Naming and shaming Arsenal’s potential Champions League opponents

Naming and shaming Arsenal’s potential Champions League opponents

As you will know by now, the Champions League quarter-final draw takes place later today (European time). With seeding out the window and four English clubs still left in the draw there is an enormous 43% chance of Arsenal playing either Manchester United, Chelsea or Liverpool. The other remaining clubs are Roma, Fenerbache, Schalke and Barcelona.

I thought it might be fun to have a quick run through Arsenal’s potential opponents and give a quick overview of who I would prefer to draw and why. Listed below are all seven clubs as well as a ‘Preference’ rating out of ten. Enjoy!

FenerbahceFenerbahce (6/10)

There will be plenty of Arsenal supporters who want to draw the Turks but I’m not one of them. They’ve got a few quality players in Deivid, Mateja Kezman and Roberto Carlos but the main problem I have with Arsenal facing them is that Arsene Wenger’s side would immediately become overwhelming favourites. I don’t think that’s particularly a time when Arsenal play their best (PSV Eindhoven last season, anyone?) and the added unpredictability of Fenerbahce makes me want to avoid them. Having said that, they’re one of the weaker sides and if their name did pop up I wouldn’t exactly be crying either.

Man UtdManchester United (3/10)

No thanks. Not yet, anyway. Whilst I don’t doubt Arsenal’s ability to beat Manchester United over two legs I couldn’t think of anything worse than Alex Ferguson’s side knocking Wenger’s boys out of the Champions League at this stage. Save them for the final, I say.

LiverpoolLiverpool (7/10)

Despite their impeccable history in this competition I honestly feel that drawing Rafa Benitez’s side would be a good outcome for Arsenal. The boys have a really good record against Liverpool and their tendency to play defensive in this competition means that a repeat of the performance against Milan would be a real possibility. I also feel that the William Gallas-Kolo Toure partnership is perfectly suited to nullify Liverpool’s main man Fernando Torres. I wouldn’t be worred if their name popped up.

BarcelonaBarcelona (4/10)

They’re arguably the best side in Europe and although a lot of the Arsenal boys will want to get revenge I’d like to keep away from them if possible. Some might say that having Leo Messi will make a difference and in fairness, it will, but I’d rather the likes of Liverpool or Manchester United get stuck with the job of dumping them out.

SchalkeSchalke (8/10)

In my eyes the German side are the weakest club left in the competition and with that in mind they would be a decent draw. Whilst I previously mentioned Arsenal’s poor history of knocking off sides when they go in as clear favourites, Schalke just don’t have the unpredictable element that Fenerbahce do and in all honesty would probably be easy pickings. Add to that the fact that they don’t have as much of a cauldron of a home ground as the Turkish side and they’re definitely a favourable opponent.

ChelseaChelsea (5/10)

If Arsenal draw them I really do feel they would stand a good chance of beating Chelsea, but they still remain a dangerous side. The Arsenal boys are yet to face Nicolas Anelka in Chelsea colours and Didier Drogba was also missing from their clash earlier this season and it’s fair to say that they would make a big difference. Let’s hope they pick up Manchester United and knock them out instead.

RomaRoma (10/10)

I’m sure a few of you will be scoffing at this, but of all the sides left I really want Arsenal to draw Roma. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, they’re one of the better sides around and that would mean they are one of the few sides that Arsenal would not go in against as overwhelming favourites. I already mentioned that I think this suits Wenger’s side and I reiterate that again. Additionally, Arsenal have tended to do well against Italian clubs over the years. The Roman side themselves as well as Lazio, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus have all struggled to counter Arsenal’s pass-and-movement style of play and I think this Roma side will struggle as well. Finally, on a personal level, I’d love to knock Francesco Totti out the way he knocked out Australia at the 2006 World Cup. Bring them on, I say.

So there you go. Roma first, Schalke second and Liverpool third. Of course, if Arsenal draw one of the less prefered options then I’ll hardly be losing any sleep but it would be nice to see Wenger’s side get one of the those three.

What do you think?

Have your say on Arsenal’s potential opponents by leaving a comment.

