With diplomatic tensions between the UK and Russia heightened at present, our Europa League quarter-final against CSKA Moscow has acquired a certain edge that neither club will particularly welcome.
Arsene Wenger flat-batted any questions about it in his pre-match press conference, and understandably so. After all, considering the already considerable pressure on us to win this tournament, we could do without anything that will further strain a tie that is far from straightforward.
We have been installed as favourites to progress but a quick glance at the CSKA side underlines the quality that the visitors have in their ranks. Igor Akinfeev, Alan Dzagoev, Aleksandr Golvin – all fine players who will relish the chance to cause an upset in the capital. Elsewhere, a backline of Sergei Ignashevich (38) and the Berezutski twins (both 35), may be aging but they each possess extensive European experience and know-how.
Our task is to overcome the many challenges that CSKA will present, as well as block out all the external noise surrounding this tie. It may not be as easy as that, but having won four games on the bounce we finally have some momentum on our side. This should be quite a game.
Read on for our comprehensive pre-match briefing. We’ve got goals, team news, quotes from the manager, match facts, graphics and a chance to have your say.
LAST TIME OUT
A TIME TO STICK TOGETHER
Wenger on the dynamics of this tie…
“When you play at home in the…