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The Champions League: who could we meet and my favourite draw

By Walter Broeckx

So today will be the draw of the Group stages of the Champions league. Much to the annoyance of the English media and the Wenger haters, Arsenal will be in pot 1. Together with Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Porto and Benfica.  Manchester City of course are not there, nor are other newcomers to success, such as PSG.  Monaco, less we forget, are not in the competition at all.

So it’s a nice select group to be in. And the only person we have to thank for being in this pot is Arsène Wenger. He is the one that kept us in the CL for 16 consecutive years and that with the last 5 or 6 years getting the message that we will finish outside the top 4.

For sure. Each and every year again. And yet, here we are. Again.  Thanks to our manager and of course thanks to the players that have been branded useless and below par.

The pot list doesn’t lie. You can say all you want about us having not won it but we have come close but didn’t have the luck some others had when we had to play almost the entire game with 10 men. And of course we have been cheated out of the CL on a few occasions.

So the teams I just mentioned are teams we will not meet in the group stages. But who can we meet?

In pot 2 we have the following teams: Atletico Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, AC Milan, Schalke04, Marseille, CSKA Moskva, PSG, Juventus.

Some very interesting teams in this group. And all very tough opponents. If you would ask me to pick one team that would be Schalke 04. I do admit this is down to some self interest as this is the ground closest to my home on the continent in this group and it would make it only a two hours drive with my car to see the game. As I did last season.

PSG could also be on the cards with a train ride from Brussels with the high speed train but that would be a tougher draw on the field I think. Playing the multi-billion pound spenders… mind you they also do have only 2 legs and 2 arms just like our players.   It is just that our legs and arms only cost a bit less.

But any team in this pot 2 is a strong team and a difficult team. Maybe on paper Shakhtar Donetsk and CSKA Moskva look easier but then you have to think about the long travelling time and in the past we somehow didn’t really perform over there.

Let us move on to the possible teams we could meet in pot 3. In this pot we find:  Zenit St. Petersburg, Manchester City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, FC Basel, Olympiacos, Galatasaray, Bayer Leverkusen.

Manchester City is a team that we cannot meet in the group stages so they are out of contention. For again my own personal reasons I would prefer Ajax or Borussia Dortmund or Bayer Leverkusen. Because you guessed it they are rather close to where I live and I could go there. For the record if we get Schalke we cannot get Borussia Dortmund or Leverkusen. Teams from the same country cannot meet in the group stages.

Maybe one player from Zenit would love to see us drawn against them. Arshavin back in the Emirates? As long as we don’t have to go there in the cold winter months is fine for me. Basel is just out of my reach to travel to as is Galatasaray. And after being drawn with Olympiacos in the last seasons I rather would like to see a fresh face as it is getting a bit boring.

Let us take a look at pot 4. In this pot we have: Copenhagen, Napoli, Anderlecht, Celtic, Steaua Bucharest, Viktoria Plzen, Real Sociedad, Austria Wien.

Well for me personally there is only 1 team I want from this group: Anderlecht. I could be on that ground in less than one hour from where I live. So that would be the perfect draw for me. And I think we could spank them and that would be even more funny for me. And if we don’t draw Anderlecht I really couldn’t care who we get from this pot. Napoli and Real Sociedad look very strong and are maybe the teams to avoid. But the rest shouldn’t give us much of a problem.  Certainly when we played Celtic a couple of years back we had no problems.

But every game has to be played of course and you cannot take any game for granted in the Champions League.

So my favourites would be Schalke, Ajax and Anderlecht. I know this is only for personal reasons but I also think that this would be a group we should qualify from for the knock out stages. So it would be interesting looking at it from a possible sporting point and for me personal and for most other Gooners it would mean a cheap journey. No long and expensive trips please.

Ok, where can I sign to have this group? Oh well by expressing my preferences I just probably jinxed it and we get all teams where we have to travel a day and night to get there. Tell us do you prefer other teams? Just let us know.

