Champions League Draw: As Tough As It Gets!

We end up getting the one team I, and many other Gooners, wanted to avoid. Not only us Gooners but perhaps the rest of Europe as well!

The complete draw looks like this,

Quarter-Final draw:
Lyon v Bordeaux
Bayern Munich v Manchester United
Arsenal v Barcelona
Inter Milan v CSKA Moscow

Semi-Final draw:
Bayern Munich or Manchester United v Lyon or Bordeaux
Inter Milan or CSKA Moscow v Arsenal or Barcelona

The worst aspect of this draw is that United have a free run to the final. I’d love to swap places with them after this draw and I doubt if any of the Mancs supporters would take it. While Bayern and the French sides can be good on their day, I can’t see them getting past a top English club over two legs.

On our side of the draw, apart from the obvious challenge with Barca, there is potentially tricky semi-final with the Dark Lord who will surely get past the Russians. Still, unless luck and referees have a serious impact, I’d expect the winner of Arsenal-Barcelona to make it to the finals.

One big problem with this draw is that apart from our game with the holders, there isn’t any room for an upset. The French teams are, frankly, irrelevant. One of them will reach the semi-finals and it will be a symbolic occurrence more than anything. I’m not trying to be dismissive or anything but just matter of fact.

Bayern defence will not be able to handle Rooney and CSKA will not have the tactical nous to handle the manager who must not be named. I’ll be really surprised if United don’t reach the Final and Inter don’t make it to the Semis.

The way the draw has worked out, we have phenomenal challenges ahead in the quest for European glory. Firstly, we have to face the team which plays, arguably, the best football in the world and has, in my opinion, the best player in the world. If we overcome this, we have to play the best tactical manager in the world who plays the worst possible football or the best anti-football, whichever way you prefer. Once we get through him, we have to face our nemesis and arch-rivals who have a recent psychological logical hold over us.

In short, if we win the Champions League this year, we will achieve, what can be considered, the most comprehensive win in the history of the competition. Is it achievable? Well, we’d need some real luck with injuries and we’ll need all our players at the top of their game.

I feel if we can get past Barca, we can make it to the finals. Then it boils down to who plays better on the day. Defeating Barca over two legs will in itself be an achievement of the highest order. Can our defence hold firm and will our strikers be clinical enough? Two simple questions that could define careers.

I don’t want to dwell on this too much so I’ll leave you with this tidbit. After the second leg at the Camp Nou, Arsenal have an away trip for the North London Derby at the weekend and Barcelona have an away trip for El Grand Classico at the Bernabeu. This could be the week that defines the season for both teams. It’s all in the script, eh!


22 Responses to Champions League Draw: As Tough As It Gets!

  1. jhessart says:

    Bring it on!!!
    Always think positive, let our team play it game by game, and enjoy the show…
    Cheers 🙂
    -In Arsene We Trust-

  2. munala says:

    we can beat any1 on any day !
    Great; with every1 fit n fully focused, we can manage barca over 2 legs.
    Both teams r vulnurable at da back n gud goin 4wad,
    Whoever wins da defensive battle will win da tie.

  3. Viraj says:

    Truth be told if we have a full team to choose from (RvP apart) we can match them man for man. Messi will be the difference. If he has two off days or Gael plays out of his skin over the course of the tie we have a great chance.

  4. george says:

    we have nothing to loose ,as they say.If we beat them,and i think we can(do you think the likes of Stoke would allow them to play beautiful in the EPL?)we can say we are the best footballing side ,and we would show it if teams would stop kicking us week in week out

  5. Thabo says:

    I would to believe that its possible.

  6. deephenry says:

    This is a ‘David V/s Goliath’,clearly. I hope David wins this time too!!

  7. Olurombi Qudus,Lagos Nigeria says:

    Well,has 4 d game i think Barca wil b over confidence and if luck is on our side,every tin is possible and if we’ve a very fitted team against Barca,i think Barca we b gun down.In Arsene we trust Up Gunners

  8. Vijay says:

    Thoughts:

    Messi could get injured.
    Gallas could be back.
    They have an off day.
    They have two off days.
    We play to our potential.
    We don’t miss a single chance we get on goal.
    We negate and frustrate them.
    We learn from Chelsea last year.
    We want nights like Barca to build a history at the Emirates.

