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April 2021

CL qualifying rounds talk or transfer talk, the choice is simple

By Walter Broeckx

During the silly transfer period rumours that are spouted at a tempo that even would make Usain Bolt look like a turtle we can always try to look a bit further and look at the prospect that awaits us next season.

Talking about silly transfer rumours. I went on twitter and within 10 minutes I read that Cesc has agreed terms with Liverpool. At the same time he has agreed terms with Chelsea. And both Manchester clubs are leading the race to land him. So it is obvious and clear that not all and everyone is saying the truth on twitter. Not that I expect anyone to do so but it still is funny to see the rumours contradicting each other at such high tempo. And people reaction to it in anger, disbelief, believe, hope, throw themselves off the bridge,….

But let us forget who will go where and concentrate on where Arsenal will be going somewhere in August.

Finally the names of the teams that might be our opponents are announced. And I must say a few of those names make me daydream about drawing them.

First of all maybe best to start with the teams that we will certainly NOT play against. Those teams are Porto, Bayer Leverkusen and Napoli. Very strong teams that will enter the qualification round at the same time as us.

Then we have Zenit St. Petersburg who have to play the round before and if they qualify they also would be a seeded team next to the 3 mentioned before and of course Arsenal who is seeded.

And in case Zenit doesn’t make it to that round we will have one other big and difficult opponent out of the way in Athletic Bilbao. So we still might have a trip to Spain on the agenda in August depending on what Zenit does in the qualifying rounds.

But now we will come down to the teams that we have every chance to play against in the CL qualifying round and between brackets you see their Uefa coefficient (Arsenal has 112 by the way):

  • Lille (45)
  • Copenhagen (45)
  • Standard Liege (38)
  • Besiktas (34)
  • Dnipro (32)
  • Panathinakos (30)
  • Feyenoord (13)
  • Grasshoppers (9)
  • AEL Limassol (7)

Now speaking from my own personal point of view I do have a few hot favourites in this group. I know I am being a bit egoistic maybe but if the fortune of the draw would bring us to Lille, Standard Liege or Feyenoord I might be found jumping up and down a bit in joy.

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Standard Liege is the team that finished second in my country and we have been there in the past in the group stages and had a FA cup final type of match with being 2-0 down within minutes and then getting a 2-3 win at the end. Making us sing 2-0 and you f*cked it up. Still a pleasant memory my first CL away match.

Feyenoord is also just a little one hour drive away from my home (oh the advantage of living in a small country so everything seems near) and is something that I also would fancy going too. Feyenoord is one of the big clubs in Holland but one that has fallen back in the last 10-15 years a bit. But last season they seemed to be doing better again.

And then finally we have Lille. Our usual stop when we go to London with the Eurostar and so again only a little journey away from where I live. The most distant of the 3 teams I would prefer us to draw and probably the strongest team to be paired with. The French league is certainly the strongest compared to the Belgium and Dutch league so might be better to not have them.

The other teams are a bit too far for me to visit so if we don’t get any of the 3 teams I mentioned I don’t care who we will face in August. Of course I would love us a rather easy few games to start with and then you look at the names like AEL Limassol or Grashoppers first.

But of course if you have more information about Dnipro or Copenhagen you can always keep us up to date if they might pose us much problems or not.

Much will depend of course on how the players will return who have been to the world cup. If they return in good shape we should expect us to go to the group stages. But you never know. Injuries might happen, players come back tired and have to build up slowly, so we must be sure that we are ready when we have to play the first match on August 19 or 20.

But looking forward to possible first opponents is surely more exciting than reading that Cesc has agreed terms with …better check the ITK again before I say something stupid…

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15 comments to CL qualifying rounds talk or transfer talk, the choice is simple

  • Mick

    Walter, I know we always seem to win when you come to the home matches but is your record just as good when you have been to away matches, are you still a lucky charm?

  • Elkieno

    I am in agreement with Mick, you must attend both games to rub your luck off on them!

  • oldgroover

    I haven’t even considered the Champions League, it seems so far on the horizon, with World Cup, Pre season & Charity Shield to come before. We always seem to make it hard for ourselves, but manage to struggle through, so expect the same again no matter who we draw.

  • Mick,

    We won with Walter at Dortmund and that was a very dicey one. I think the tradition will continue with him attending our away games.

    On the quality of our prelim opposition, I said it a few weeks back that we would likely face a weak opposition as the teams that are likely to give us problem would be seeded. I am delighted to be right (not like I just solved any mystery though).

    I expect Arsenal to qualify over a 2 legged affair against everyone of the listed teams.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I do hope that the team and Walter don’t have to travel too far this season. And to those who will be traveling for games and holidays ,here’s an useful travel advisory .

    Outsmart the con artists when you travel and avoid getting ripped off.
    By Mark Orwoll

    The Newspaper Attack
    Where: Rome

    The Scam: A group of gypsy children surrounds you, waving newspapers
    in your face. The papers are merely to confuse you and block your view
    as the youths reach into your pocket and grab your bag—or anything
    else they can get their hands on.