29 August anniversaries; The revolution starts, Rotherham, Alan Smith…

The books…

90 comments to The Champions League: who could we meet and my favourite draw

  • Jonny

    Didn’t Schalke beat Arsenal at the Emirates last season? They failed to beat them in the group stages last season. I wouldn’t be as keen on SChalke if I were you

  • Shyne

    i saw an article by goal.com statin reasons why arsenal shud nt be in pot 1 ad i kind of wonda how disgrunted ad piss off d media is seein us wit d elite.

  • Who gives rats ass about your personal likings in respect to the draw?

  • americangooner

    Don’t know why Arsenal being granted the pot 1 is controversial. What modicum of difference does it make to be in pot 1?
    RM haven’t won the CL since 2001. In fact, they haven’t reached the final since then despite having a plethora of WC talent. They also play in a two-horse league, where TV revenues are shared 50% between the two horses.
    Porto haven’t won and/or reached the final since 03/04.The last time Benfica reached the final was in 89-90. And both play in a two-horse league- Either its Porto or Benfica as Premeira Liga champions since 02-03.
    One would think that Benfica and Porto would be the one targetted on this seeding topic but NO it should be Arsenal since it perfectly fits the narrative i.e. 8 years trophyless. How could a trophyless team be on Pot 1. Such atrocity and arrogrance from UEFA that ManCity and Juventus are seeded lower. One a FA cup finalist while the other a Serie A winner. In fact, there are 17 champions of their respective league you would think there should be two ‘Pot 1’.
    Doesn’t make sense that a club that has qualified for 16 seasons in a row and 13 seasons in Knockout stages of CL should be demoted to a different Pot. Why does this pot thing make the media hallucinate? Maybe there is a relation between ‘Pot’ and Hallucination. Maybe.

  • Spuds are in which pot hahahaha.

  • sas

    Spuds are in pot 5….lolx

  • jayjay

    Spurds are in the THUR-SPURS DAY

  • Rupert Cook

    It’s a shame Brentford aren’t in it, they’re walking distance from my house.

  • nicky

    Arsenal are in Pot 1 because of their consistent record in playing in the CL. The Pot therefore contains the favourites for the title…a sort of seeding.
    At this (Group) stage it doesn’t really matter who we play. All teams are top or near the top of their prospective premier divisions.

  • para

    CL is ours this year, trust me. It may not look so now but have faith.

  • Rupert Cook

    @para, course it is because we’re going to buy Ozil, Rooney, Mata, Di Maria and Benzema.

  • the man from row 15

    We’re in the CL AGAIN?! What is Wenger doing? Playing mid week games in Europe is only going to wear our players out quicker and mean we have NO CHANCE of winning the Capitol One cup. I say Wenger out now! 16 years is quite enough, its all about making money for Stan Krinkly – by making us poor supporters go to even more matches. Its SO cynical!

    *starts knitting black scarf…*

  • Arsenal1Again

    We could be in a group of death with Napoli, PSG and Galatasary so being overly confident in this case is difficult.

  • WalterBroeckx

    okay that is another pay day from Arsenal for me for this article 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Sammy The Snake

    Flamini re-signed for Arsenal? Another free transfer?! I wonder how good he is if he was released by AC Milan. Still, it brings back good memories… Bring Cesc back too! 🙂

  • “group of death” – great phrase, so beautifully overwrought, I’ve always loved it.

  • bjtgooner

    Is Flamini’s agent Dein the Lesser? If so it would be a bad move to have him regaining access to the Emirates.

  • @ Sammy the Snake

    I was looking at a photograph taken in 2008 immediately after the match against A.C. Milan at the San Siro, and there he was.

    He was a good player for us in his last year. He probably won’t reach those heights again, but will be a useful squad player in my opinion.

  • Adam

    Remember Flamini stepped in at left back as well for us and did quite well. I reckon we just use him against your Stoke like sides, get him to take Shawcross out for the season. Job done.

  • Stevie E

    Sammy the snake
    As far as I’m aware, Flamini wasn’t released, he was offered a contract extension but turned it down.

