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.

The bookies make the Portugeezer a pretty safe bet to manage the Spanish giants next season.

City are 4/1 to be managed by him, Liverpool 7/2.

Real Madrid, consisting of the all the current Galacticos, and more to be signed this Summer, must surely be a very attractive proposition for Mourinho.

However, I see him back in the Premiership next season.

His overriding reason to leave Italy is owing to the national hatred felt for him… I thought the Spanish hated him aswell?

The man courts attention and love, and he gets both from the Media and many football fans in England.

Would I want him to manage Arsenal (best priced 12/1), not in a million years.

Mourinho is great T.V, great for Media, but a trouble maker of the highest level possible.

He was handed a great team assembled by Claudio Ranieri, the man who is trumping him to the Serie A title this season with A S Roma, and moved to manage Inter following 3 titles they won under Roberto Mancini.

Tinker and the Pikey

I am not doubting he is an exceptional manager, but I would dearly love to see him take over at say Liverpool, and show us if he has the capabilities to build a team, as opposed to taking over a great team and slightly tweaking them.

If City can sneak the last Champions League spot, I shall be wagering my pounds on him taking over at Eastlands from Season 2010/2011.

There is nothing to be gained from managing Real Madrid, the rough and tumble of the Premiership is perfectly suited to the style of football his teams operate under.

If Liverpool somehow quickly sort out a new Billionaire in the coming weeks, that would be the option he would prefer… and then we would get to see how good he really is at building a winning side from scratch.

At City he would have a nucleus to work with, CL football, and plenty of money…  but no prestige.

At Liverpool he would have plenty of prestige to restore, certainly no CL for a season, and maybe plenty of cash to spend.

I look forward to his return with interest.



On a Wing and Prayer

February 24, 2009


Life is not great at the minute for Gooners, the league table tells us Manchester United are 17pts better than us with around 10 games left to play in the Premiership.  The league is a foregone conclusion, although Wenger disagrees.

“It’s not yet over because none of the teams are really convincing with the way they play,” said the Frenchman.

“Mathematically it is not over and I feel Man United could have dropped points easily against Blackburn on Saturday.

“For me no-one is dominating this championship in the way they play.”

Manchester United are a much better squad than Arsenal at present.  A fully fit first 11 would yield another winner.

Wing Wonder?

Wing Wonder?

So, tonight brings an opportunity for some relief from our stuttering league campaign in the shape of a 2nd Round tie, in the Champions League against the Italian side, Roma.

Team selection is vital, we do not currently have a best 11 to play week in week, due to injuries.  Fabregras has clearly been missed, but I also think the biggest miss has been pace on the break.

Walcott has been a huge miss!

In Carlos Vela, our young Mexican wonderkid, we have a player very similar to Walcott in that they can both play as out and out wingers and also as centre forwards.  Vela is also deceptively pacey and has a better touch than Walcott.

He is a player of immense talent, and has to be played from the off tonight at the Emirates.  He showed last week, against Cardiff City, his pace and trickery is a big advantage to the way this Arsenal team can break from defence to attack in 2 passes.

Eduardo’s first goal was majestically set up for him by some clever wing play from the Mexcian.  He could do the same tonight with a booming home crowd roaring on the players, Bendter being the main striker to take advantage of delieveries into the box.

I expect a win tonight, with Bendter scoring the match winner.