Arsenal News
Arsenal News & Transfers
As featured on NewsNow: Arsenal newsArsenal News 24/7

Arsenal News, Only Arsenal, Blogs, Transfer News


October 2016
« Sep    

Walter’s favourites for tonight’s Champions League draw

By Walter Broeckx

The Champions League draw.  This time the CL draw is upon us without much noise. After all we didn’t have to play any matches to qualify as we were runners up in the PL last season.  With all the players coming back late I think we were lucky to not being involved in even more matches.

This evening the draw will take place. And Arsenal will be in pot 2 and so we will not play any other team from that pot. So we will NOT play any of Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Porto, Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen.  Ah blimey our almost annual trip to Dortmund that I rather like as a trip, and as a match, will not happen this time around. Oh well, can’t have it all.

So more importantly who can we play then? Let’s have a look at the different pots and I will only mention the teams we really could play. So no mention of Leicester in pot 1 or the noisy neighbours in pot 3.

Pot one: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain, CSKA Moscow.

Knowing our luck we will probably end up with Barcelona or Bayern Munich. And that might be good news as that would mean that we wouldn’t play them in the round of 16 if we qualify for that. All jokes aside the “easiest” draw might be CSKA Moscow but we sure don’t like going to there. I can remember more than one dreadful European night in the former USSR. Another easier draw on paper would be Benfica. Now if we draw Benfica then Sporting Lisbon from pot 3 will be removed as we can’t have two teams from the same country in the same group.

Pot two: Arsenal. Us.

Pot three: Dynamo Kiev, Lyon, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Club Bruges, Basle, Monchengladbach

Now that is a group that I really really have some favourite teams that I would love us to draw. No, it’s not Dynamo Kiev or Sporting Lisbon or Basle or even Lyon. But the latter is a bit borderline for me. But there are a few teams that would make me pump my fists if we would draw them.

My favourite team would be:  Club Bruges. After some  11 years without a league title they finally won the league in Belgium again last season. Bruges is a one hour drive away from where I live and in fact a lot of our members of Arsenal Belgium have it as their local team. The Club (as it is knows to the football fans in Belgium – the other team from Bruges is known as The Cercle) has one of the biggest club stadiums in Belgium with some 29.000 seats.  Both teams play in the same stadium by the way but when Club plays there is an average attendance of 26.000 and when Cercle plays… well… not even half.

My bosses are all big Club fans even though they live almost 100 km away from Bruges at the other end of Flanders. But Club is one of the 3 clubs in Belgium who have a nationwide attraction to football supporters.  As president of the Arsenal Belgium supporters club I would love this draw.

A good second would be : PSV. From where I live I could almost piss up to there. I think from my front door to the stadium is around 45 minutes. So for my diesel bill it would be even better. I don’t think I have to introduce PSV much more as we have played them a few times with mixed success in the past. But sure would love us to have them also.

And then finally my good number 3 would be: Borussia Mönchengladbach. Yes the home of the most hated man in football shouting the : “Give me a B, give me an O” before he is being told to shut it up. Also very close to Belgium and to where I live.

It would take me 1,5 hours to get there from my front door once again. And I think Xhaka certainly would love this draw as it will give him the chance to play against his former club.

So that is 3 clubs all within 1.5 hour at the most from where I live. You can bet your life on it we will get Kiev in the end.  I will keep my fingers crossed we end up with one of my 3 favourites from the draw.

Pot four: Monaco, Besiktas, Legia Warsaw, Ludogrets, Celtic, Rostov, Copenhagen, Dinamo Zagreb.

I don’t have much to say about pot 4. No teams really close to where I live. I think that maybe most English fans would love to see a draw with Celtic. As that would mean not much travelling from London.  For me personally I couldn’t really care which one we would draw from this pot.

They are the teams we should make sure to get six points from and then pick up enough from the rest to go further before the real thing starts. And the cynical will say and where it ends for us. It did end for us there in the last seasons but who knows this year…. I’m always optimistic.

So let us keep our fingers crossed for a good (for me) draw with lots of nearby opponents.  Let us be spared from the far away trips to Russia or Greece or Turkey.  My fingers will be crossed when the draw takes place. What about yours?

Recent Posts

Latest from the Arsenal History Society

41 comments to Walter’s favourites for tonight’s Champions League draw

  • colario

    Borussia Mönchengladbach Arsene’s team when he was a boy and with the I quote ‘Youth team manager Pat Rice in charge’ end of quote and Arsene looking on from his dug out in Japan the team we played in Europe that season.

    There was German song that was popular in the fifties in English the words of the first line were

    ”I love to go a wandering along the mountain track”

    and they might be a suitable title of Arsene’s life in football as he has travelled the world.

    He began is wandering football life at Borussia Mönchengladbach. The club were on a high at the time.