  • ande

    So thursday now and still no signings what on earth are they doing. Are they even capable of making a signing?
    Flamini – may as well bring in sol, adams &lauren

  • ande

    Dont worry about who we ca a, going out uickerthan tying in! in one day Spurs have signed Lamela for 30million euros, opened talks with Eriksen from Ajax and have just about signed Romanian CB Vlad Chiriches for more than 8 million pounds. This is going to push their spends up to the 100million mark. Yes it is the Bale money but they have operated brilliantly in this window. They have held onto their prize asset until they were able to bring in several high quality players to supplement the loss, smashing our transfer record 3 times in the process .They have avoided being held to ramsom for the new players and have ended up with a very strong looking squad – even without Bale. Meanwhile, what have we done? Yesterday Wenger said it was unlikely Mata would join us because there is a reluctance from teams to sell to eachother in this league……..where was that reluctance when United phoned him asking about RVP? I honestly cannot believe we are days away from the NLD and we have a paper thin squad with zero sign of anyone, of any quality joining. Day after day, all we see is players ruling out a move to Arsenal. I genuinely cannot help but feel we have all been taken for the same ride yet again.

  • AL

    Shyne,
    Its not just goal.com with an article on why we shouldn’t be in pot 1, even the BBC have a lengthy article moaning on how seeding is benefiting arsenal and not Celtci, as if its our fault. To be honest this is the first time i have seen any articles of this kind. Shows how hated we are in the media. Not only have we managed to qualify for the champs lge for 16 years on the trot, but we have failed to get out of the group stages only once in the last 15 years. That’s a phenomenal record by any standards.

  • ande

    @AL, fair enough if you want to settle for that loser mentality and plase remnd us what happens once we get out of the group stage? Being mediocre is not a crime, settling for being mediocre is. throughout all my time supporting the club they have in general always tried to improve, yes they have bought some rickets but the intention was there. I am pretty sure Usmanov wouldnt take over arsenal to be also rans.

  • AL

    Rupert
    Don’t wish to make this thread about signings(which it clearly isn’t) but right now the media is linking us with just about every Madrid player apart from Ronaldo. How is that even possible???? And then wait for the next headlines about how each and every one of them snubbed us and opted to stay in Madrid. Laughable really.

    But lets get back to the topic of discussion, as can see ande is already getting all worked up by this talk of transfers. I personally wouldn’t want to be in the same group as any German team, they’re too efficient for my liking:)

  • AL

    Who would you rather we met/avoided ande? I don’t think I have heard your preference regarding that….

  • AL,

    Isn’t BBC’s first objective is to be pro-British clubs? Why single out Arsenal in their moan in favour of Celtic?

    Let’s just remember that they bring us MoTD.

  • ande

    All the teams are tricky and whoever we play is going to be tough…woould like to avoid: Shaktar, Galatasraay, Dortmund…oh and napoli.

    I think the below is a nice summation from 7amkickoff:

    Credit should be given to Arsene Wenger for the remarkable feat of 16 years in the Champions League but after the match I saw no such credit proffered. Goodplaya reported that no songs were sung about Wenger after the match, no chants of wave to me, and instead the manager was greeted with what amounts to a deafening silence. Anger was also evident on twitter as I congratulated the team, club, and boss on the 16 years and most respondents replied that they would only credit the team and not the manager.

    Perhaps that is to be expected. Wenger’s business during this summer’s transfer window has rankled all but the most patient. And he went and capped off the anger by calling the home crowd “brainwashed” by “the media” into not supporting the team in some arbitrarily prescribed way. Even normally cool heads are not at all pleased with Wenger’s slight: it’s not brainwashing that leads the home crowds to anxiety, it’s a conditioned response set forth by years of underspending on the team and subsequent uninspiring performances. It’s not brainwashing, it’s Pavlovian.

  • AL

    Bootoomee
    I know, but perhaps they are hiding under the guise that Celtic are also British. But it could’ve been anybody really, which is what we know they were really getting at. They would rather see the merits of having a team like Austria Wein participating in the champs lge than Arsenal. I recall them giving Bayern so much positive coverage before our games v them last season that for a minute I thought Bayern were the English team. They’re awlays like that.

  • Faron

    Al,
    I would like Schalke in our table , as i want revenge from last year. On the BBC thing, i think they are just playing Devils advocate.

