Later today is the big draw – the Champions League draw… the draw for the next round of the competition. Huge, isn’t it? And all eye will be on who we draw… as we’re the biggest team to finish second and with 3 English teams and our group winners finishing top, we’re limited to 4 opponents.
I knew we’d get Barcelona.
Oops, I should say that yet should I? But it is a very likely outcome – we have four teams we could draw – Bayern Munich, Schalke, Barcelona or Real Madrid. All the teams are worthy opponents, for sure, but if there were to be a weakest team, you’d have to say it was Schalke, right?
“It doesn’t matter who I want because even if I say we want Barcelona you will not believe me. I hope we get who I feel we will get.”
That quote was from Arsene, not me.
Damn, we got Barcelona
When Barce played Real Madrid in La Liga, it was a comfortable 5-0 victory for the league champions – and if you watched that game, it was football at it’s best – the game from Barce was beautiful, they closed down well, everyone did, not just a DM, but everyone in the whole team closed down – well, very well. When in possession, they were calm, controlled and penetrative.
Arsene said after that game:
“It was some of the best football I’ve ever seen. They played outstandingly well for 90 minutes. What was surprising was that they had no weak moment in that game. Their determination and focus for 90 minutes was spot-on and the quality was unbelievable. When you see a performance like that, you are encouraged to get to that level. It is good that teams show you how well you can play football. It was the best performance of the season in European football. On a night, anything can happen. You can have a weak game when you are not completely at your best, and Barcelona turn up. It happened to us last season in the first 30 minutes [of the first leg].”
We don’t want Barcelona
We definitely don’t want Barcelona – beating them over one leg is possible, but over two is hard – yes they have been beaten before, but we don’t play like the team that have beaten them – we play like them, like Real Madrid did, we would be too open and perhaps get battered too. I’m not being negative, don’t get me wrong, I’m being realistic.
The draw for the first knockout round takes place at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland today at 11am.
The first leg of the next Champions League tie will take place at Emirates Stadium on February 15, 16, 22 or 23. The second leg, which will be away, will take place on March 8, 9, 15 or 16.
Here’s a video of Wayne Rooney taking out Chamakh off the ball:
Nasty individual isn’t he?