I love the live draw for the Champions League, more so the knockout rounds, yet the group stage still heralds an air of magic about it.

There is no doubting the glamour and mysticism of this great competition, the annual world cup for club teams.

London get 3 representatives this season, and with the final at Wembley next May…. hmmm !!

Ok this is how it works, Arsenal are at the big boys table, all has to do with coefficients etc, bottom line, we are rated due to our constant appearance in the tournie every year, and reaching finals and semis on a consistent basis helps too.

Along with us, Manure, Chavski, Barcstards, Inter, Bayern, Milan and Lyon will sit in Pot 1.

So basically, eight groups of 4 teams will be headed by each of the above listed teams.

Then we go to Pot 2, which includes decent teams with some pedigree… Real Madrid and Jose find themselves in this pot, and that means, they can be drawn against Arsenal.

Pot 2: Bremen, Real M, Roma, Shaktar, Benfica, Valencia, Marseille, Panathanikos.

Teams from the same country are not allowed to be drawn against each other in either the group stages or the first knockout stage, therefore, Barcstards could not draw Real in the groups, nor Valencia.  Inter or AC could not draw Roma in the groups etc.

Next we move down to the shite teams, the wastrels of the Champions League, the vermin, the cheeky gits who scrap in by the skin of their teeth, the teams that are not much cop, will probably never find themselves in the tournie again, kind of like those pony teams that make the 3rd round of the FA Cup from non-league footy… they aint gonna win jack, it’s all about a day out for them.

Spuds are in said pot, enough said.

Pot 3: Spuds, Rangers, Ajax, Schalke, Basel, Braga, Copenhagen, Spartak.

Pot 4: Hapoel, Twente, Rubin K, Auxerre, Cluj, P Belgrade, Zilina, Buraspor.

Basically pot 3&4 give you cannon fodder to play, home and away… but you would not really want to be travelling to Turkey to play Buraspor, before a weekend game against Chavski… even, Mourinho back at Inter.

So what’s the best case scenario for Arsenal?

I would say, you want a glamour tie, you want to pull the best team from Pot 2, to set up 2 mouth-watering ties… as the top 2 go through, it matters not what the results are as the other 2 teams from the shit pots should be smashed up anyway.

Also, you don’t want the long distance travelling.

Putting all those variants into the play, gives us 2 types of prospective groups for Arsenal, Best case and Worst case.

Best Case:

Arsenal, Real Madrid, Basel, Twente

Worst Case:

Arsenal, Panathanikos, Spartak, Buraspor

Then you always get the stories, the headlines, the reunions of the Champs League, Mourinho back at Chavski? or Ronaldo back at Old Trafford?

Pretty obvious, that the main attraction of this first group stage draw is who Real/Jose will get paired up with from Pot 1, and because of the way the whole system works with teams from same countries not playing each other, and there being plenty of Italian & Spanish teams in both top pots, the mathematicians amongst you will have worked out the very high probability of The Special One coming to a ground near you this Autumn.

Draw is live, on plenty of TV stations in Europe, widely available to you guys worldwide with free streams and will kick-off at 5pm London time today.

Enjoy.

Away and Sailing

February 17, 2010


These Champions League away legs, at the knockout stage, are not about defence.

Porto will keep this game tight, 0-0 aint the worst result for a home side in the 1st leg.  Not conceding the away goal can take a team a long way in this compettion.

The 2nd leg’s are always far more open, goals tend to proliferate them… and both sides usually get on the scoresheet.

Tonight, Gallas is not a huge miss… we want an open game, we want them to think they can get at our defence, thus allowing us to counter strike.

Walcott will play tonight, he must play.

His pace on the break will get us that elusive away goal, the away goal that will help us through to meet Manure in the quarters.

Help from the big guy!

Theo is so due a good game, he has not become the bad player many now believe him to be overnight.

He must be close to full fitness and sharpness following another prolonged injury break… the time is now!

The lad is a serious weapon in our Arsenal.