    Am I glad his wandering came to a stop at Arsenal.

    weitere vier Jahre

  • Gord

    This is about the wurst report on Pot 1 you will find. I was close to drawing a blank with both Paris and Moscow. Sausages are eaten there, I’ve no idea what is local.

    Madrid: Cocido Madrileño (pork stew which contains chorizo sausage). Callos a la Madrileña (stew with chorizo and blood sausage).

    Barcelona: Bisbe (“the bishop”), Botifarra (or butifarra), Botifarra dolça, Botifarra negra, Botifarra de Vic (Salchichón de Vic), Fuet (“the whip”), Girella, Pans de fetge, Sobrassada, Xoriço.

    Munich: Weißwurst, Rostbratwürste, Wollwurst.

    Turin (mayor is a vegetarian): Bra (?), cacciatore, Salame di Cuneo, Doja, Debìve, Mortadella liver – called fidighin, The Meiron’d crave, The white hen Piedmont, Head in the box – sausage meat offal (head, throat, tongue and throat of the pig fat), Bresaola Ossola

    Lisbon: chorizo, farinheira, black pudding, alheira

    Paris: whatever is in the sausage vending machine?

    Moscow: kolbasa, ? vodka?

  • Josif

    Nice article, Walter. 🙂

    Good point about getting big guns know so that we have a clear path in R16 but with an easier rival from Pot 1 (and I do believe CSKA would be an easier choice than anyone else), we could win the group and avoid big guns such as Bayern, Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG and Juventus, probably Atletico as well.

    From Pot 3, I see us facing Lyon…again. Of course, if Lacazette scores a goal or two against us, the media would crucify Arsenal. I would prefer either Club Brugge or Basel FC with a footnote that Basel FC have been a real menace to English clubs in the last decade and half with Spuds, Liverpool (twice) and Man United being knocked out by them while Chelsea lost both games in the group stage to them three years ago. Both Elneny and Xhaka would love that reunion though.

    From Pot 4, I see us having another trip to Zagreb. Dinamo Zagreb have qualified at the expense of Red Bull Salzburg and could lose some of their best players before the deadline as that’s the way they do the job. Their manager is Zlatko Cico Kranjčar, father of ex-Spud Niko Kranjčar. Legia might be the best choice as they haven’t been too convincing in the qualifications and most of the people who have watched them see them as a cannon fodder due to defensive frailties.

  • Josif

    Oh, yes. The worst possible group as I see it:

    Barcelona, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Rostov.

    Barcelona – too strong for us, too many top strikers/tax-evaders in their ranks for our sake.

    Borussia (M) – they have thrashed Young Boys in the qualifications and we have that thing for losing against German clubs at home before making things up away. Borussia (D), Schalke and Bayern have all won at least once at the Emirates in the last four years but we have managed to avoid a defeat at all three soils at least once.

    Rostov – the Russian side has thrashed Ajax in the qualifications and that spells trouble. A trip to Russia is never an easy one, especially if we get The Group of Death like the one in 2013-14 with Borussia (D) and Napoli.

  • Andy Mack

    I’m not too worried about the group draw. We can (on our day) beat any of them and even if we’re not at 100% we should still get through the group stages.
    What I really want is to miss Bayern and Barca in the last 16 for a change.
    We got the chance against Monaco and blew it big time, but that can’t happen again….can it…

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    In reference to my last comment posting in the last article posting, I must say I’ve looked but all to be a novice in the way the Ucl group stage matches are drawn.

    Mr Broeckx article posting that is currently treading has revealed how erroneous a part of my comment has been. Arsenal will not after all play their Ucl group stage matches against the 3 opponent teams who are in their Pot 2 which I’ve in error drawn them to play against. But will in fact play against 3 other different teams from the other groupings which Lady Luck happens to picked to play against us. There aren’t much predictions which I can predict now as of the likely teams who will play against Arsenal from Pots 1 & 3 as any predictions I will want to make will be hard for me to do.

    I am sorry for my error. But the other part of that my last comment posting was not an error but a deliberate opinion of myself which I think it should be.

  • So we have PSG, and Basel. Sorry Walter, but maybe you can go to Switzerland or France. Or maybe both.

    One to go

  • An interesting show. Ian Rush had difficulty in opening the little balls, and the leader of the draw kept calling him Yan. Of course my language skills are nothing like his but someone might have taught him that it is pronounced Ee-an.

    Roberto Carlos chatted in Spanish but for those of us who dont speak the language some sub titles would have been good.

    Rush still having problems with the balls.

