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Champions League Draw & Newcastle Preview 29 August, 2008

Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.

It’s going to have to be a quick one today as I’m meant to be leaving to go down to Bournemouth to sort stuff out for my new house. Got to drop some things down and sign some papers etc. The fun stuff. I’m meant to leave about 10, which is in 2 minutes by my clock. Shit.

Anyway, fuck that, we had a Champions League draw yesterday and it came out like this:

    Group A: Chelsea, AS Roma, Bordeaux, CFR 1907 Cluj
    Group B: Internazionale, Werder Bremen, Panathinaikos, Anorthosis Famagusta
    Group C: Barcelona, Sporting Lisbon, FC Basel, Shakhtar Donetsk
    Group D: Liverpool, PSV Eindhoven, Marseilles, Atletico Madrid
    Group E: Manchester United, Villarreal, Celtic, Aalborg BK
    Group F: Lyon, Bayern Munich, Steaua Bucharest, Fiorentina
    Group G: Arsenal, FC Porto, Fenerbahce, Dynamo Kiev
    Group H: Real Madrid, Juventus, Zenit St. Petersburg, FC BATE Borisov

Initial thoughts are well it could be better but it could be worse. You can’t be too unhappy with it. Some decent sides but none of the really top sides. We wanted to avoid Bayern Munich and PSV etc at this stage and we did that.

Porto won the cup a few years ago but they’re a completely different side now. Fenerbahce did alright last season so they’ll be looking to impress. And out of the 4th seeded teams we drew Dynamo Kiev, they knocked us out in 1998 but they were a top side then and we also had them in our group in the 2003/04 season in which both teams won their home leg.

Danny Fiszman says the main issue with drawing these teams will be the long-distance travel. Porto’s not too bad but Fenerbahce and Kiev are the other side of the continent. I did want to get an away trip in for one of the group games but I might not get a chance. On a side note, Fiszman also says that we’ve got plenty of money to spend, but I haven’t got time to go into that today.

So, next up it’s Newcastle, tomorrow at 5:30pm. We’ll be looking to get back to form in the League this weekend and put that Fulham game behind us. It means we’re already 3 points behind Chelsea and they’re going to be a team hard to catch this season.

Team news, well Walcott and Gallas picked up knee problems against Twente but the manager says he’s ‘optimistic’ about them. He said he’d give us an update later this afternoon on them but I’m guessing they’ll be ok. Samir Nasri had to come off at half time through illness but I’m guessing he’ll be alright for tomorrow.

I would stick with the same team that played Twente, maybe putting Adebayor in. Bendtner had a poor game on Wednesday night, however last weekend he looked lively so you never know with him. Saying that, van Persie hasn’t been playing all too well either. Carlos Vela? That’s a man I’d like to see. I believe Djourou should stay in the starting 11, he’s done well when he’s been given the chance and he and Gallas seem to work well together. I bet Wenger will stick Toure in there though, this is what I think he’ll do:

Sagna – Toure – Gallas (c) – Clichy
Walcott – Fabregas – Denilson – Nasri
Adebayor – van Persie

Not a bad side, we’re not suffering too much from injuries at the moment, which is good. I’m looking for Theo to react positively after his performance on Wednesday, there’s no use in him scoring and playing a decent game then going back to being anonymous again. Robin van Persie needs a good game too, for different reasons.

I think the team will be really up for this one. I really do feel that they’re sorry about last weekend and they want to make it right. Newcastle will come to give us a game though, they’ve started the season well although needing extra time to see off Coventry in the week, hopefully there’s a few tired legs out there tomorrow.

It’s not going to be an easy game, but it’s won I want us to win. I want to be shown some desire to make it into the title race this season and a win here will put us right back on track.

Right I really must go now. If I’m late I’m blaming you. Match Report probably Sunday evening.



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