  • Rupert Cook

    I actually thought this thread should be about how close the teams we draw are to Walter’s house.

    @Al, don’t want anyone from pot 2, Basel and Copenhagen from the other two.

    Seriously how far will we go in this competition? I’m no fan of the damn thing anyway, I’d rather win the league but I wonder what people’s expectations are. Of course the transfer window isn’t shut yet so it’s hard to gauge what we’ll do.

  • Wenger doesn’t know how to play in Europe. Any idiot could achieve (not that he’s achieved anything) what he has in Europe. Group stages are deliberately weighted so the best two beat the two shitty teams and go through, after that 90% of the time Arsenal get knocked out as soon as they play anyone decent.

  • WalterBroeckx

    so tell us dialsquare: how many times did you do better in your career than this “idiot”?

  • WalterBroeckx

    don’t include the FM or FIFAxx games of course…

  • AL

    “Group stages are deliberately weighted so the best two beat the two shitty teams and go through”

    You mean like how the two shitty teams, Man Utd & City, were knocked out at the group stage two seasons ago? Or like chelsea & city last season?

  • Rufusstan

    @dialsquare — now apply that argument to the fact that last year Juve and Shaktar got out of their group at Chelsea’s expense.

    Man City have not got out of a group in 2 attempts — last year Dortmund won their group from pot 4 (City were in pot 2 and finished dead last)

    The year before, City were knocked out by Napoli, the Pot 4 team.

    By the way in that year, Dortmund were meant to be the dark horses in out group (as German Champions) and finished dead last.

    And yes in the last 3 years we have not got past the last 16. Two of those years we have met the champions in the last 16.

    Last year we went out on away goals, and do you really want to be reminded about Barca in 2011?

  • You always get anomalies, as for City, Man Utd and Chelsea they’re crap no matter what seedings they’re given.

  • Rufusstan

    Oh and the draw does not matter. Whoever we get we should be able to win the group. If not, why are we there.

  • GOONERJAY

    Not all that bothered to be honest. We stand no chance whatsoever of winning the competition. The only positive of being in the competition is the extra money and that it helps attract the top talent! So being that we don’t like signing players and our money just sits in a bank account what is the point in us being in the competition? I’d rather we weren’t with this wafer thin squad. COC and FA are the only tings we have any realistic chance of winning this year! Just think guys… 10 years ago we were one of the most feared teams in Europe. Now everyone is laughing at us

  • WalterBroeckx

    where we really Goonerjay? I must have missed out on us winning it then over 10 years ago. Damn why did nobody told me we won it time and time again in those days….

  • Rufusstan

    4 out of the last 6 seasons Arsenal have finished runners-up in the Champions League group stages.

  • WalterBroeckx

    mostly when we had already qualified and played a semi youth team away from home causing us to lose the group.

  • Rufusstan

    Last Year:
    Group A – Pot 3 team Qualified; Pot 2 team went out.
    Group C – Pot 4 team won the group; pot 2 team went out
    Group D – Pot 4 team won the group; pot 2 team went out
    Group E – Pot 3 team went through; Pot 1 team went out
    Group G – Pot 4 team Qualified; Pot 2 team went out
    Group H – Pot 3 team went through; Pot 2 team went out.

    Only 2 of the 8 groups last year went according to the seeding, and in one of them (ours) the wrong team won.

    How many data points before the anomalies become the pattern?

  • GOONERJAY

    Walter don’t be a complete melt. I said we were one of the most feared teams… where did I say anything about us winning it? pull your head out of your back side fella.
    10 years ago you know full well we were one of the best teams in Europe and routinely beat some of the biggest teams away from home, Madrid at the Bernabau, Milan at the San Siro and we didn’t just beat these teams, we did it convincingly and with a swagger.

  • WalterBroeckx

    To the detriment of the Team as they draw a tougher knock-out opponent and get spanked.

  • Rufusstan

    @ Dialsquare — agree with Walter, and even if not, wouldn’t that actually disprove your own point that the group stages are a walk in the park with 2 teams destined to qualify?

