Whilst he is familiar with the French terrain, he’ll be equally as unfamiliar with his position – the Arsenal manager will watch the game from the stands as his new deputy Steve Bould takes the reigns in the dugout.
The Arsenal manager will be serving his first of a three-match ban from UEFA for his criticism of the referee in Arsenal’s last Champion’s League fixture, a double-leg defeat again AC Milan.
"I'd prefer to be on the touchline, it's where I feel most comfortable," said the Arsenal manager, who embarks on his 15th successive season in the Champion’s League with Arsenal.
“I'm frustrated but I don't think it would be an excuse for a bad result.”
The Arsenal manager will have some tough decisions to make – most notably about whether to play new signing Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman returns in the squad tonight to his old club, where he was the Ligue 1 top-scorer last season.
The Frenchman is understandably desperate to play but having yet to score for the Gunners, was left on the bench for most of Saturday’s 6-1 victory at the Emirates over Southampton.
Giroud faces strong competition for his place tonight. The Arsenal manager has left contract rebel Theo Walcott on the bench for most of his team’s games this season. The winger is out of contract next summer and has yet to sign a new one, leaving fans to speculate that his place at the club is untenable.
Still, the Arsenal manager has faith in his number two: “I'll leave it to Steve Bould, who's very experienced.” The former Arsenal defender took over from the retired Pat Rice and has, in a short period of time, re-invented the Arsenal defence. The Gunner have conceded only one goal in four games – the lowest tally so far in the Premier League.
image: © Matt and Kim Rudge