Champions League Draw
Talking about Fridays, today is the Champions League draw. The draw is at 12noon but only really gets going at 12.30. I’ll try to update the blog around 12.30ish so if you’re receiving the RSS feed on your phone then you’ll get it as soon as, otherwise come back this afternoon to see who we’ve got and what the initial reaction is….
The “Round of 16″ has loads of rules that mean that we couldn’t face another English side, another team from the group stage and a few other rules, but in the Quarter Finals we could get any of the other seven teams. Who will it be? Just a quick reminder of the other teams in the competition:
Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, Shalke, Febernache and AS Roma
Personally, I’d like to have Schalke as I think they’re the weakest, and see Man U against Barcelona, Chelsea against Liverpool and see Febernache against Roma. That draw would hopefully see us through along with Barce, Liverpool and Febernache. I’d then take Febernache, with Liverpool crashing out to Barcelona. That would see us versus Barce in the final and revenge on the cards… we’ll find out shortly if I my dream comes true…
Okay, here’s a recap of the official rules from UEFA.
6.09 The eight winners of the first knockout round contest the quarter-finals. The quarter-final pairings are determined by means of a draw. The quarter-finals are played under the cup (knock-out) system, on a home-and-away basis (two legs). The team which scores the greater aggregate of goals in the two matches qualifies for the semi-finals. Otherwise, the stipulations of Article 7 apply.
Away goals, extra time
7.01 For matches played under the cup (knock-out) system, if the two teams involved in a tie score the same number of goals over the two legs, the team which scores more away goals qualifies for the next stage. If this procedure does not produce a result, i.e. if the two teams score the same number of goals at home and away, extra time of two periods of 15 minutes shall be played at the end of the second leg. If, during extra time, both teams score the same number of goals, away goals count double (i.e. the visiting club qualifies). If no goals are scored during extra time, kicks from the penalty mark (Article 16) determine which club qualifies for the next stage.
Interesting… so the normal rules apply then! There is actually a 3/7 chance of us getting one of our premiership opponents and that’s a 43% chance, or a 57% chance of not getting one. Arsene has been speaking about the draw and if it’s the 57% chance, then we may face trips to Italy, Spain, Germany or Italy.
Let’s see what Arsene had to say…
“You prepare in one sense that you are on alert to know where do you travel because don’t forget that you could go to Turkey as well to England. If it’s England you don’t need to travel too much because we always stay in the same hotels.
“If it is to Turkey, particularly with the time between the draw and the first game being very short, you have to organise that very quickly. Then the scouting department is on alert as well because you have to respond and react very quickly. I play a big part in the organisation and scouting. That’s my department basically, but the people have worked with me for a long time. They know what I want and I trust them to do their job very well and respond very quickly.”
Very true, if it’s Turkey, then there are many logistics that would have to organised, and in under three weeks, that’s no mean feat.
Alex Hleb has also been in the press and something of a feature this season – some tell me, does he have a column or something. I can’t remember hearing much from Alex last season, but this season he’s in the papers every week. He talks about our chances in the Champions League.
“We have got a very good chance this year. We are stronger now than when we reached the final in Paris. Even though we are quite a young team, we do have a lot of collective experience. With our squad, and with the manager we have leading us, we can achieve absolutely anything.”
Arsenal vs Middlesborough Team News
Tomorrow sees us take on Middlesborough at the Emirates in a game that we’ve all been looking forward to. We’re in desperate need of a win after three successive draws in the league and we’re at the Emirates against a team in the bottom half, it’s a must win game. It really is.
With United playing Derby earlier in the day and Chelsea taking on Sunderland, we could be 2nd by the time we take on Middlesborough.
Team news sees Van Persie & Toure return to the starting line up and Theo having a late fitness test. With Rosicky and Diaby still out it will still be an attacking lineup. Initial thoughts are:
It’s exciting to see the line up, as it is literally our strongest line up all season with only combination seeing Rosicky replacing Walcott to make it stronger. I’m really excited about tomorrow’s game. Remember, we owe them one as they’ve been the only team to beat us this season.
We’ll have Mad Jens, Senderos, Gilberto, Song and Bendtner on the bench, which looks a little stronger now. And don’t forget, Diaby and Rosicky will both be back for next week’s game away against Chelsea.
Did you know that Justin Hoyte and Robin Van Persie have started the same number of games, 49? Astonishing, I know, but that fact really highlights VP’s injuries.
Quick News Round Up
Other news in the World of Arsenal, sees Young Guns report on Fran Merida’s experience so far in Spain and Carlos Vela News preview the Real Valladolid vs Osasuna game where Carlos should start in a 4-3-3 formation. Arsenal Youth looks at the under 18′s and their route to winning the Academy League title.
More on the boro game tomorrow and I hope to post an update at around 1pm today in reaction to the Champions League draw…
Have a good Friday…! I think someone has just eaten all the Choccy Biscuits…!!]]>