  • Rufusstan

    Who contested last seasons Champions League Semi-Finals, enough said.

  • I’m talking about the so called big boys in Europe being kept apart until the latter stages of the Competition.

  • AL

    Rupert, Goonerjay & dialsquare

    Think I’m getting the message we shouldn’t have bothered with qualifying for this, is that what you’re saying? Were you disappointed when we qualified for the champs lge then?

  • nicky

    @bjtgooner,
    Your 10.01 gives out a serious warning.
    Beware the Lesser Dein and his disruptive influence around the Emirates.

  • GOONERJAY

    Al – Not disappointed. I could never be disappointed with the team winning. I just really can’t see what good it is going to do us this year unless we add a couple of top class bodies to the squad.
    This current squad is nowhere near good enough to win it and our squad is nowhere near deep enough to challenge in 4 competitions this season. If we use our position of being in the CL and the added £30m to bring in a couple of world class players before Tuesday then great, but if, as is looking very likely, we stumble into this season with just a couple of extra bodies we don’t have the strength or depth for the competition so makes it fairly pointless. Maybe i’m being over negative but hey… just my 2 cents!

  • Yes i am very disappointed Arsenal qualified for the Champions League, only Champions from each domestic league should contest the Champions League. It devalues the tournament having non Champions contesting for the Trophy and also dilutes from winning the Premier league were teams like Arsenal settle for second best knowing the same prize awaits them as the Premier league winners.

  • Rufusstan

    @GOONERJAY — we beat Munich at the Allianz last year, now I know the narrative is that they thought the tie was won, but just shows they were stupid to not fear us. In the end they were holding on for dear life.

    @Dialsquare — if you are arguing that the tournament not be seeded at all, then fair enough, but no other major competition works without seeding except the FA cup, and arguably that does as well by not sticking the PL teams in until the third round.

    Keeping the ‘big boys’ apart in the group stages is a natural consequence of seeding, but would only be a valid argument if the top seeds all regularly progressed, when 6 of the top 16 teams cannot get out of the group, I’d say its a decent competition.

    In the last 16, there is nothing stopping the ‘big boys’ being drawn against each other, in fact last year with Arsenal — Munich and Man United — Madrid, 4 of the remaining 7 top seeds met.

    The Semis had mostly ‘big teams’ but they were seeded 2nd, 4th, 5th and 26th.

    It comes down to what you mean by ‘big teams’, at that point, most of them are big. Do you really think that whatever the system was, we would bot find a similar array of sides making the semis.

    Every year smaller teams get out of the groups, but sooner or later they meet one of the ‘big boys’ and winning over a 2 legged game is always hard to do against a side like that.

  • Stuart

    dialsquare,
    I couldn’t have achieved what Wenger has in Europe. Does that mean I’m not an idiot?

  • ande

    Wenger desrves praise hallleulia we have signed a player

  • can somebody please explain to me how the spuds can spend all this money, the papers are saying it is the bale money but that wont cover signings and wages.Are they living beyond their means?are they taking a chance and gambling on champions league qualification?Have they a secret billionaire hiding in the background?Is there a chance that they are taking a risky gamble that could blow up in their face and leave them bankrupt?The one thing more annoying than arsenal signing nobody is spurs acting like drunken sailors and buying everyone.

  • @AL Rupert,Goonerjay & dialsquare still have the primitive way of thinkin if my Auntie had balls, dream on as we enjoy and wait for the next match, when we lose and you will be happy. Can you imagine ;do those guys also eat cooked food or grass!@Walter thanks for that piece, you have a way of taking out the maggots from where they hide and show their true colours. Lets go Gunners

  • @Alan, lets wait and see what they are going to do this season. I have watched two matches of theirs and in those two they have got two controversial penalties. But who will talk about that! If it was the Arsenal winnin with those two matches with those penalties oh my Gash we will be in a crisis.
    Spent millions, have not scored in open play,blah,blah,blah time will tell.