    Advice: Firmly brush past them and move away quickly—and shout for
    help if you need it.

    The Bus 64 Sting
    Where: Rome

    The Scam: Bus 64 passes many of Rome’s most famous historic sights, so
    it’s hugely popular with tourists—and pickpockets. Working in teams of
    three or four, the thieves go after wallets, cameras, and other small
    valuables, usually by causing a disturbance such as slipping on stairs
    that takes your attention off your belongings. (likewise at
    Supermarket stairs or elevators)

    Advice: Always secure your property and keep it close, especially when
    traveling on crowded buses and trains.

    Duty Free Items
    Where: Bangkok

    The Scam: As has been reported in the press recently, this crime
    involves a traveler who is arrested for handling merchandise in the
    airport duty-free shop. Once in custody, the victim is introduced to a
    middleman who says he can gain the traveler’s freedom—for a fee. The
    police, in on the deal, split the payment.

    Advice: Don’t touch items in duty-free shops unless you intend to buy them.

    The Hot Dog Trick
    Where: Airports

    The Scam: The perp “accidentally” squirts mustard on you while eating
    a hot dog (it’s really a tube of mustard in a bun). Full of apologies,
    he clumsily tries to help clean up the mess while an accomplice walks
    off with your carry-ons.

    Advice: Always place your bags between your legs in a public setting,
    whether you’re sitting or standing.

    The Brass Ring
    Where: Paris

    The Scam: A passerby finds a gold ring on the sidewalk near you and
    agrees to sell it to you for a ridiculously low sum. You soon discover
    that the buy of a lifetime is made of brass.

    Advice: There are no lost gold rings on the streets of Paris or
    anywhere else. Just say non.

    The Bracelet Scheme
    Where: Rome and Paris

    The Scam: “Someone, usually quite charming, comes up to you offering
    directions or sightseeing advice. Suddenly, the person ties a woven
    bracelet around your wrist in a double knot, then demands payment. If
    you refuse, he screams that you’re stealing the bracelet,” says Karen
    Schaler, author of Travel Therapy. Victims are often so unnerved that
    they end up paying the handful of euros.

    Advice: Beware of overly friendly people who approach you on the
    street offering courtesies you neither want nor need.

    The Lube Job
    Where: East Africa

    The Scam: You drive into a small town, and a helpful bystander points
    out that your wheel bearing is hemorrhaging oil. “In fact,” says
    Lonely Planet Publications cofounder Tony Wheeler, “the bystander has
    just sloshed a cup of oil onto your wheel, and tells you there’s a
    garage around the corner that’ll fix your problem.” The garage owner
    is in on the con, charges an inflated rate, and splits the take with
    the bystander. (understand they have the same tricks for putting nails
    on the road in Indonesia)

    Advice: Be wary of someone who points out a problem you didn’t know
    you had, then offers to help you get it fixed.

    The Taxi Driver Trick
    Where: Istanbul

    The Scam: You’re paying a fare with a 50-lira note. The driver drops
    it on the floor and switches it to a 5-lira bill, which looks very
    similar. He then argues with you that you’ve shortchanged him.

    Advice: If this happens to you, call the police by dialing 0090155
    from your U.S. cell phone or 155 from a Turkish phone. The police know
    this old trick, and the driver stands to lose his license.

    The Fake Art Show
    Where: Beijing and Shanghai

    The Scam: Young and convincing “art students” befriend you on the
    street and persuade you to visit their school’s gallery, where you
    find yourself getting a high-pressure sales pitch to buy overpriced,
    third-rate work being passed off as art.

    Advice: Steer clear of anyone in China inviting you to an art show.

    The Rip-off Joint
    Where: Cities around the world

    The Scam: Two male travelers in an unfamiliar city meet two pretty
    young women who invite them to a private room in a bar. When the bill
    comes, it is hugely inflated. The bartender demands cash (no credit
    cards, of course), and the doormen tell the travelers to pay up and

    Advice: Beware complete strangers who offer to take you to a bar or nightclub.

    The Tumbling Woman
    Where: London but could happen anywhere.

    The Scam: “If there’s a commotion, assume it’s a fake to distract the
    victim of a pickpocketing or purse snatching,” says travel guru Rick
    Steves of “For example, someone, usually an elderly
    looking woman, ‘falls’ down an escalator in the London Underground.”

    Advice: “Step back,” says Steves, “and watch your valuables.”

    The Gypsy Baby Toss
    Where: Italy, Eastern Europe

    The Scam: Here’s a variation of the Newspaper Attack, as told by Peter
    Greenberg, travel editor of CBS News: the victim—usually a single
    female traveler—is approached by a gypsy woman carrying a baby in a
    blanket, who tosses the child into the arms of the victim. Cohorts
    grab the victim’s purse, wallet, camera, and anything else they can
    snatch amid the confusion. After the crooks run away, the victim
    discovers that the “baby” is nothing more than a doll.

