By Giuseppe Muro
Arsenal will qualify for the Knockout Stages of the Champions League with two Group H games to spare if they beat Shakhtar in Donetsk tonight.
After a comprehensive 5-1 win at Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago the Gunners will be confident of getting a victory in what promises to be a hot atmosphere in Donetsk. But how will Mircea Lucescu’s side respond after their collapse a fortnight ago?
We spoke to Olexander Denysov, presenter of Ukrainian TV show ‘Football Weekend’, to get a Shakhtar perspective on tonight’s game.
A POINT TO PROVE
Everybody was really surprised because it is hard to remember the last time Shakhtar played [the way they did at Emirates Stadium]. I don’t know what happened with them. Their main players Dario Srna and the goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov made bad mistakes. It was a surprise because Pyatov is the first choice for Ukraine and Srna is the Croatian captain so I don’t know what happened with these guys. They have huge experience but two mistakes broke the whole game and I think they have something to prove now.
The capacity is around 55,000 and it is a five-star stadium. It’s an elite stadium with all kinds of new stuff inside. When they built the stadium they kept in mind that they have to keep it modern for the next ten years. It’s like an English stadium because it is always magnificent inside and there is a really fantastic atmosphere.
MAN OF THE MOMENT
All the Ukrainian fans are waiting for an Eduardo goal because they would like to stand up and applaud him like Arsenal fans did two weeks ago. I think for sure he will play and he promised the Ukrainian fans that he will score a goal in the second game and make them happy.
IMPRESSIONS OF ARSENAL
In my opinion Arsenal are now playing as they did ten years ago with the fantastic team like Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira. It will be really hard for Shakhtar but when they play at home it is like when Celtic play at home, the fans can give them something more. That’s why I hope it could be a 2-1 win for Shakhtar but I think everyone will be happy with a draw.
They had a really hard match at the weekend away against FC Dnipro who are a very good team managed by Juande Ramos. Maybe they will change some of the players but mostly it’s going to be the same team that played at Emirates. It’s going to be a full stadium tonight and Shakhtar always play really aggressively at home. They made mistakes at Emirates Stadium and now they have to play much better.