Apprehensive about Lyon? Make that very apprehensive

By Myles Palmer

Arsenal have just kept five consecutive clean sheets against Leicester, QPR, Bradford, Coventry and Ipswich.

So why am I worried about Lyon?

Because Stepanovs is ineligible and Edu is unfit

I hoped the Brazilian playmaker might be partnering Vieira by now, but that exciting prospect has receded into a misty, murky future.

Maybe it would have been wrong to ask Bergkamp to play two matches in four days and travel there and back by road.

If Arsenal beat Lyon, and Bergkamp has a blinder against Chelsea, then Arsene Wenger is a genius.

If they lose in Lyon and only draw with Chelsea people might say he should have played Dennis in France.

Does Wenger think Chelsea is a more important game?

Probably, because Arsenal can win the FA Cup but they cannot win the Champions League.

That is why he may not even start Thierry Henry in Lyon. He might go with Kanu and Wiltord.

When the draw was made I asked Philippe, my French reporter pal, about Lyon. He said Arsenal would win both matches. Since then Lyon have won all their games and scored three goals in most of them.

So I asked him again at the Ipswich game.He is still adamant that Lyon are fragile and that they cannot withstand the high-speed attacking of Arsenal.

Philippe is a bright guy and a nice guy and I have promised to send him some e-mails while he is snowboarding with his son next week. And if Lyon beat Arsenal I may send him this piece.

Having seen only highlights of Lyon it is hard to say how good they are or how mentally tough they are.

Personally, I do not rate Sonny Anderson. I was sure he would not make it at Barcelona and I was right about that. Too lightweight.

But late developer Steve Marlet is younger, braver, a danger man.They have several very good players, especially the in-form Vikash Dhorasso.

Anchorman Marc-Vivien Foe is nothing special, but Edmilson is a masterful Brazilian centreback, a class act and a defender Wenger tried hard to sign.

I fancy Lauren to score. Hope we don’t lose 2-1.

12th February 2001.