  • GOONERJAY

    Kampala – shut up gobshite… Don’t mention my name unless you’ve got the testicular fortitude to actually engage me in discussion on what you don’t agree with! None of that really bad attempt at humour comment, bore any resemblance to a response to anything I’ve said in this article. In typical Untold fashion, because I didn’t come on here saying all’s rosey and Wenger is the second coming you’ve decided to generalize me as a fan that enjoys watching us lose!!! News flash shit for brains… I don’t pay £2k a year to go and watch my team lose every other week! It’s the losing, shit performances and lack of ambition from management that have left me frustrated at the club and the current state of the squad… at no point have I said I want us to lose! take Wengers cock out of your throat and wind your neck in you jumped up prick.

  • ande

    @goonerjay, no point trying to even get that dimwit to understand. Flaminimal Spending still…..

  • Ha ha ha ha Goonerjay as sewer rat I only expect shit to come from your mouth as always shit or faeces in that case are your daily supplements so I wont blame you. Like it or not Wenger is going no where and losing is part of the game, better go to mars where teams don’t lose moron.

  • GOONERJAY,

    I thought we already resolved this matter yesterday. There is no way we can know for sure that you are a season ticket holder. You need to stop throwing it around like it gives you any priviledge other than getting to sit in the stadium during matches. You only get to complain about the services provided in the stadium that you are entitled to like clean toilets and comfortable seats. The style of football played or whether the team win matches or trophies are not included in your ticket package.

    And again, if you are indeed a season ticket holder, give it up if having it makes you so miserable. Don’t come over here to use it as a cudgel to beat others with in order garner sympathy or win arguments.

    Of course, real season ticket holders to scream about it like you do.

  • GoonerVance

    If winning the first leg 3-0 wasnt enough to get us some bodies in I doubt Tuesday’s result changed any player’s mind. In today’s football world the only thing that counts for anything is money. We are not one of the giants anymore and, because that is true, we no longer have world class talent lining up to play for the mighty Arsenal (I dont know if we’ve ever had that status to be honest).

    If we win against Tottenham we will still have a thin squad that will struggle to stay healthy and fresh enough to compete in 4 competitions. I f we lose against Tottenham we will make some panic buys on Sunday night. To be honest, if it comes to that I hope we don’t sign anyone. I’d rather not waste 30 million pounds on loose stool, would rather spend 50 million on one…well…let’s face it there’s 3 days left in the transfer windows and all the world class players have already been purchased or their clubs are unwilling to sell as the season is well underway.

    Another season. Another hope for the best. Prepare for the best. Who prepares for the best? Arsenal. Worst happens. Oh shite. Scramble for fourth. Mission Accomplished.

  • GOONERJAY

    Kampala – I’ve got a funny feeling Wenger won’t be here in 12 months seeing as the AST have requested his contract not to be renewed following this abysmal summer… i’m wondering if you’ll still be an Arsenal fan then or if this site will even exist anymore when he goes. You want to go round calling people you don’t know or clearly even understand, maggots, then you sure as shit better expect some vitriol back! astounding level of arrogance shown by the regulars of this site… completely oblivious that they are in the minority in regards to the thinking regarding Arsenal these days and are even referred to as ‘Untold Loonies’ on most other Arsenal blogs.

    Boo…. bore off child! your jealousy is getting tiresome.

  • GOONERJAY

    GoonerVance – That’s most peoples frustration at the moment mate! According to Gazidis we are now one of the big boys and we do have the money! which is why the complete shambles of a summer can only be down to either piss poor management, negotiating, lack of plan from Wenger or the club lying to us again! Either way, there is clearly a problem at the club and questions need to be asked. If you go along with the thinking of this site though, the reason we haven’t signed anyone is every other clubs fault and maybe even down to referees… but don’t dare question the club because tat makes you an AAA who relishes the team losing!

  • ande

    GOONERJAY
    August 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm
    nail on the head.

  • GOONERJAY,

    Mr Noun, verb, I-am-a-season-ticket-holder 🙂

    Make your point without the silly advert. You are boring us with it.