    But most of it will be down to mental attitude over the two legs. Ours and theirs. They didn’t want us either. Maybe more so.

    These are the moments that make Arsenal what it is.
    The greatest football club in the world.
    Maybe not yesterday, but today and all the tomorrows to come.

  9. bobbygee says:

    I was hoping for the french or german teams but hey what can you say. Barca. Okay baby bring it on. Lets send them packing. http://defutebol.net

  10. critic says:

    what the rubbish!!!!what the fcuk!!!!HENRY IS COMING BACK TO EMIRATES AND YOU GUYS ARE WORRYING FOR SEMIS…..it’s a distant dream, just enjoy the two legs. One good thing is that arsenal has 2nd leg away,that means scoring goals their will be more valuable than goals conceded……..

  11. Nischit says:

    Somehow, I think its better for arsenal to play barcelona over a two legged tie rather than a one off final. This is going to be an interesting game. I really wonder which team will end up having more possession. More importantly though, I hope Arsenal make the best of whatever possession they get.

  12. mike says:

    To be honest i think playing barca is more favourable for us. we usually player better against teams that play REAL FOOTBALL. I personally think we will get past barca and likedl to face inter in the semis. Playing inter in the semi’s will be much more difficult

  13. Robert says:

    We’re (arsenal) gonna be in for a tough game all across midfield and defense. Sagna and Clichy will have probably Messi and henry to deal with whilst Cesc, Diaby and Song will have to cope with the talents of iniesta and xavi. We need big performances all over the park. Hopefully we will play to our potential!

  14. Jibzi says:

    Im not that worried about facing Barcelona, as we have the firepower to overcome them (no matter how hard it will be), but its the semi-final afterwards where we could face Inter that worry me, whilst ManUre have it so easy and you would think they are in the final already. Only thing that might help is that no team has successfully defended the UCL in its current format (not to say Barca wont make the finals). Also, I believe the last 4 UCL winners also won their domestic titles in the same year, so if we can do well in the title chase, who knows?

    Im very nervous but if we win against West Ham and Liverpool win against the ManUre, then Il feel a bit better for the time being.

  15. Vermaelen says:

    Is it only me, but I have noticed in the last Barca match: Barcelona 4-0 VfB Stuttgart, that Barcelona do not track back quickly when they lose the ball, sometimes with at least 4 players walking back and 2-3 players offside. This could be that:
    1. they expect the ball to be won back quickly and do not expect any threats from Stuttgart
    2. they are tired

    This is interesting because I think Barca will not be able to cope with the tempo of our game, at least not for both legs as they will get tired more easily. I could be wrong but I had heard that the tempo of the English game is much quicker than in Spain or Italy, so I do not expect them to be as fit as us over two legs.

    • critic says:

      and u assume arsenal to keep the same tempo against barca as over the two legs? typical optimist…

      • Vermaelen says:

        No, I’m suggesting our players are fitter than theirs because we’re used to the high tempo game of the Premier League. As shown in the Hull game, we fought until the last minute while in the Barca game, their players do not track back as well and that could prove costly to them. It would also be interesting to see how they would cope without the ball…. especially a side with quality such as us.

  16. sandeep says:

    why are we always on the other side of good luck ? the worst (toughest) possible draw that anyone could have imagined! i want to think positive, but I don’t think we have got players to control Messi’s movement and speed .. good buy CL for one more year 😦

  17. Hong_gunner says:

    Am i the only one who wanted to meet Barca right away? Dont get me wrong, i surely believe we can win this two legged tie, but if we were to go down, why not to a football playing side rather than a mind-sapping, physically exhausting, psychologically denting team(a.k.a Inter)? And when you look at it, surely, premiership has to be our main priority now. 8 tough games left, yes, but managable. Im interested more in the league than the champions league, as has always been the case. A double will always be an awesome bonus. Regarding barca, i hope and believe its a game where tactics will be out of the window and ‘football’ will define the scoreline. Both teams will try to move the ball around, close people down, and whoever bosses the midfield will win this tie. If we can go past Barca, we can go past anybody. Welcome back Titi. My emotions will subside for the next 180 minutes of European football. But for now, West Ham is the biggest game, that’ll take us to the top tonight.

  18. […] Champions League Draw: As Tough As It Gets! « Desi Gunner […]

  19. florin says:

    bayern vs manchester 2-1 verry good bayern

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