Bring on the Milans, Barca and Madrids, Please.

Some would think it kamikaze to sit and hope for everyone but Porto in tonight’s UEFA Champions League draw, but here we are. With Inter Milan, AC Milan, Barcalona, Real Madrid and Porto to choose from, I am firmly of the opinion that anyone but Porto will be both a grand spectacle and a winnable fixture for The Arsenal.

-{Real Madrid and the two Milans would prove so many points to the deluded victims of shirt sales…}-

With tonight’s draw (viewable here) taking place at 1:30pm GMT, many have cited our coming second as a ‘failure’ in avoiding the easier draw tonight. Teams like Manchester United and Chelsea are listed as favourites for whatever fixture they come across – but you can be sure that all the other non-english seeded teams will be hoping to high heaven to avoid the Gunners and Liverpool.

If I were to preference what team I would want to face, there is no real differentiation. Real Madrid and the two Milans would prove so many points to the deluded victims of shirt sales, while Barca would be an elemental match. Frankly, I just want to avoid Porto at all costs – the idea of playing at their home ground in the second leg is not my idea of a ‘swell time’.

Of course, all will be revealed later in the day. In Premier League news, Theo Walcott is reportedly the only injury-doubt going into Saturday’s match against Spurs. The official site says that Eboue is actually not a concern at all, something pointed out by Arsenal Analysis as something rather odd.

-{In a one-off match, anything can happen – but Spurs really do have their work cut out for them on Saturday.}-

In short, we’re virtually at full strength, with a week’s rest having played the second string in the Carling Cup, and Tottenham exerting themselves to reach the Semi’s. Not one to believe in foregone conclusions or anything, but the outcome is hinting in our favour. Tottenham’s troubles are building up with their criminally injury-prone captain, Ledley King (what a player he actually would be were it not for injuries) coming up short in a reserves game. In a one-off match, anything can happen – but Spurs really do have their work cut out for them on Saturday. Fingers crossed nothing shabby happens to us in the process.

On the Derby, Robin van Persie has spoken about how big it is for players and fans alike, but says for a title-chasing team, every game is a big one. van Persie says:

It means so much to these people, whether they are at the training ground, or when I am out shopping – it doesn’t matter where, everyone speaks about this game. It means a lot.

But there are big games every week – last weekend it was Chelsea and we were very happy because we played well. Spurs is massive but we have to win every game in the Premier League, not just against Spurs, if we want to be champions.

The match itself should be a bouyant one – Spurs are coming good in the form books, though injuries are doing them no favours whatsoever. Arsenal, having found their way out of their rough away patch, have wins over Chelsea and Steaua to make them happy while sifting through their rather clean bill of health. Makes a refreshing change to have little injuries to speak of. A nice history of the North London Derby can be read up here.

And that’s all for now. Remember to keep an eye on the draw tonight – there are some tasty fixtures awaiting us – this is no time to be afraid of some overhyped names. Tottenham preview and Champions League draw review tomorrow.

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7 Comments

Filed under Arsenal, Blogging, Champions League, English Premier League, Tottenham

7 responses to “Bring on the Milans, Barca and Madrids, Please.

  1. Casicky

    first gunn..

    um jus hoping the players have their heads focused on a win and not jus thinkin of coasting thru the game becoz spuds have revenge on their minds so they will be up for it

    We Gunner Gunn Em…

  2. jammathon

    The players are aware of Tottenham’s form. There’s no need to worry about preperation – Wenger and his team will realise the task even more than the fans will.

  3. Ryan

    I still don’t get why you’re so worried about playing away to Porto.

    I can see that if you want Arsenal to prove a point then it’s best vs the biggest teams, but Porto are by far the weakest team there so I’m not so sure of what is to be scared of there. I watched the Liverpool game away in Porto and the home side were pretty poor if I’m honest. They had real difficulty breaking down a Liverpool team which were pretty shit themselves on the night. Not to mention the last times Arsenal played them (in friendlies and the CL) I don’t recall them having any particular trouble at all.

    I think it is very dangerous to be drawn against the top teams, but not because we can’t beat them. Consider it this way, if we have a couple of important players out and/or just have a bad game you can pretty much consider us out of the competition against the harder teams there (AC, Real, Barca). At least against the weaker teams there’s a tiny bit more room for error without such a huge cost. We can’t assume that Arsenal will be at their best in the coming CL games and it’s only reasonable to hope for the easiest tie (Porto followed by Inter).

  4. Ryan

    Actually last year’s CL campaign sums it up perfectly. We couldn’t even beat PSV over two legs because of two bad games, but with better luck we might have snatched it.

    If we played that way vs someone like AC last year it could have been embarrassing.

  5. osk

    I’ll take any of the Milano teams. Very slow and old. We’ll outrun and outplay them over 2 legs

  6. jammathon

    Ryan – ignore the fact that, had we played Milan, we would at least have raised our game? Not necessarily won, but there’s no way it would have been an embarrassment.

    PSV was an embarrassment. Porto can box clever at their own home. The only genuinely difficult fixture out of the big names is Barca – Inter, Milan and Real Madrid are fat chickens ready to be laid on a table.

  7. Ryan

    I have a lot of confidence that we certainly can beat any team. I think the Milans are certainly not worthy of being that scared of this season and I accept we might have raised our game against AC last year. But the fact is last year AC were excellent in the knockout stages and as you said PSV was embarrassing. Yes quite possibly we may have played way better against opposition which we genuinely believed could really beat us (like when we beat Real and Juve in the final run) but it’s a gamble to assume that we would raise our game. It’s a game of chance and it’s tempting fate to hope for a harder draw, even if it could potentially do us some good. Like I said you can’t forget the possibility of injuries too. A full strength Real vs an Arsenal missing RvP, Toure and Hleb and suddenly the tie looks considerably more difficult even if still very possible. Whereas against Porto and Inter (and maybe AC to be fair) I don’t think that would concern me quite so much.

    I think everyone can agree that it doesn’t matter who we draw so long as the lads play as well as they can. If they do that we’ll beat anyone, so let’s just pray that for the sake of the fear factor we’ll draw Barca and dump them out in style and scare the shit out off our rivals. I just pray we don’t fuck up again like vs PSV. That one really hurt.