Champions League ahoy

With a solid, if squeaky goalwise, win over Steaua Bucharest in a dead rubber game, the Gunners got rid of the blip on the PL radar. Much ado over the draw and loss in the Northeast, but all teams have suffered worse against lower table opposition. The absence of our striker and three-fourths of the midfield didn’t help. Too many Gooners calling for Pro Evo style reshuffles – I’d say, shut up and get behind your team. This is where I admire Mancs – they arrogantly shrug off any blips and insist on their superiority no matter what.

CL-wise, we’ll be drawing opposition of the likes of Real Madrid, Barca, and much worse because of our runners-up position in Group H. Not that Wenger is worried – he points out that we were sunk by PSV Eindhoven last year after topping the group, but sunk Real Madrid and Juve to reach the finals in ’06. Cup games tend to be unpredictable, so even finishing top in Group H would not have been a guarantee of getting past the group of sixteen. Besides, the Arse tend to be at their best when facing top-quality opposition, and playing their peers or betters. Poorer teams tend to try stifling Arsenal’s game – but top teams try to play the game and let the Arse play it as well. I say, bring on Barca – knocking them out in the CL would be sweet revenge. An Arsenal-Barca finals matchup would be heaven, but let’s see how it plays. Draw on the 23rd of December. Let the dice roll.