The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Champions League Draw

A few thoughts on a few groups:

Arsenal-AZ Alkmaar-Olympiakos-Standard Liege

Among the weakest of all possible groups for Arsenal here-even the travel won’t be too bad, and Olympiakos and Liege both simply aren’t serious competition at this level. Alkmaar may be Dutch champions, but that means less now than ever before and the year before that they finished 11th; this will be their first ever CL competition. Frankly, Arsenal couldn’t have done much better and will probably romp through this group so easily that they’ll be resting players and sending urchins like Wilshere and Ramsey out before long. That could mean a great deal given the restricted squad size and perpetual injury issues at Arsenal- and there’s a chance that if the board recognize this for the near-guarantee of making the knockout stages that it is, that there may be more willingness to spend and address those issues.

Munich-Juventus-Bordeaux-Maccabi Haifa

I have watched enough Munich this season to say with comfort that they are by no means guaranteed passage out of this one. Their defense is utterly shabby for such a big-name club, Rensing in goal is the German David James (on his better days), and this latest version has already shown a worrying ability to perform not just down to but below the level of their opposition with a loss to newly-promoted Mainz. Basically, for a regional behemoth, they kinda suck- and if they’re the major scalp taken at this stage I won’t be shocked at all given the quality of the theoretical #3 team here.

Sevilla-Stuttgart-Rangers-Uniera Urziceni

But really though- how long has it been since one of the groups was THIS crap? Sevilla are pretty decent but could easily have come third in several other groups, Stuttgart…they’re just not that good at this level. Like not at all, and they’re now without former go-to forward Mario Gomez. Rangers are useless in the CL and largely always have been. Urinary University or whoever that is from Romania are just another unknown Romanian side like the FC Trimspa crew Stuttgart beat to get here. They’ll try to pick someone off in their creepy vampire-haunted home grounds and lose everywhere else. Frankly it’s a bit shocking that two teams are going to come out of this group, and all that really does is ensure that a couple of major clubs will get a bit lucky in the next round as well.

VfL Wolfsburg-Manchester United-CSKA Moscow-Besiktas

United SHOULD get through here pretty easily…but. Wolfsburg actually are a VERY good side with a solid defense, fine goalkeeping and a multi-faceted and skilled attack which I suspect can be effective against just about anyone. There’s a lot of travel and some tough away fixtures here for United, and early in the season their attack doesn’t look to have entirely figured out how to thrive without Ronaldo and Tevez. If a few bounces go against them away and they can’t break down a few defenses at home, there’s an outside chance of a shock here.

Barcelona-Inter-Dynamo Kiev-FC Rubin Kazan

Only two teams can go through here, but the games between them should be a great deal of fun.

Milan-Madrid-Marseilles-FC Zurich

Same as the above, although there’s always a chance of Marseilles picking one of the teams above them off and snaking though, especially if Madrid take too much time to assimilate all their new pieces or Milan find it tough going without Kaka. Kaka returning to Milan as well should spice up that meeting.

All in all, a very interesting draw, and a good one from an Arsenal fan’s perspective (or a neutral’s).


August 27, 2009 - Posted by | Other Soccer, The Arsenal | ,

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