By 1970’s Gooner
Last season, Sparta became the first club to record a league and cup double in the Czech Republic since the country split from Slovakia in 1993.
For the first two games of the current season Sparta have one win against Slovan Liberec FC with striker Libor Došek scoring the only goal of the game. A goalless draw against Viktoria Plzen was the result of their second game.
In Tomas Repka, now 33, they have a captain who is accustomed to London, having played for West Ham United for five seasons.
The defender’s 12 yellow cards last season reflect his reputation in England, where he was sent off twice in his first three appearances in the top flight. He has not featured for the first two matches of the league campaign due to suspension, but will be back for this one.
Their creative and inspirational player is Pavel Horváth in midfield. He has not played in the last game which may mean he was rested for the Arsenal encounter.
Tomas Postulka, the Sparta goalkeeper, believes that Arsenal will be an easier proposition than they would have been last season.
“Arsenal are totally different to before,” he said. “Henry and Ljungberg have left and there are young players.
The Sparta manager Michal Bilic speaking to Czech internet paper “Sportonoviny” has identified the quartet of Fabregas, Hleb, Van Persie and Rosický as the players to look for.
The key, he implied, is not to allow space to the Arsenal players especially old boy Rosicky.
Rosicky started playing for the club at the age of eight so it will be an emotional return for him.
He won three league titles and the Czech Player of the Year award while he was there.
"It will be strange to go back, but I'd rather have played them in the group stage," said Rosicky.
"My brother played for Sparta Prague and my father played for Sparta Prague so it is a bit emotional".
Let’s hope that his performance is not affected.
Other outstanding former Sparta players include among others Petr Čech of Chelsea, Karel Poborský ex Manchester United, Pavel Nedvěd of Juventus and Jan Koller of Monaco.
AC Sparta Praha Fact File
Full name: AC Sparta Praha fotbal, a.s.
Nickname : Železná Sparta(Iron Sparta)
Founded : November 16, 1893
Ground : Toyota Arena, Prague
Capacity : 20,111
Chairman : Jozef Chovanec
Manager : Michal Bílek
League : Gambrinus Liga
2006-07 Gambrinus Liga, 1st
Ed: Part II which will deal with Arsenal will follow on match day.
Neither club nor family can confirm that Wilson Palacios is training with Arsenal