 (Tue)- Burnley (A)- Carling Cup

6/12 (Sat)- Wigan (H)- Premier League