  • GOONERJAY wrote: “I’ve got a funny feeling Wenger won’t be here in 12 months seeing as the AST have requested his contract not to be renewed following this abysmal summer”

    But AST’s Wikipedia page states:

    “With a membership of approximately 1,000……AST’s members include small shareholders as well as supporters and the Trust itself owns THREE of the 62,217 shares in the club”

    AST membership is 1.61% of the Emirates stadium attendees while they control 0.00482% of the shares. I am sure that the board’s decision on AW’s contract extension will be taken from them.

    Why don’t you guys just think before banging on your keyboards?

  • Rufusstan

    @Bootoomee — The point mentioned about the AST is this http://arsenaltrust.org/news/latest-news/arsene-wenger-has-much-to-do-to-earn-a-new-contract-at-arsenal It is far less negative than suggested and even then takes an extreme interpretation of their own survey.

    While they do not have any direct power, they are an important interested group.

    By the way Marseilles from Pot 2 🙂

  • GoonerVance

    “AST membership is 1.61% of the Emirates stadium attendees while they control 0.00482% of the shares. I am sure that the board’s decision on AW’s contract extension will be taken from them.”

    I find it funny that you use these stats to discredit GoonerJay’s point, yet that quote alone should be enough to send shivers down any fan’s spine. Non-board members only own .00482% of the club. That is terrifying, That is also why Arsenal have no ambition as an organization apart from real estate and commercial storefronts. Football first, or are you okay with the club being about, first and foremost, profits?

  • Rupert Cook

    @Al, the reason I dislike the CL is it has made the league title less important than it was. Now finishing fourth is regarded as a success because it gets you into this bloated competition. Also there are far too many games and we often lose ground in the league because of commitment to the CL and due to the fact that we don’t have a big enough squad of top talent to fight on both fronts. I mourn the death of the European Cup when true champions went up against each other.

  • Rufusstan,

    The point of my comment is that AST as an entity does not have enough clout, in terms of membership and/or shareholding, to force the board one way or another on how the club is run. Yes, as a supporters group their voices will be heard from time to time. But GOONERJAY’s comment implied that they can stop AW’s contract from being extended.

    They clearly cannot. That is my point. Although I don’t share their views, I meant no disrespect to AST. But they don’t have the kind of power that some fans insinuate that they do.

  • Rufusstan

    @GoonerVance — without wanting to be deliberately picky, because to some extent I agree with the idea (and hate the idea of a single owner) but non-board members own 30% + of the club.

    By the way pot 3 = Dortmund (figures) Sadly Olympiakos are in pot 3 otherwise we could have got 2011-12’s group.

    And wait for the moans, City are in with Munich and CSKA (just Napoli to make their day complete 🙂 )

  • Rufusstan

    Aaaand I should have kept my gob shut.

    Arsenal, Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli

    Chelsea, Schalke, Basel, Steaua Bucharest

    Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad

    Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, Viktoria Plzen

    We’ve actually got the toughest draw there I think. Chelsea and United are OK, and if city don;t get out of that group…..

    Celtic?

    Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax, Celtic

    I think the technical term is Buggered.

  • GoonerVance

    There will be no hiding this season for us. We have been fortunate in the past with draws but I guess this is the season it all balances out. I guess a silver lining is that the Pot 2 team we drew was Marseille and not AC Milan or PSG.

  • Rufusstan

    True about the group, but the upside is: make the last 16 from that bunch, and no one is going to give us any snide remarks about an easy ride.

    In truth have no way to predict how the group would turn out. I would say Marseilles to finish bottom, but even that isn’t a certainty.

    Dortmund will possibly be weaker than last year. Last time we met them they were champions and finished dead last.

    Napoli are an unknown quantity.

    Going to actually be interesting. (Still think we will top the group; but I’m frighteningly upbeat).

  • GoingGoingGooner

    This is a great group! I’m looking forward to the games against BVB. They play attractive football, too! The other teams aren’t going to be so happy to play against us, remember!

  • Stevie E

    GoonerVance
    What did you expect? This is the Champions league. If you want easy draws go watch channel 5.

  • GoingGoingGooner,

    Agree with you man. I don’t see any team in the group jumping for joy at the prospect of playing Arsenal. I even like the group because we are unlikely to qualify too early and then end up coming second after playing a weak team in the remaining matches.

