Arsene Wenger has commented on how tough the tie will be in Kiev. We’ve played in the Ukraine three times, and lost everytime. I mentioned our poor record in Eastern Europe earlier today, and Wenger knows it won’t be easy.
He’s played it down, saying a point will be a good start for him:
“It is a tough place for us to go,”“It is maybe a little bit better for us to play earlier but I am convinced it will still be a massive challenge. We’ll go there and try to win the game but even if we take a point then for me it will be a good start.
“Dynamo Kyiv knocked out Spartak Moscow 4-1, 4-1 [in each leg of their qualifying game]. When you know Spartak Moscow and how strong the Russian League is at the moment that means it is a tough draw. I saw the first game at Spartak Moscow and Dynamo Kyiv were really impressive.
“Our group has four teams who are all used to playing in the Champions League – Fenerbache, Porto, Dynamo and us. Anyone can take points off anyone that’s why for me it’s very important we start well in this game.”
We do have a particuarly tough group, the away games will be crucial, because ties in the Ukraine and Turkey are notoriously difficult – last year Chelsea lost 2-1 to Fenerbahce in the Quarter-Finals there. Porto are also a quality side, all of these teams have Champions League quality.
In the Sun he said:
“For me, Dynamo Kiev is a bit of an unknown quantity,”
“They look like they always have the best players around their region, so it really depends on the quality of the generation they have at the moment.
“But they can be a very dangerous side. We know that because we played them when they had Shevchenko, Rebrov and Luzhny and they were a very, very difficult side.”
This is true. I don’t think Dynamo’s current crop will be as good as that team, but they are still the best Ukrainian team, and they will make life very hard for us out there.
Of course we will go for the win, but Arsene is talking it down in order not to raise expectations.
Do you think he’s right, is one point a good start?