    Advice: Avoid gypsies and beggars on the street, and move away if they
    try to approach you.

    The Snatch and Follow-up Steal
    Where: Barcelona

    The Scam: As travelers with suitcases wait for a cab, a man rides by
    on a bicycle, slices the strap of a seemingly random woman’s purse,
    and rides off with it. As the sympathetic travelers drop their bags to
    give chase, an accomplice swoops in and attempts to make off with the
    abandoned booty.

    Advice: Hide your valuables – money, passport, and credit cards – in
    your inner pockets, in a money belt, or anyplace else where they are
    difficult to grab.

    The Missing Cash
    Where: Moscow

    The Scam: A pedestrian bumps against you and drops something. “If you
    pick it up and attempt to return it, you’ll find you’ve got a bagful
    of banknotes and a bagful of trouble,” says Tony Wheeler. “That’s when
    the careless cash-dropper accuses you of removing some of the money.”
    Of course, the bad guy turns out to be willing to forget the whole
    incident in exchange for a fistful of rubles.

    Advice: Don’t be afraid to call someone a crook, loudly, and walk
    away. Often the last thing they want is for the police to become
    involved, because the police know about most of these scams already.

    The Fake Palace Guides
    Where: Bangkok

    The Scam: Official-looking guides approach travelers in the streets
    surrounding Bangkok’s Grand Palace, away from the main entrance.
    They’ll tell you, convincingly, that the palace is closed to visitors
    that morning, but that they’d be happy to take you on a “private

    Advice: Ignore them, and check for yourself at the main gate. “In many
    countries,” says Anthony Dennis, editor of Travel + Leisure Australia,
    “it’s usually best to arrange for a certified guide through your

    The Security-Checkpoint Scam
    Where: Airports

    The Scam: Before you walk through the metal detector at airport
    security, a person from behind cuts ahead of you. As he tries to walk
    through the metal scanner, the alarm rings and the line comes to a
    halt; it turns out he has “forgotten” to remove his keys and loose
    change. “Meantime,” says Peter Greenberg, “his accomplice has gone
    through ahead of you and is picking up all your stuff from the
    conveyor belt and leaving with it.”

    Advice: Avoid placing your tray of valuables on the X-ray machine
    conveyor belt until you are ready to walk through the metal detector,
    and keep an eye on your belongings as they come out the other side.

  • nicky

    Regardless of the team we will be drawn against in the pre-qualifying, I look forward to seeing the new blood included in OUR team for the occasion.
    I feel that for once we will be surprised at the number of new faces.

  • Elkieno

    Bricks: I can’t believe I read all that!
    I saw a doco one day where the host of show was a stage show performer at Las Vegas, his show is all about pick pocketing people and he is excellent at it too. Anyway he goes to Rome to find the infamous professional pick pockets and hang out with them. He gets their attention by posing as a target on a bus, someone is videoing the whole scene from couple meters away. 1 guy distracts him and another lifts his wallet, the host knows the trick then tells them the wallet is empty. Eventually he gains their trust and they go to a park where they show him everything they know. He then feeling like he is part if the group, shows them how to take off someone’s belt, which he admits was not a very smart thing to do!
    So now the Roman thieves know how to remove your belt, necklace and other items from places previously thought secure, like the money belt.
    In any case it was a very interesting show…
    Oh one more thing, COYG!!!!

  • para

    Nicky, i really think so too.
    Can’t wait for next season to start.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mick and others asking: I must say that it has been since we lost 0-1 to Newcastle at home in I think 2009-2010(???) that I have seen us lose another game in the flesh. Away matches in the CL at Dortmund (twice) and Schalke all went without defeat. And for last season I only have seen us win at the end even when just being in London (FA cup final) but in the Emirates.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oh that defeat against Newcastle…one guess who was the referee that day…. F*cking Dean it was…

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Elkieno – It think I saw that documentary ,but not sure if he joined them . Just exposing the scam.
    You’ve probably seen this popular one on you tube –

    and countless stories of millionaire beggars all over the world .An example of which is this …

  • Brickfields Gunners

    On the other hand we have the great donors – of time ,money ,compassion , love….


  • Brickfields Gunners

    While in Brazil , watch out for those sexy men and women who would try to con or impress you by padding up their ‘valuables ‘ !
    Some often fail….

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And on some Brazilian beach you may encounter an older macho man….

  • Gord

    For those who want something different for their news. Renovation to the surface at the Emirates is continuing, and has pictures. Me running Linux, the only picture I can see is the lead picture at top of story, the rest are black with a red border on top.

    But, in that lead pictures I don’t see that anything has been buried under the grass at Emirates (nothing swept under carpet, so to speak).