42 Responses to “Naming and shaming Arsenal’s potential Champions League opponents”

  1. IndianGooner
    March 14, 2008 at 5:32 pm #

    I would welcome either Roma or barca instead of the pool. IF we get drawn against any of the 3 english team, we would have to play them 3 times within a matter of 2-3weeks.

    Champions League QF Dates: 1/2Apr and 8/9Apr.

    Premier Leaque: Chelsea(A) 23 March
    Liverpool(H) 05 April
    Man Utd(A) 13 April

    if we draw pool, we have to play them 3 times in 8days, which wont be gud. same with manu(12days) or chelsea(18days).

    So I would like to play roma, barca, schalke or Fenerbahce in that order.

  2. 7ty6
    March 14, 2008 at 5:58 pm #

    I would Welcome King Henry back with open arms and a big boo if we defeat them 😉

  3. Gebreyesus
    March 14, 2008 at 6:20 pm #

    I am longing fo a draw with Man utd in front of European best referees.
    Any waqy, I am not worrying about the draw (no one is bigger than Inter) but top players health like Gerard, Torres, Macharano,Sketl, Rena, Alonso and Garagher is my concern.
    Anyone is praying to avoid us as I read talked from their fans.
    Cheers to Live.

  4. John W
    March 14, 2008 at 6:58 pm #

    We will draw Chelski. Believe me!

  5. RvP Fan
    March 14, 2008 at 7:05 pm #

    Grrr…. tho dont forget it was Materazzi’s Oscar winning dive that set him up… I too would like to see them knocked out. Though in some ways, it would be nice for them to play Man Utd (another 7-0 drubbing!)

    I Personally wouldnt mind playing Schalke. I feel they must good be a decent team to go this far, so we must respect them. But, saying that, they probably arent as good as the rest of the pool remaining, so it would be good to play them, as a bit of a warm up for the semi’s!!

  6. Haxor
    March 14, 2008 at 7:05 pm #

    “but top players health like Gerard, Torres, Macharano,Sketl, Rena, Alonso”..

    When are you gonna list the ‘top players’. All you have listed so far are mickey mouse divers.

    We will get Shalke , Roma or Barca.

  7. chris GOONA
    March 14, 2008 at 7:16 pm #

    I was happy to get Liverpool at 1st as well.. but playin them 3 times sounds a bit risky in a short space of time. My prefferd teams are:…

    Schalke, Roma, Barcelona, Liverpool in that order.

    Barca are without Messi, and are no where near as good as they were a few seasons ago, look at their league form. Schalke seems the most comfortable tie… and Roma are Italian so we wuldnt mind that eitha.

    But i have a funny feeling we are goin to get either Man U or Barca.. which is a scary prospect, but u have to beat the best to be the best right. End of the day we can beat any1, all arsenal fans know that, just hope we get a foreign team for now!!

  8. Paulette
    March 14, 2008 at 7:33 pm #

    Here’s hoping to avoid scouse & ManUre – the curse of the north west! Also pray for Kolo to come quickly back to form along side Gallas, we’ll need him at the top of his game.

  9. Shank Barki
    March 14, 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    I want our team to draw Barca now.we will beat them, I am 100% sure..how abt our legend Henry scoring an own goal??But my heart says it will be Roma at Emirates first.Anyways I dont mind facing any one of the english clubs.If its Manu, it would be fantastic.I want gunners to gun down Manu at OT.Livpool and Chelsea are good prospects too.I beleive Grant is dumb-headed and doesnt know the best combination to play in the knockout games..as far as Livpool is concerned, their way of playing waiting game before counter-attacking is dangerous but our players always play well against Livpool.It would be comparitively easy if we draw Fenerbahce or Schalke though.

  10. C-Bass
    March 14, 2008 at 8:24 pm #

    Personally I’d like to avoid Liverpool and ManU.

    Pool have finally (albeit a bit late) found their formation and stride. Torres and Stevie G are linking up wonderfully.

    ManU for the reasons you stated.

    Roma would be great from just a footballers point of view I think. Though the formation differs Roma does like to play quick crisp passing and Totti is back to full form. Their the one team in the Serie A I do make an attempt to follow and I feel a Roma-Arsenal game would be quite a cracker to watch. It really would be up in the air as to who would take it.

