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Opportunity knocks for Dynamo

Published: Monday 20 October 2003, 21.00CET
FC Dynamo Kiev could open up a five-point gap on Arsenal FC if they beat the Premiership leaders.
Published: Monday 20 October 2003, 21.00CET

Opportunity knocks for Dynamo

FC Dynamo Kiev could open up a five-point gap on Arsenal FC if they beat the Premiership leaders.

FC Dynamo Kyiv know they could be sitting pretty in UEFA Champions League Group B if they can secure a home win against Arsenal FC on Tuesday. Victory for Dynamo could move give them a five-point cushion in second place with three games to go, provided Internazionale FC also win at FC Lokomotiv Moskva.

Strong position
Either way, the Ukrainians' Matchday 1 victory against Lokomotiv has left them in a strong position to progress beyond the group stage for the first time in four seasons and emulate their run of 1998/99, when they beat Arsenal 3-1 in Kiev before progressing to the semi-finals.

'We can win'
Nonetheless, Dynamo coach Olexiy Mykhailychenko acknowledges that Arsenal, top of the English Premiership after Saturday's 2-1 win against Chelsea FC, will be a tough proposition. "We started preparing for this fixture immediately after [Friday's] league game with [FC] Illychivets Mariupil," said Mykhailychenko, who was present at Saturday's match at Highbury. "We will play in our usual manner - if we can play our game, then we can win."

Group picture
Although victory would open up a gap on Arsenal, Mykhailychenko warned: "I don't think, that even if Arsenal lose tomorrow, they will be out of the fight for the top two places." Despite Mykhailychenko's words, his Arsenal counterpart, Arsène Wenger, knows defeat could dent seriously his side's prospects.

'We must get something'
"This is a game we must get something out of," said the Frenchman. "We will know the result of Inter's game against Lokomotiv before we kick off so we might know what our outcome has to be. If Inter win, then they will have qualified so there is only one spot left. Then it's forbidden for us to lose against Kiev as they'd have six points and it wouldn't be in our hands any more."

Vieira dilemma
Mykhailychenko hopes both striker Diogo Rincón - scorer of two goals in two games so far - and midfield player Georgi Peev will have recovered from injuries in time to play, but he is without Romanian international Florin Cernat. Wenger, meanwhile, faces the dilemma of whether or not to start with captain, Patrick Vieira. Arsenal, who declined the offer to train at the Olympiyski stadium on the eve of the game, may also be without Fredrik Ljungberg due to an ankle problem, while defender Martin Keown is definitely out.

'Patrick is very important'
"I am tempted right now to start him but I haven't made up my mind yet," said Wenger. "Patrick and Freddie [Ljungberg] haven't played for a long time and to play both of them is almost a guarantee that we will have to substitute the two of them during the game. But Patrick is very important as he's not frightened to get the ball down and play it, he gives us a lot of possession and he has a lot of experience of big games."

Last updated: 20/10/03 22.10CET

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