    We have Razgrad as the fourth team. Where the hell is Razgrad

  • PFC Ludogorets Razgrad

    Bulgaria. Sorry Walter

  • Will be nice to see some new teams at the Emirates sick of Barcelona and the Germans

  • Tottenham have

    CSKA Moscow
    Bayern Leverkusen

  • Group A: PSG, Arsenal, Basle, Ludogorets
    Group B: Benfica, Napoli, Dynamo Kiev
    Group C: Barcelona, Manchester City, Borussia Monchengladbach
    Group D: Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, PSV Eindhoven
    Group E: CSKA Moscow, Bayer Leverkusen, Tottenham, Monaco
    Group F: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Sporting Lisbon, Legia Warsaw
    Group G: Leicester, Porto, Club Brugge, Copenhagen
    Group H: Juventus, Sevilla, Lyon, Celtic

  • Final update:

    Group A: PSG, Arsenal, Basle, Ludogorets
    Group B: Benfica, Napoli, Dynamo Kiev, Besiktas
    Group C: Barcelona, Manchester City, Borussia Monchengladbach, Celtic
    Group D: Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, PSV Eindhoven, Rostov
    Group E: CSKA Moscow, Bayer Leverkusen, Tottenham, Monaco
    Group F: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Sporting Lisbon, Legia Warsaw
    Group G: Leicester, Porto, Club Brugge, Copenhagen
    Group H: Juventus, Sevilla, Lyon, Dinamo Zagreb

  • Leon

    Leicester have a relatively easy draw. Celtic in GOD.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    It has finally comes down for us as this.
    Group A.
    Paris Saint Germain
    FC Basel

    We should not only qualify for the round of 16 but should also top this group A. And for the first time in many of our outings in the Ucl reach the Q/F stage.

    By the way, who are Ludogorets? I am hearing that name for the first time.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I jinxed it… Sorry…

  • Leon

    OT. Lots of stories today about Deportivo etc. striker Lukas Perez Martinez.
    This might be the one.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    That’s a deliberate easy looking group to enable Spurs qualify for the knockout stages.

  • Gord

    Well, we have our group. In Paris, I guess you look for the nearest vending machine that has sausage.

    Basel: cervelat, some kind of curry sausage, spargel (sausages (white?) and white asparagus).
    Razgrad: kebapche, lukanka, sudjuk, Kebabcheta

    And that’s what I could dig up. Sorry, Bulgaria doesn’t seem to list sausages by city, just for the country (ore regions, which I know nothing about).

  • Florian

    And we had Thierry Henry smiling:)

  • Florian


    Actually, Bulgaria is (or was) known for its cultures of roses and cucumbers. I’ll see if I can find a Bulgarian friend to do some sort of match preview for us.

  • Andy Mack

    Group G looks interesting. At 1st glance Porto look to be the strongest but all 4 teams could get through….

    PSG is a difficult team but they can be a bit hit or miss…
    Bulgaria is a pain for travelling.
    But if we turn up we could win all 6 games.

  • para

    Finally a different draw. It was starting to become a deja-vu situation, every year getting the same teams in CL.

    Time to progress further eh? 🙂

  • ARSENAL 13

    No no no not Lucozades… noooooooo.

  • colario

    Wiki link for the town Ludogorets play in. The town is a short distance from Bucharest

  • PFC Ludogorets Razgrad stadium capacity 12,500. Not much room for away support.

  • colario

    Ludogrets is not far from where State aid Played in Romania last week. At the most 100 miles south of the boarder between Romania and Bulgaria

    Giurgiu Astra is just inside the Romanian boarder.

    The clubs have a similar history being taken over by a local business man who has invested in the club.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    The latest tweets which have emanated on some tweeter follower’s handles and even on the Daily Mail newspaper online had it that Arsenal have completed the signing of Lucas Perez Martinez from Deportivo La Coruna in Spain. He is reported to have had a returns of 17 goals for Deportivo last season which equaled the goals scored by Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez last season. But are the 17 goals of Lucas scored in all competitions or in La Liga outings

    We all think the Boss was going to sign a better forward than Lucas for us this summer. No disrespect to him. The Boss must have rated him very high to do a very good job for us in this season’s campaign. Hence his splashing a whooping £17m on him a low profile forward. But since it’s now a done deal for us, we have no any other choice than to respect it and accept it and hope his signing will be audacious for us in our season campaign.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    On with the CL campaign. PSG without that big Swedish chap will be less daunting but a challenge still. As for the others…still got to win them. If memory serves ManU lost against Basel a couple of years ago.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    It is now an open secret Arsenal have agreed the fees and terms for the signings of Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi at a total cost of £51m. And the duo are expected to have their medicals tomorrow Friday at Arsenal. This report is according to

    So the Boss has now appeared to have completed the 3 deals he promised to do this summer for us ahead of the transfer deadline day which we thought he is waiting for to pounce as usual.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    So Arsenal have signed 6 new players this summer window at a total cost of £90m plus. Whao! Who said Arsenal are not signing?