    At this point in the competition it’s not going to be easy no matter who you draw.

  11. Gooner4Life
    March 14, 2008 at 8:45 pm #

    Being fair I dont think any team thats made it this far is any mug team. The weakest at a glance is probably Shalke. I think Fernabache and Lazio are being underestimated too much. Remember they beat Inter,Real Madrid, and Seville too. Lazio is getting better every season and they have strenghtened their squad since they were beaten by Man U last season. I would prefer to get a big team so we are playing too a maximum level towards the run up to final. Playing a below Par team makes teams complacent.I think it is better to get a bigger team becoz over two legs any team can attone for a poor performance but I have every faith that Arsenal will be the team everybody want to avoid. Man U will be gr8 so we can shut them up for good. Im getting fed up of the healines of United being the best team ever and Ronaldo being the best player ever!!! Barca in the final just to remind TH14 that the grass is not always greener on the other side.Anyway why are we so scared of facing Pemeirship oppositon we enetered this competition knowing we would have to beat the best and we are clearly the best.So bring them all on. I feel RVP, Cesc n Ade will have a lot to say in this cup.

  12. ArsenalKenya
    March 14, 2008 at 9:05 pm #

    Gooner4life – I fully back your comments.

    RVP, Cesc, Flamini, Ade and of course Almunia will determine the premiership and Champions league titles. If all these players are healthy, on form and with no yellow cards then Arsenal will be the team to beat. Ofcourse players like Hleb, Walcott, Rosicky, Sagna, Clichy and the dancing Eboue need to step up their games starting from tomorrow as we go for some Silverware.

    I fancy drawing Schalke or As Roma. But Wenger seems to predict that we might be facing Fernebache.

    COME ON YOU GUNNERS !!!!!!!!!!!

  13. RvP Fan
    March 14, 2008 at 9:41 pm #

    While it is true that there is a 43% chance we’ll be playing another english team, theres a 57% Chance that we will play a European team. I too agree that now a favourite to reach the final is Barca. By then, they should have Messi back, and will be a formidable foe. While the papers state that Man Utd are the other favourites, I would back Arsenal anyday, and not just because im a major supporter. Any logicaly thinking person would say that Arsenal, having beaten the Old champions the way we did, would be the favourites. Unfortunately, the media cancels out those people.
    Also thinking about it, While we have a 43%chance of drawing and English side, so do the other 3. I would love to watch Chelsea draw Man Utd. A) because Chelsea in my oppinion are a better team, and seem to have a fair ammount of success against Man Utd, barring the cup final at wembly a few yars back, and B) it means that they will be slightly worn out from playing each other, making it easier for us to grab points off them.

  14. Ryan
    March 14, 2008 at 9:46 pm #

    You know Barca are 9 points off Real Madrid in La Liga and I think Messi is out injured. They might have arguably the best squad in Europe, but this season they’re not even the best team in Spain- and Roma beat Real so that’s a pretty promising omen.

  15. Ryan
    March 14, 2008 at 9:46 pm #

    8 points*

  16. ArsenalKenya
    March 14, 2008 at 10:18 pm #

    Draw out

    AS Roma Vs Man U

    Arsenal Vs liverpool

    Chelsea Vs Fernebache

    Barcelona Vs Schalke

    Better the devil we know!!!

    COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!

  17. Gooner Don
    March 15, 2008 at 12:54 am #

    Liverpool will not be easy,just ask the billionaires from the Fulham Road. They are a different team in Europe compared to the premiership. We cannot take them lightly and it doesnt help having to play them in the league in between.
    Once again Chelsea get the easy draw.

  18. Nick
    March 15, 2008 at 3:01 am #

    Arsenal’s had the upper hand on Liverpool for the most part since Wenger took over so it is a good draw for them. If any team can get Liverpool out of Europe, it would be Arsenal.

