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August 2021

The (Bad) Luck of the Draw

The (Bad) Luck of the Draw

By Pete

I have not seen anyone remark on this before but, while we have had to overcome dubious refereeing (again), the usual severe injuries (leading the Injury League by a mile.  Again) we have also had the most appalling record with cup draws.


League Cup

3rd Round (32 teams): Away to West Brom, a (then) mid-table PL team who drew with us in the League at about the same time.  We, rather fortunately, prevailed on penalties.

4th Round (16 teams): Home to Chelsea, one of the two sugar-daddy clubs and widely regarded as 2nd favourites for the League.  Unfortunately, Chelsea’s ‘B’ team – probably all or almost all full current internationals – were too strong for our ‘B’ team.

Champions League

Qualifier (pot of 5 teams): Fenerbahce.  Popularly regarded at the time as the hardest team we could have faced – very early in the season an intimidating atmosphere etc.  We sailed through – perhaps our 1st “test” (© The Media).

Group Stage: Marseille, Dortmund, Napoli.  Perhaps the toughest CL group EVER, including last season’s runners up as a 3rd seed!  We squeezed through in 2nd on goal difference (1 goal) with 12 points!  The 2nd seeded team got no points at all.  None. Zip. Null.  Has this ever happened before?  I doubt it…

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Last 16 (5 possible draws): Bayern Munich.  The current Champions, who then strengthened again over the summer.  Probably the best team in the world currently.  And for the 2nd season in a row.

FA Cup

3rd Round (64 teams): Home to Spurs.  Traditional local enemies and perennial rivals for a Top 4 spot.  Fortunately won comfortably, although not without a serious cost in terms of injury.

4th Round (32 teams): Home to Coventry…  A ha!  Maybe the Gods have finally started to smile on us after all!  Although I write this before the draw for the 5th round – so I don’t know yet whether I will be cursing or smiling…

And lo and behold we get Liverpool.

To summarise, I don’t think I can recall a tougher set of draws.  But, apart from the League Cup, we are still alive so let’s keep pressing on.

At least in the League everyone plays the same teams!


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28 comments to The (Bad) Luck of the Draw

  • Super Singh

    As competitors, you want to come up against the biggest and the best? Still slightly lighter the competition the better for our players regarding injurys and suspensions.

    Also wish for a level playing field?

  • ARSENAL 13

    Has any one missed this. Nico has joined Brentford. I hope one day he gets to wear the red and white…..

  • ThomParslow

    unfortunately I think liverpool will progress in the FA cup purely because the tie is a few day before Munich so we’ll rest some key players but also because realistically this is liverpools best chance at silverware this season.
    we could certainly beat them, but with all things considered, i think liverpool will want it more, as we still have the CL and of course PL titles in our sights.

  • Damilare

    Thanks Pete for pointing these out. But imho, I do not think any team has won any cup competition solely because of easy draws. Refereeing and other factors may have contributed to such team’s successes at some point but it won’t just be because of easy draws.

    Our cup shedules look almost insurmountable already. For the same reason, our cup success(ess) would havee be earned and well deserved. afterall, to be the best, you have to beat the best.


  • GoingGoingGooner

    We can look upon our schedule as unfavourable, however I would rather watch a cup tie against a strong club than see us steamroller a poor side. I guess I am phlegmatic about whether we win the cups or not. There is so much luck involved that I would rather embrace the matches than worry about what could have been. After all, I can’t think that Liverpool or Bayern Muenchen have written off our side despite what the media says.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Quite an incredible series of draws this years, have a feeling I know who we will get if we beat Liverpool in the cup as well.
    A bit like the champions league knockout stages , the last five tournaments, we have had Bayern twice, Barca twice and Milan…when they were good in early knockout stages. Guess the lesson is…stop finishing second in the group stages, though will let them off with the group we had this season. You need luck amongst other things in cups.

  • Mike T

    A couple of points regarding the Chelsea V Arsenal CC game

    Yes everyone of the Chelsea players that took part in that game was a full international.In total they have made 535 appearances. The two players with the most caps are Schwarzer with 109 & Eto`o with 112. The two with the fewest are Kalas 1 & Bertrand 2.

    The ironical part is in that game I every Arsenal player was also a full international.In total they have made 495 appearances. The two most capped players are Ozil 52 & Park 61.. The two fewest are Jenkinson with 1 & Miyachi 2

  • Florian


    Can you make a full list of selections side-by-side? I’d be happy to have the whole picture, not just some details.

  • Mike T

    Arsenal Caps Chelsea Caps
    Fabianski 21 Schwarzer 109
    Jenkinson 1 Azpiliceuta 4
    Vermalen 46 Cahill 22
    Kosciney 15 Luiz 33
    Monreal 16 Bertrand 2
    Wilshire 14 Essien 52
    Ramsey 30 Mikel 51
    Carzola 61 Mata 30
    Rosicky 94 Willian 41
    Miyaiachi 2 Eto`o 112
    Betner 56 De Bryne 18
    Park 61 Ramieres 40
    Ozil 52 Ba 17
    Giroud 26 Kallas 1

  • Double canister

    It’s Wilshere, but I’m not spelling saint.

