Luck has done its bit, now we have to do ours

This was the first time I saw the draw live. It was quite boring but just the right names came out for group H. Or should I say group H came out for the right names as the group name was plucked out after the club name in the draw process. The process also seemed very easy to rig, but more on that in some other post.

Group H

Group E

Group D

Group B

Arsenal Liverpool Chelsea Manchester United
AZ Alkmaar Lyon Porto CSKA Moscow
Olympiacos Fiorentina Athletico Madrid Besiktas
Standard Liege Debreceni Apoel Nicosia Wolfsburg

Based on the above draw, we might be the envy of all the other English clubs right now. All four clubs consider themselves as title contenders and none would be overly worried. But who doesn’t want an easier path if it’s available. Having said that, I also have to note that, taking things easy is the surest way of making them difficult.

We start with an away trip to Belgium, right after the two Manchester visits. Having seen Liege trouble Liverpool in qualification last year and with players like Steven Defour in their line-up, they certainly cannot be taken lightly. I suspect they will provide a Celtic like test but hopefully nothing sterner. Olympiacos at home shouldn’t offer any great threat.

Then come the two games with AZ. Ronald Koeman will have something to prove after his Valencia fiasco. Dutch teams have previously troubled us in this tournament. In the 02-03 season Ajax beat us to the second spot in the second round resulting in our elimination at that stage. Both the games with Ajax ended as draws and it is interesting to note that Koeman was their manager. PSV knocked us out in the second round in 2006-07. Guess who their manager was :-). Needless to say, these two games will be the highlight of our first round fixtures and an exciting tactical and technical battle is in the offing.

Matchday 5 sees Standard Liege at the Emirates just preceding a visit from Chelsea. The final group game is away to Greece three days before a trip to Anfield. If we can secure qualification in the first 4 games, which seems quite possible, it will give Arsene another chance to give starts to guys like Vela and Ramsey. It will also allow him to rest some key players before a couple of crackers in the premier league. And if either the scousers or the blues have not secured qualification by then, it will be an added advantage.

So far so Good. Now its down to the boys to do their thing.

One Response to Luck has done its bit, now we have to do ours

  1. […] us in securing the qualification for the knockout stages with a couple of games to spare. As I had observed after the champions league draw, our last two group matches precede a visit from Chelsea and a trip to Anfield. It will be very […]

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