  19. ramugunner
    March 15, 2008 at 4:38 am #

    Liverpool is not a bad draw for Arsenal. We are more than capable of winning both legs with a fit squad available. Only bad thing is we play them 3 times in 2 weeks. While we have to play our best squad in the league game too but they can rest their key players in the league game at Emirates and bring them fresh in the 2nd leg at anfield. Anfield is one of the toughest place for the away teams. We have to get a good result in the home game and if possible not to concede a goal. Torres is in hot red form at the moment and he will be the main threat for us. He is clinical and can score from nothing. His goal against Inter at san siro is a class goal from a striker. He has already proved he is the best striket in the league. If we can keep him quiet for two legs we will get thru’ easily.
    Also lets hope Roma can get thru’ against Manc and can beat Barca too. My dream final will be Roma vs Arsenal, knowing we will beat them. I don’t care if it will be Barca cause we want REVENGE with Barca and Henry.

  20. C-Bass
    March 15, 2008 at 5:31 am #

    IMHO we just drew the hottest team as of right now outside of ManU. Hopefully they’ll have cooled off a bit by April.

  21. TayGoon
    March 15, 2008 at 6:32 am #

    I like the draw. Liverpool will be a blessing for our premiership chances. Rafa may prioritize UCL over EPL and rest players/not going for a lost cause in both our home games. We need to beat them convincingly in the first game to force his hand for a return leg at Anfield. I don’t understand why people think Liverpool are very hot at the moment. Yes they have stringed together some wins, but they are against Middlesbrough, Bolton, West Ham and Newcastle, hardly a tough ask. I think Roma will give Man U a tough time in Italy a few days before we zoom into town. Depending on how well we come out of Anfield, this could be advantageous to us.

  22. Spanish Fry
    March 15, 2008 at 8:30 am #

    I’m happy with Liverpool. Very happy. No one will be saying we’re overwhelming favourites because of Liverpool’s previous history in the competition but at the same time you’d have to back our chances over two legs. It’s unbelieveable that there is a league game sandwiched in there as well. The pessimists might say that Liverpool could completely ruin our season but I remain optimistic 🙂

  23. Mark
    March 15, 2008 at 9:23 am #

    The other night when Liverpool got through I wrote that I didn’t want us to draw one of the English clubs because they know how to play us and stifle our game. This draw worries me becuase we are not setting the world alight with goals and should Liverpool sneak a goal or two at Emirates we will not go through at Anfield. We need to pick up our scoring rate, not just to get through in this competetion, but to have a healthy goal difference compared to Man Utd as the premiership may be won on goal difference alone. Stop being shot shy and start scoring …bucketfuls of goals.

  24. Le Gunner
    March 15, 2008 at 10:04 am #

    I just don’t get it sometimes when people keep picking who they want to play. If you are a world class team and want to win the cup you have to beat everybody otherwise you are not worthy of being called the champions if we don’t make it to the final then we are not worthy of it. You’ll have to face tough teams at some stage anyway. Rafa will have a game plan and we know what his plan is, they’ll shut up shot at the Emirates and hope to do the damage at Anfield but that is not going to work with Arsenal, they will not be able to attack us at Anfield the way they did with INTER our players are lightning quick on the counter so I can see Rafa shutting down both legs and hope to nick it with a Gerrard or Torres special these are the tactics he used in the past to nock Chelsea out. Hopefully Wenger will have a cunning plan of his own. I can’t see us winning all of the 3 Liverpool games, 2 wins at the Emirates and a draw at Anfield is achievable. If we do most damage at the Emirates we can afford to lose the Anfield tie and go through on aggregate. Its heavy schedule coming ahead. The players will have to run on adrenaline like mad right to the final whistle and then’ll snap out of their adrenaline rush and find themselves holding 2 trophies and that’s the way to do it.
    One more thing, if we don’t win anything this season Flamini will be gone this summer on a free. He still doesn’t want to sign holding out for more money. Cashley is not the only one they are all at it. Money money money.

  25. RvP Fan
    March 15, 2008 at 12:45 pm #

    SF and co.
    I just read online that it looks like Kewell’s contract isnt going to be renewed, meaning that he will be a free agent in the break. How cool is the thought of arsenal signing him? That would be the first aussie playing for arsenal, wouldnt it?

