Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Aalborg preview and open thread

We return to UEFA action tomorrow, with the competition stepping up a gear with a quarter-final place at stake.

A Danish side once again stand in our way, not for the first time of course this season, and each time the quality of opposition has been higher than previously faced. I would expect the same to occur from an Aalborg side who despatched Deportivo comfortably in the last round, and showed glimpses of promise in this seasons Champions League group stages.

Despite showing some maturity in this competition (particularly so in the last round win over FC Copenhagen), I'm not convinced a home tie in the first leg suits us, but if we can replicate the home form we have shown over the course of the season so far (both in the league and UEFA Cup) then we could put ourselves in a really good position for the second leg.

A note of caution should be exercised though given that once again, we will be light up front with Craig Bellamy definitely missing out (along with Nigel de Jong), although Robinho is set to return. It will be a big blow of course if Vincent Kompany is ruled out and would leave the central midfield area looking weaker than usual.

The competition this season does not appear to have caught the imagination so far, but as we head to the final stretch of the league campaign it is only serving to heighten the prospect of success in the UEFA Cup.

Defensively it will obviously be important to avoid an away goal, but this is an area we have been impressive in of late but cannot afford to concede goals in the manner we have done in Europe on occasion. Similarly to the Villa game, Shaun Wright-Phillips will be key and a positive of his rcent domestic ban is that it may just have freshened him up at the right time (as it appears to be the case with Richard Dunne).

A big game then and any win is of crucial to take with us to Denmark next week, but if we could come away with a 2-0 win tomorrow evening I'm sure that is something Mark Hughes would settle for.

vote it up!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh how I miss watching Bellamy play. He is a work horse, and the sooner he is back, the better. Robinho is due a goal for this one, and I'm sure SWP will come out and play as hard as he did against a great Villa squad.