By Chris Harris
It's easy to forget that Arsenal had a real fight on their hands in Prague two weeks ago.
With 20 minutes remaining the tie was hanging in the balance with Sparta giving as good as they got. Two late goals from Cesc Fabregas and Alex Hleb transformed the complexion of the match and knocked the wind out of Sparta's sails.
If you believe the bookmakers, Arsenal are now overwhelming favourites to reach the group stages of the Champions League. Not that Arsène Wenger's side will take anything for granted. Sparta have improved markedly since losing twice to Arsenal in this competition two years ago and, if they score first at Emirates Stadium, Arsenal's progress will be anything but a formality.
Karel Haring of Deniksport was in Prague for the first leg and has travelled to England for Wednesday night's clash. Here he gives his verdict on Arsenal's 2-0 win, their most impressive performers, the injury to Tomas Repka and more.
Karel, what did you make of the first leg in Prague?
I wasn't surprised by the result because I expected that type of game. It was similar to seven years ago when Arsenal punished Sparta on the break and won 1-0.
Who impressed you in the Arsenal side?
I would say Cesc Fabregas played a very good game even though he wasn't so popular with the Sparta Prague fans because of his foul on Tomas Repka. But he is a very good player. Bacary Sagna also played a very good game. I was a little bit disappointed with the performance of Tomas Rosicky, perhaps it was too difficult for him to play against his former club.
How much did Sparta miss Tomas Repka after he limped off?
It was one of the key factors in the game because he is the leader for Sparta and has the respect of opponents too. He was a big loss for Sparta.
There are reports that Repka is looking for 'revenge' on Fabregas. Is that true?
No, that is not true. We spoke to Tomas at the airport in Prague and he said that it was not his way of playing to seek revenge on opponents. He wouldn't want to do that.
Is there any realistic chance of Sparta going through?
Of course, the players will repeat in their answers that they have a very small hope of getting the result they want. It would be a miracle though. I think they say this because it is expected of them in public. In private they know it is not realistic for them to go through.
Do Sparta have any key players missing on Wednesday night?
I think Sparta will be at full strength because Horvath and Repka travelled with the team. Horvath was going to have surgery today but he decided to postpone it and can now play against Arsenal. Repka is likely to play also.
What is your opinion of Emirates Stadium?
It will be my third visit to Emirates Stadium. I was there for the opening match last August and I was very impressed by the atmosphere and the stadium. I liked Highbury also, this is a different kind of stadium but I like it too. I love the atmosphere at English stadiums because every match is an event, every match is a big celebration.Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 28 Aug 2007