Ronald Koeman knows AZ Alkmaar could find themselves "in deep trouble" if they allow Arsenal FC to dictate the pace, but has seen enough chinks in the Gunners' armoury to retain hope of victory.
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Ronald Koeman knows AZ Alkmaar could find themselves "in deep trouble" if they allow Arsenal FC to dictate the pace of their Group H contest on Tuesday, but has seen enough chinks in the Gunners' armoury to give the Dutch champions hope of securing the home victory they need to ignite their European campaign. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, meanwhile, believes his improving team, who have won seven games in a row and lead the section with six points from two games, are showing good enough form to suggest they can end their trophy drought this season.
Ronald Koeman, AZ coach
Maybe for us it will be easier to play against such a good team. We all know football can be a funny game, in which anything is possible. It starts with belief, then we all have to be at the top of our game and they must not be. If we let them play their football then we will be in deep trouble, so this is where our task lies. We have to be well organised, but also have to be good individually, and be very sharp in covering their top players. But they also have their weaknesses. I saw Arsenal live against Blackburn, and Blackburn had four chances to score. Maybe Arsenal had 14, but still ... They are a joy to watch, but they also suffer defeats every now and then in the league and Champions League.
Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
We have a good team with a good attitude. Every player in the team can score, and in the Champions League you have to score from every opportunity you get. I think this team has a big future. We've improved but haven't won anything yet – we will try to change that this season. AZ have more of a balanced team than Standard de Liège, and are better on the ball, but it is never easy to beat a team in the Champions League. It's never easy to beat a Dutch team either, but tomorrow is a good opportunity to do that.
17/10/09 FC Twente 3-2 AZ
(Perez 36, Ruiz 61, Nkufo 90; El Hamdaoui 57, Wisgerhof 60og)
• AZ have lost five of their last eight matches in all competitions, winning only two.
• Despite scoring twice at Twente, AZ have managed just four goals in their last six matches in league and UEFA Champions League.
17/10/09 Arsenal 3-1 Birmingham City FC
(Van Persie 16, Diaby 18, Arshavin 84; Bowyer 38)
• Arsenal are the Premier League's top scorers with 27 goals in eight matches. Their seven-game total of 24 goals represented their most productive start to a campaign since 1958, although ten goals conceded at the same stage is their most porous Premier League season to date.
• Arsenal have managed 22 shots on target to date in the UEFA Champions League, more than any other team.
Misses next match if booked: none
Out: Theo Walcott (knee), Tomáš Rosický (knee), Nicklas Bendtner (groin), Denílson (back), Eduardo da Silva (thigh), Łukasz Fabiański (knee), Johan Djourou (knee)
Doubtful: Gaël Clichy (ankle)
Misses next match if booked: none
• The teams have not met before in an official fixture but Arsenal were the first visitors to the DS-Stadium on 4 August 2006. Gilberto scored the first goal at AZ's new home and further strikes from Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie's penalty earned the Gunners a 3-0 friendly victory.
• AZ have lost just once in 34 home games in UEFA club competition, stretching back to September 1977. Everton FC ended the run on 20 December 2007, by which time AZ had left Alkmaarderhout for their current home.
Did you know?
Arsenal's Jack Wilshere is the youngest player to appear in the UEFA Champions League this season, coming on as a substitute against R. Standard de Liège on Matchday 1 aged 17 years 8 months and 15 days.