Freddie Ljungberg says his squad selection for tomorrow’s game with Standard Liege has been influenced by injuries and the fixture schedule but he maintains Arsenal have enough firepower to get a result in Belgium.
The Gunners must avoid a defeat by five goals to secure safe passage to the knockout stages but will have to complete the group stage without a litany of first team regulars following a deluge of injuries.
On the eve of Monday’s win against West Ham, the only players sidelined were Rob Holding and Dani Ceballos. Since then, Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney, Granit Xhaka and Pepe have all picked up problems. Shkodran Mustafi, a regular in Europe this season, is also suspended. In their place, a number of Academy starlets made the plane this afternoon.
“We have a few injuries,” the Swede told his pre-game press conference. “We’ve played a lot of games lately, we have another game on Sunday.
“We brought a lot of firepower here. We have younger players that played in the group stages, it’s a big game and we’re here to get a result. We have a lot of respect for the opponents.”
The Gunners cruised to a 4-0 win against Standard Liege in October and have recorded wins in two previous encounters at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne; 7-0 in 1993 and 3-2 in 2009.
“It’s a very important game for us, we know what’s at stake,” said Ljungberg. “They probably need to win the game.
“We play a lot of games. Sometimes we have to change. We have a lot of respect for the game. We don’t take it lightly. We want to win and get a result.”
Quizzed on the pedigree of his next opponents, he added: “They’re well known in Europe. Of course, I knew about them beforehand. You could see that they try to play football. I like how they play.
“I’ll try to come up with a gameplan that doesn’t suit them. I have a lot of respect for them. They have a great coach.”