  • Mike T

    Double canister

    Surely its “not a spelling saint”

    I don’t like being pedantic!

  • Florian

    Yep, there are 6 Chelsea players that have more caps than their Arsenal counterpart (Eto’o > Rosicky, Schwarzer > Park, Luiz > Ramsey, Mata > Giroud, Cahill > Fabianski, De Buyne > Monreal and Ba > Kos), and 2 “draws” (Bertrand = Miyaicki, Kallas = Jenkinson). Santi, Bendtner, Ozil and Vermaelen have more caps than Essien, Willian, Mikel and Ramires respectively. Overall it’s 8-6 to Chelsea:D

  • Florian

    Sorry forgot Jack > David

  • Mike T


    Not that it makes a jot of difference but, looking how the two teams were set up

    The numbers are the exact reverse of what you suggest!

  • Mike T


    Looing again the number is a 7-7 draw !

  • Florian

    No idea how SkySports came to that conclusion, but try ordering both sets of players by their caps. I one trust Excel to do a job.

  • Florian

    And for one thing, I believe I know how you got to the 7-7 – you gave Chelski 1 point for “victory”, but didn’t give Arsenal 0.5 points for a “draw”. You biased ref! 🙂

  • Pete

    Mike – Fair comment. Although I did acknowledge that Chelsea were “too strong” for Arsenal that night… But that sort of proves my overall point!

  • Gord

    > Arsenal Under-21s are into the semi-finals of the Under-21 Premier League Cup after an extra-time win over London rivals Chelsea.

    Miyaichi got 74 minutes.

  • Florian

    Thanks for the news Gord! If I remember well, we fell to them last season. Good progress:)

  • Gord

    Now that it is midnight or so in the UK, I see that 3 or 4 Australian newspapers are confident that AW is going to sign.

    There was a thing in the news (Daily Star?) today, about BT Sports. The story was written around Arsenal versus Coventry. But, the way I read “the important part”, is that the person who writes the script for how the program actually plays out, has no background in football.

    And the English Press is still bothered about transfers.

    The Daily Maverick (out of South Africa) has a writeup as to why cricket fans should pay attention to what Coventry fans (and Arsenal fans) did during the game. The title of the Piece is:

    What cricket fans can learn from the Coventry City protest

    Which is hopefully enough for people to find it. 🙂

  • Gord

    Back again.

    Here’s that Daily Maverick article:

    I seen early today (late yesterday?) that Liverpool supporters wanted cheap tickets for their FA Cup clash with us at Emirates. Hey guys, don’t ask here. Bayern Munich has decided to subsidize traveling support to London for Champions League. If Liverpool wants lots of traveling support, Liverpool should do the same.

    Yes, I’ve read that Arsenal has expensive seats. I don’t know who controls the rating system for seat prices. But people seem to complain (in the news) regardless of the price.

    Arsenal set out seat prices to satisfy their needs. Arsenal does not need to subsidize visiting supporters. If visiting fans want to be subsidized, talk to your own club.

    If teams visiting Arsenal have issues (such as Coventry), Arsenal fans have shown they are willing to work with that.

    But, I hardly even get a chance to watch games on TV, usually just the BBC text commentary.

  • Florian

    Here in Seattle most of the matches air between 7AM and 9AM on Saturday, and between 8AM and 10AM on Sunday. Exception makes the Saturday lunchtime match, which is from 4:30AM to 6:30AM. Anyway, the point is, most of the times they are too early for me to watch them live (not a really morning person), so I had to resort to a DVR, or Arsenal Player when NBC is nice enough to skip the Arsenal game that week-end (top of the League, FFS). I believe Alberta is 1h ahead of Washington, but even so, I can understand. The effort to stay away from the Internet until I watch the game recorded is quite sizeable:|

  • menace

    So much going on and Wenger getting drawn into an unnecessary spat re rest periods. The simple way to deal with the FA and TV is to advertise the fact that we are being cheated on our kit for the day. I would also advertise TV competitors if the schedule is corrupt.

    Wengers take on the January transfer window is not wrong but the more incorrect/unfair player movement is loan to teams within the same league. It allows teams to have more than 11 representing them each week albeit in someone elses colours.

  • Rantetta

    Lovely article, thanks Pete.

    Ta for asking the question, Florian, and ta, Mike for answering.

    Ta also for the links to articles (whomever posted ’em).

    Good stuff.

  • rantetta

    Sorry. “Whomever” is Gord.

    Thanks, Gord.
    (Re: the great links you posted).

  • Gord

    Something caught my eye this morning (it is only 6:37am for me). I see another Daily Star article in the news, with a title of “Revealed: …”. I think one of the editors at the Daily Start finally learned how to spell the word “revealed”, and so now they have to use that in most articles they publish.

    Revealed: Wenger to use green pen filled with blue ink to sign deal!

    Revealed: Wilshere ties left shoelace before right shoelace!

    Revealed: Flamini won’t step on wolf spiders!

  • Gord

    You’re welcome Rantetta.