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Save an Under 21 player, Arsenal have not sold any senior squad player this summer to any club. But have effectively now replaced the departed senior squad trio players of, Arteta, Rocisky and Flamini with, Xhaka, Perez and Mustafi. This is orderliness.

  • Menace

    Tony Attwood
    August 25, 2016 at 7:55 pm Wrong Tony! Not much room for the home fans! The 10,000 UEFA entourage will take most of the seats.

  • Josif

    Ludogorets could be called newbies in terms of tradition. They have become a dominant force in the Bulgarian football while once big Bulgarian clubs such as Levski, CSKA Sofia and Litex Lovech have fallen down. Ludogorets have won five league titles in a row and have already participated in Champions League. In fact, they have already paid a visit to England (Liverpool is still in England, right?). They were a tough nut to crack for Rodgers’ Liverpool, it took Balotelli’s late penalty to win the game for Liverpool. In Bulgaria, Liverpool didn’t win, it ended 2:2. They also played against Basel FC that season and split victories between themselves – 1:0 in Bulgaria for Ludogorets, 4:0 in Switzerland for Basel FC.

    Now, I have already mentioned Basel FC as a very difficult opponent for the English clubs. The Tottenham legend Christian Gross was their manager when they knocked out Liverpool out of Champions League for the first time in 2002-03 and they repeated the feat in 2014-15. They also knocked out Manchester United in 2011-12 Group Stage and stopped Tottenham in Europa League a few years back. Mourinho suffered two defeats against them but that wasn’t enough for them to progress to Round of 16, mostly due to hideous refereeing in favour of Gazprom’s Schalke in Germany. For those who didn’t know – Barcelona’s shirt colours were influenced by the Basel ones. We have two former Basel FC players in our ranks – Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka.

    Finally, PSG. Oil-money turned them from the perennial losers to the most boring champions in Europe. They make Bundesliga look like a competitive league. They have a new manager now and it’s no other than a three-time winner of Europa League Unai Emery. He has brought fantastic defensive midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak with him and now that Ibrahimović is gone, Edinson Cavani is supposed to be their leading striker. Angel di Maria flopped at Manchester United but there are very few wingers better than him when he brings his A game on the pitch. Thiago Silva is among the best defenders in the world for almost a decade and Marco Verratti is arguably the best Italian player now that Pirlo is gone. However, despite all those hundreds of millions and excellent players, they have failed to build anything that could be called a style of play. Manchester City took the advantage of that last season, perhaps it’s our turn now. Still, it would be a small miracle if they fail to win the group.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Menace, truer than you might think. I have to move from my seat in the East Stand for the CL games as it is required for UEFA nominees. I am normally moved to the Clock End.

  • Wooby

    I think Lucas has been a fallback/backup. With rumours of Costa returning to Athletico, I wondered if AW was waiting for that in order to try for Griezmann, esp having seen how effective he was with Giroud. When he is convinced that is not happening, that’s when he used funds earmarked for Griezmann to land a CB (Mustafi) and an extra forward (Lucas).

    The CL draw could have been kinder but could have been much more difficult. As it is, I think we have a good chance to go 4-2-0 (W-D-L) by winning both games against Ludo, then winning at the Ems and drawing away with both PSG and Basel.


  • Arvind

    That’s a tricky group. Basel have a lot of pedigree, know how to play English teams and can certainly beat Arsenal either home or away. We’d do well to get out of the group, I think and if we can beat PSG in the first game – who knows – we could go out top.

  • ARSENAL 13

    That’s 10hrs by flight!!!! To razgrad!!!!!?

    This was one team I hoped we avoided…

  • Andy Mack

    Wooby, although I do think AW was (maybe still is) expecting to get on the end of an expected ‘chain’ of deals (like with Ozil), I don’t think Griezmann was the target.
    If that ‘chain’ does go ahead then I think there’s a chance AW will be given the funds, but I suspect he’s heard it won’t be happening after all.
    Having reserves and being able to offer much better payment terms is a strong point for the club that many ‘fans’ really can’t grasp. However I also think there’s a few club chairmen out there that don’t understand the benefits either and are more interested in headline figures.

    There’s little doubt AW has a few players he very seriously covets and I think the club would use it’s reserves to get them but there’s also a lot of ‘quality’ players that either don’t suit our intended style of play or AW isn’t convinced they have personality to fit the squad, or the consistency to justify paying the market price for.

  • Menace

    Andrew – I know how these top level BS officials take a huge chunk of seats for their mates. Its part of the greed just like the World Cup & Olympics that want royal treatment. It is time for all of these top heavy organisations to be broken up & re jigged with mandatory 3 year terms for officials.

  • Pat

    Wow, Josif, you have some deep knowledge of European football. Thanks for all that information.

    We had a very nice family holiday in Bulgaria in the 1980s and the food was fine but I can’t remember any sausage.