So, there we have it, our arch enemy – ye olde enemy – have somehow mangled their way into the Champions League Proper… mainly through a lot of luck, a lot of fortune, and a Jermain Defoe handball. When Young Boys were 3-0 ahead over in Switzerland, I had some high hopes, but luckily for Sp*rs, their opposition were even less experienced in European competition than them. For Sp*rs, it’s another “we’ve won the World Cup” moments, expected a DVD out very soon.
Anyway, time to focus on Arsenal and focus on Arsenal we shall. Later today is the Champions League Draw and we’ll see who we’ll get in the group stages. The four pots have been drawn and are:
Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd, Barcelona, Inter, AC Milan, Lyon, Bayern
Werder Bremen, Real Madrid, Roma, Shakhtar Donetsk, Benfica, Valencia, Marseille, Panathinaikos
Tottenham, Rangers, Ajax, Schalke, Basel, Sporting Braga, Kobnhavn, Spartak Moscow
Hapoel Tel Aviv, Twente Enschede, Rubin Kazan, CFR Cluj, Partizan Belgrade, Bursaspor, MSK Zilina, Auxerre
As I do every year, I’ll take a look at the possibilities of what would be our hardest draw and what would be our easiest draw and then of course, we’ll see what we get tomorrow. In Pot Two, the big team that we’ll all want to avoid is Real Madrid, with a hell of a lot of new signings and a good base to start off with and of course, Jose Mourinho in charge, you’ll want to get them in the semi’s rather than the group stage. Out of the rest, the easiest ne is probably Werder Bremen or Benfica, so I’d take either of them… but would prefer a Werder Bremen side lacking the spark of Mezut Ozil…
In Pot Three, due to the nations rule, we can’t get Sp*rs, so the hardest out of the group is probably Schalke – they finished second in the Bundesliga and have a good group of players. Ajax are also a tough team, and I’d expect them to be more disciplined in the group stages, and they’ve got enough talent to give anyone a run for their money. The weakest in the group is probably Kobnhavn, since I’ve never heard of them or watched them play, so if the Gods do look favourably on us, we’ll draw the CL newcomers.
Pot Four is much a do about nothing, with Twente and Auxerre standing out above the rest, but pretty much the whole pot are a group of weak teams. I wouldn’t mind a Buraspor or a MSK Zilina, no disrespect to those teams, but a club of the size and quality of Arsenal, you’d expect us to beat them…
Hope we don’t get it draw:
The draw kicks off at 1700 (UK time) and will be live on the UEFA site and all the normal twitter, facebook and web channels that we all love… There will be a bit of pre-amble first, as always, so expect news nearer 1730 or 1800…
And finally… rumours regarding the announcement of the Squillaci signing is that the new defender will be announced on Friday alongside Schwarzer, but other rumours suggest some very small contractual issues, nothing to do with wages or Arsenal, just a few random things… but he has pretty much signed and will most likely wear the number 18 shirt this season…
More tomorrow my friends, more tomorrow…