10 Things Arsenal fans should know ahead of Slavia Prague clash

10 Things To Know About Arsenal v Slavia Prague by Dan Smith

To get us in the mood for our biggest game of the season I thought I do a preview in the form of a list.

Player for Player we are better than Slavia Prague, and if our attitude is correct this should be a kind draw. Don’t get me wrong, we are not a good enough team to take anyone lightly but beating Slavia Prague over two legs is not a bad ask to get to a semi-Final.

 

Here are 10 things worth considering for Thursday ……

 

10 – Who Are Slavia Prague?

They are the Czech Republic’s second most successful side. Since the country’s independence in 1993 they have been Champions on 6 occasions. Their colours red and white represent heart and blood, their 5-point star stands for ‘new hope’.

 

9 – Ownership

It’s not a coincidence that since CEFC brought the club they won their first title in 6 years and are now being more competitive at European Level.

Sinobi Group is a Chinese real estate company who saved the club on and off the pitch from debts of 112 million in 2015.

 

8 – Former Players

If your old enough to remember the late 90’s, early 2000, you might remember Vladimir Smicer, Karel Poborsky and Patrick Berger playing in England.

Most recently West Ham gave them 19 million for Thomas Soucek.

 

7- Their record in Europe

To give you an idea what kind of adventure this is for Slavia Prague, they have only ever been to one European semi-Final, the 1996 UEFA Cup.

This is only their 4th quarter Final in the UEFA/Europa League.

Only twice have they been in the Champions League group stages.

Their Champions League record outside of qualifiers is one win out of 8.

So you could make the argument that knocking Arsenal out and getting to the last 4 of the Europa would be their biggest achievement in Europe.

 

6- They Have Played Arsenal Twice

Ironically when they qualified for the Champions League proper for the first time, the Gunners were in their group. In 2007 we beat them 7-0 (our biggest European win at the Emirates) but then strangely only two weeks later were held 0-0 by the same opposition.

 

5- Rarely Win In Britain

You will know en route to the last 8 Slavia won at both Leicester and Rangers. That’s even more special when you consider that before this season they had never won in Britain before. They have lost at Saint Mirren, Hearts, Leeds, Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal.

 

4- Record Against English

To give you an idea of how special the win at Leicester was, their only other win against an English side since 1976 was at home to Leeds in 2000 (lost over two legs).

Their overall record against English opponents reads  W 2, D 3, L 8.

 

3- Our record against the Czechs

As well as that 7-0 win I already mentioned, we have beaten Slavia’s rivals Sparta the 6 times we faced them in UEFA competition.

So our 0-0 draw in 2007 is the only game out of 8 we didn’t win against Czech opposition.

 

2- Unbeaten Domestically

Unlike us, Slavia Prague are not used to that feeling of losing. Not just are they top of their of Czech First League by 14 points, they are yet to lose after 25 games.

While the level of competition Is not on the same level as playing the Gunners, this is still a group of players who will arrive with that winning feeling. If like me, you believe confidence and a strong mentality is crucial in sport then that could be vital.

 

1 – We Have To Win

I made this point in previous rounds and hopefully will in future ones.

Arsenal have to win this cup to rescue their season. The moment they are knocked out they will go down as the worst Arsenal squad in decades.

It’s not just the prestige of returning to the Champions League, but the squad will be acutely aware of the financial implications of zero European Football.

Due to Covid we have gone a year without match day revenue, meaning players took a pay cut and 55 staff were made redundant. So it would be the worst period in our history to suddenly miss out on the income that being in Europe brings.

That’s a lot of pressure to handle and I’m not sure we have enough leaders to handle it?

Slavia meanwhile know they will be in the Champions League qualifying rounds next season, so have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

 

I’m predicting a 4-1 win.

 

Be Kind In The Comments

 

Dan

Tags Slavia Prague

21 Comments

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  1. gotanidea says:

    Slavia Prague’s forwards are very tall, so they might be able to man-handle our defenders easily. Abdallah Sima, Peter Olayinka and Lukas Provod will occasionally beat our defenders in aerial duels

    They also have towering CBs and tall fullbacks. So if Arteta insists on using long goal kicks, their defenders will eat our attackers alive

    We shouldn’t be afraid of playing from the back, because we’ll face a very physical team like West Ham. We’ll make some mistakes when our defenders build our attack, but it’ll be better than killing ourselves with the long goal kicks

    1. Phil says:

      GAI- your obsession with tall CB’s is just another of your fads that are worthless. A good cross into the box can take out any CB. Did you watch the Jota goal on Saturday?