    We’ll see how things will pan out but I believe in and I am rooting for my team: Arsenal.

  • C4

    We’ve taken out Dortmund before, we’ve taken out Marseilles before, and I have serious doubts as to whether Napoli are stronger than either of these 2.
    The way I see it, the other teams in our group have more to fear than we do, because the last time we met any of them, we beat them.
    Unless we end up facing these teams with a decimated squad as a result of the “open season” on kicking Arsenal that Anthony Taylor has declared on us, then I expect us to top the group.
    I’m of the belief we need to add numbers to the squad simply because I expect us to be kicked A LOT this coming season, whether it be in the Premier League or in the CL. The Aston Villa and Fenerbache games have shown us what treatment to expect if we dare to continue the sort of form we ended last season with.

  • @GOONERJAY Keep on dreaming cry baby, if Wenger is gone and this site gone as a sewer rat where will you be? Whose site will you be on Magwapiki character? Do you wana bet if, Wenger is not gone and this site is still up put your balls in your hands and lets bet 400pounds as a season holder that wont be much for you. Reply as soon as possible I know sewer rats are always quick to grab what comes down the sewer.

  • Adam

    November & December are looking a bit tasty now. Season ticket holders are certainly getting some good games thrown at them early season.

  • kaius

    nice bit of stardust you sprinkled on the draw there Walter!

    still, some great destinations for our traveling supporters and all the ties will be great to watch. interestingly all the teams are evolving with Dortmund being ahead of the rest, but as Klopp has said already, they have a score to settle with us. Haha! Bring it on Kloppo!

    in the last few years the easier draws haven’t prepared us well for the knockout stages so maybe a G.O.D. is just what we need. The games will be be a great barometer of this team’s potential and more top-class experience is invaluable for the team. I’m not a great fan of some of these constantly repeating ties though, this tournament’s turning into an Old Boy’s Club.

  • Adam

    Shame we have to travel to Manchester twice after important European ties. will be difficult.

  • Adam

    Both away European ties as well at Dortmund and Napoli.

  • Adam

    In fact we are only at home once after a European tie. Something stinks in the match fixing world.

  • The font

    For me this is the best draw there could ever have been. How many of the. AAA Have said Klopp
    Is. The man well lets see what they have to say after we have smashed them . With our week depleted squad of useless players were will that leave there opinion . Higuain you signed for the wrong team . Rafa it’s payback time Marseilles well your French and if you do have the cheek to beat us we will buy all your best players . And Rupert Cook before you call me an idiot for forecasting results I have a 100% record

  • Boon

    Can someone pls enlighten me why does bayer Leverkusen goes straight to Group A without a draw when Dortmund is still in the pot? Thanks.

  • Stuart

    Goonerjay,
    This site wont be gone once Wenger has gone. We will do what we have always done : support the manager & the players. You on the other hand, I’m not sure what you will be doing.

  • americangooner

    Yep, refree are just humans. And like every other human they make mistakes. not just one mistake but lots of them. its not most mistakes aren’t unique rather repetitive. same mistakes every time. A card for a foul to one player but when another commits the same foul, not a card. Mistakenly he didn’t card the other player. Fair enough. But a while later another opposition player commits similar foul but rather than penalising, the ref just ignores it. Mistake, repeat mistake in the same match. And that is the reason why FA decided to suspend taylor last week because he’s just a human and made mistakes.
    This human condition of making mistakes, surprisingly, isn’t held with regards to our own Arsenal players on the pitch. Gervinho was a prime example. Despite only playing handful of matches, comparatively, he was the scapegoat. He also was expected to be completely error-free. So when he made a mistake, it was booing time. The same with Ramsey. On the contrary, when wilshere made a huge mistake, nothing happened. No judging. Another example- In one of the CL games against Barca, Many tend to forget Fabregas ridiculous back-flip but happily remember Bendtner’s missed last-gast chance.
    Even mistakes are held to double-standards. To them Refs can make a mistake but don’t scrutinize them in a methodological way but whenever a player makes a mistake any sort of irrationality is permitted.