FK Partizan coach Aleksandar Stanojević acknowledged there is "a gulf" between his side and Arsenal FC, but Arsène Wenger has a host of injury problems to contend with in Belgrade.
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FK Partizan are aiming to close what their coach, Aleksandar Stanojević, describes as "the gulf" between themselves and an Arsenal FC side who must bounce back quickly from their first defeat of the season on Saturday. Stanojević is aiming to put into practice his plan to nullify the attacking threat of visitors who have a host of injury problems.
Aleksandar Stanojević, Partizan coach
I have an idea how to nullify Arsenal but I'm well aware there is a gulf between the sides and I ask our fans that, whatever the outcome, to please stay positive. I've tried to relax the players while training their focus. Above all I need them to be brave and – what is for me, a young coach, the key – they must stay proud.
I told them, 'You are the ones that won the league and it is because of you that we are now in the Champions League. You have every right to be here'. Partizan have nothing to lose, only lots to gain. We have to try to win, but we have to be realistic: Arsenal are going to dictate the game. We can only try to mess it up for them.
Arsène Wenger, Arsenal coach
We can learn from Saturday's defeat, even if it was disappointing. The two most important things are that the players are very experienced and motivated. I expect a passionate game. Partizan are an intelligent team with good technique and if you give them space they can be very dangerous. Their two strikers are dangerous. I will study them more tonight. A draw against that sort of side is not such a bad result.
I don't think injuries are excuses for playing badly, and I think we will play well here. After all we have 20 great players. We missed Jack Wilshere on Saturday but we didn't play badly. I have confidence in all my players, and we can play better than on Saturday.
Right-back Aleksandar Miljković has been ruled out of the Arsenal game after picking up an ankle injury in training. Captain Mladen Krstajić broke his nose against FK Rad on 11 September and has been wearing a protective mask.
Abou Diaby did not travel due to an ankle knock while Manuel Almunia misses out due to an elbow injury. Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles), Nicklas Bendtner (groin), Cesc Fàbregas (hamstring), Kieran Gibbs (foot), Robin van Persie (ankle), Theo Walcott (ankle), Aaron Ramsey (broken leg) and Emmanuel Frimpong (cruciate) are all absent.
24/09/10 Partizan 0-0 FK Spartak Zlatibor Voda
With Krstajić, Marko Jovanović and Radosav Petrović rested, Partizan's 12-match winning run in the league since Stanojević took the reins in April ended in Belgrade.
25/09/10 Arsenal 2-3 West Bromwich Albion FC
(Nasri 75, 90+1; Odemwingie 50, Jara 52, Thomas 73)
Arsenal's seven-match unbeaten start to the season was ended by West Brom, who also had a first-half penalty saved. The Gunners conceded three goals at home for the first time since a 3-1 loss to Manchester United FC on 31 January.
Did you know?
Arsenal have lost their last three UEFA Champions League away games, going down 4-1 at FC Barcelona in last season's quarter-final second leg, 2-1 at FC Porto in the round of 16 and 1-0 at Olympiacos FC on Matchday 6 with qualification already assured. Their two previous away fixtures in the group brought a 1-1 draw at AZ Alkmaar and 3-2 win at R. Standard de Liège. Not including qualifying rounds, Wenger's side have won only two of their last ten away matches in the competition.
For more information see the match background.