      1. gotanidea says:

        Yes, Phil. Liverpool’s attackers are good headers, unlike ours

        A good cross can make the ball evade any CB, but a long goal kick is mostly won by a towering CB

  2. S.J says:

    We are a bigger club than Slavia Prague. We should be able to knock them out in two legs of football.

    Their form is so strong, so we should not take them for granted. Arteta should set the boys up to suffocate them by pressing hard from the attack.

    If we play with urgency and desire, we will win this match tonight.

    Arteta should come out and give us a good reason why Martinelli is not playing. It is getting me so confused already.

    This is a game we need his urgency and fight. With the players available, I would pick this team.

    Aubameyang.

    Martinelli. Smith-Rowe. Saka.

    Xhaka. Partey.

    Cedric. Mari. Holding. Bellerin.

    Leno.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Lacazette for Aubameyang, as he offers nothing if not scoring. He appears totally disinterested and Arsenal can’t afford to play with 10 men.
      Maybe Arteta will play a 3-4-2-1 with Bellerin/Soares and Saka as wing backs with 3 CB’s. If Xhaka isn’t fit is it worthwhile playing Chambers as DM along side Partey?
      No place for Odegaard?
      The big question is which Arsenal will turn up? This is not 2007.

      1. guy says:

        I’m with Oz as usual. Dangerous to play Auba. If the poor team turn up we will lose – this is a GOOD, confident team who all the teams they have beaten so far have underestimated. Cant see a 4-1, hoping for any kind of win.

    2. Mogunna says:

      Im with you all the way . Upon this formation, we win….

  3. SueP says:

    Thanks for the interesting facts about the opposition tonight. I certainly remember the Slavia players and would be happy with your 4-1 prediction. A vitally important match and they better be up for it tonight.

  4. McLovin says:

    Off topic, but 2 Arsenal transfer targest were on fire in the past weekend/week:

    Patson Daka scored a 8-minute hattrick for Salzburg, totaling his goal tally to 30 goals in 32 games (+8 assists) this season.

    Emi Buendia scored 1 and assisted another 3 few days ago. He got his 14th MOTM award for that match.

    Apparently Daka has a release clause similar to what Håland had, less than £20 mils. I think we should make him #1 striker target for this summer, ahead of Andre Silva or Edouard. Former Salzburg players have a good track record in bigger leagues (Håland, Mane, Samassekou, Upamecano).

    1. ozziegunner says:

      McLovin, I agree with you, a transfer window where we can get Daka, Buendia, Bissouma and Odegaard (should he want to come and RM agree a reasonable fee) would be fantastic, without breaking the bank, given the players available for sale.

      1. guy says:

        We couldnt get Buendia last season – part price, part loyalty. With both Norwich and Buendia flying now, unfortunately I see zero chance.

    2. Sue says:

      Buendia has been on fire all season!

  5. Wyoming says:

    After 46 games Arsenal are out of the domestic cups and struggling in 9th in the PL yet Arsenal is just 5 games away from Champions League football.
    Something tells me that the overpaid pretenders in our squad will rouse themselves from their season long torpor and surprise us with a big win.
    5-1.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Wyoming, I hope you are right; however in top level sport it is very difficult to turn performances on and off at will, when the off’s are so abject!

  6. Declan says:

    I too am predicting the team S.J has suggested above but I think it will be an extremely difficult game for us tonight. Slavia are a very big, physical side who play quick attacking football and if we get a win tonight it will be very hard fought. If Ceballos plays I will give up on Arteta though and Leno worries me regarding the aerial bombardment he will likely be subjected to.

    1. guy says:

      Totally agree Dec. I’d even go so far as to say on form they should be favourites. Hope I’m wrong but any kind of win is a good result tonight.

  7. S.J says:

    Knowing Arteta a little. I can tell we will not see Martinelli in the starting lineup.

    Whoever he picks will be getting my full support. I just want us to show our quality tonight and give us a good win.

    Progress to the semi-final will be a boost to our morale and confidence.

  8. siamois says:

    I was wondering had their player not been suspended for this game who believes that our players should have been forced to shake his hand?

  9. Shakir says:

    I watched them play against barca.
    And i have to say they are not easy to play against…
    COYG

  10. Dan says:

    Breaks my heart how far we have fallen that we are making out Slavia Praugue in a QFinal as anything else but winnable .
    Does that mean if we win we are going to make o it this is a great result ?
    This is a team with a terrible record at this level

  11. mish says:

    Time for Matt to grace the post

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