Bonjour Mes Amis…
Today is Champions League draw day, and within the next half of the day, we should find out who we have been drawn against in the qualifying round of the Champions League. I’ve been asked a lot of questions in the last few days about the draw and the background of the competition and how the seeding works etc – so I’ll try my best to answer them now!
Why do Arsenal have to qualify for the Champions League?
As we finished fourth last season, we have to play a qualifying match in order to gain entrance to the Champions League “proper”. If we win, we will qualify for the group stage of the competition; if we lose, we will be eliminated from the competition.
When will the ties be played?
The play off round will be a two legged affair. The first leg will be scheduled for either August the 16th or August the 17th with the second leg on a week later, on either August the 23rd or August the 24th. There is no home and away seedings, so we could be at home for the first leg or we could be away.
Who can we face?
There are 20 teams in this round – split into two pots – those who won their league “champions”, predominantly from smaller countries and those who have not won their league, but qualified through their finishing position. We are in the “non-champions” side.
Out of the 10 teams left, 5 are seeded and 5 are not seeded. We, along with 4 other teams are seeded.
We will be drawn against one of the following five teams:
- Rubin Kazan
- FC Zürich
These 5 teams have won their previous qualifying round and are not seeded.
Who else is in our side of the draw?
Along side us, Benefica, Bayern Munich, Lyon and Villareal will make us the other five teams. We cannot play against any of them as they are all seeded. The draws are quite exciting this year and all of the sides who are seeded will be favourites to win their matches.
Who would we prefer to avoid?
Rubin Kazan stand out as a tie we’d like to avoid. Sandwiched between Newcastle, Liverpool and United, the trip to Rubin Kazan would be very taxing – it’s about 4000 miles there and back! In addition, they’re actually quite a decent side – if I am correct, they’ve held their own, especially with their shock win against Barcelona in October 2009 followed up two weeks later by a 0-0 draw.
Who would be our ideal choice?
My choice would be Odense as they are very much the smallest of the teams in the draw – although they shot to fame when they beat Real Madrid in 1995. In reality, they are the 3rd best club in Denmark, and have a small 14,000 seater stadium. Ideal distance and without a doubt, we should be able to be them convincingly.
When and where is the draw?
The draw will be held later today, circa 1300 BST and will be held in Nyon – the draw will be available to watch live on Sky Sports, the BBC and UEFA.com.
Hopefully that’s answered all the questions! I am looking forward to knowing who we have…!
Before I leave you, in other news, Kyle Bartley has rejoined Rangers for a year loan, sparking speculation that we’re on the verge of signing a new centre back – and secondly, young Cescito was back in training yesterday in front of 1000’s of members at member’s day, alongside Arsene, Ivan and Silent Stan – perhaps the owner has come to sort out the Cesc situation once and for all…
Adios for now, I’ll be back around midday!