  26. Spanish Fry
    March 15, 2008 at 1:12 pm #

    It would be, but I wouldn’t like him on our books. We already have one Rosicky…

  27. RvP Fan
    March 15, 2008 at 4:08 pm #

    Haha… true. Timmy Cahill would be a nice replacement. Like, we have a great team already, but we need to find a way to stop getting injuries at key moments. Whether that means getting some new players, something im not really in favour of, or some members of staff to keep our current batch healthy. Either way, we need to stop these injuries…

  28. Josh 5111960
    March 15, 2008 at 8:40 pm #

    Almunia
    Sagna-Toure-Gallas-Clichy
    Eboue-Flamini-Fabregas-Hleb
    Adebayor-Van Persie
    Subs:Lehmann-Walcott-Senderos-Denilson-Bendtner
    Arsenal 2 – Boro 0
    Arsenal the boys are good

  29. arsenal malaysia
    March 16, 2008 at 5:24 am #

    owh no..we draw again..

  30. ramugunner
    March 16, 2008 at 6:04 am #

    League race is over for us now. I can’t believe this team will win all the reamaining matches.
    Players didn’t perform to thier level for 4 matches in a row. Arsenal fans didn’t deserve this. Wenger also has to take responsibility for not taking right decision in the janaury. Arsenal cannot afford to win noyhing for 4 years. We have chance in the Champions league but with this team I don’t have confidence. Only players are not to be blamed cause all of them are tired. Lack of depth in squad is costing Arsenal everything.
    It’s a sad day to surrender the league hopes to the rivals. People has started saying that Milan win was a fluke. I don’t accept it was a fluke but players let themselves down with poor showing for a long run after Milan win.
    Finishing third is the most likely situation for us now. It’s a big shame to lose the league which we deserved and were leading from the front for most part of the season.
    Really disappointed. Don’t call me pessimistic cause we have no chance. I was still believing that we will win the league before today’s game but from now SEASON OVER.

  31. ramugunner
    March 16, 2008 at 6:07 am #

    Oh yes that referee was a big p***y Lic***g cunt. Adebayor’s goal shoold have been allowed. With a 1-0 lead we could have thrashed them.
    Now no excuses though.

  32. TrueBlueInd
    March 16, 2008 at 7:04 am #

    Hello guys,

    I have posted a couple of times earlier on this blog. I am a CHELSEA fan. Arsenal is my 2nd favourite team.

    I am really disappointed like most of you over the way Arsenal has been playing in the league over the last month or so. Arsenal deserve to win the EPL for the consistent showing this season, but seriously u guy are blowing it now.

    U guys still have to play Chelsea, liverpool n United in the EPL. I hope u guys can pick up ur form n come out of this slump.This year could be the closest title race ever if Arsenal & Chelsea can get into some decent form.

    All the Best guys.

    Cheers

  33. Nighthawk4900
    March 16, 2008 at 7:35 am #

    all i can say is… Gunners all the way. Go Gunners.

  34. cyfc85
    March 16, 2008 at 8:18 am #

    Gunners FTW!!! Never give up! We are the comeback kings! We can do this!

  35. RvP Fan
    March 16, 2008 at 10:00 am #

    Well Guys, its looking like the whole season is going to come down to one game Arsenal-Manchester Udt. We win that game, we will be ahead. Draw, and things will be awkwardly tight. I have enough confidence that we will escape a loss.

  36. RvP Fan
    March 16, 2008 at 10:03 am #

    Aha.. ahaha.. I actually believe we can do this now. Just saw the rest of the results, and Man Utd could only score one goal agains derby, where Chelsea beat them be 5 goals…. Hmmm… looks promising!!

  37. Le Gunner
    March 16, 2008 at 10:32 am #

    Derby did rattle M.utd Fergie looked a bit concerned which is nice to see but credit to them they got the 3 points.I belive M.utd will drop points and that means we have to win all remaining games which is not going to happen.A loss against Chelsea will give M.utd a 6 points gap then its up to M.utd to throw it away which is very unlikely. Even the champoins league looks tricky now with all the congested fixtures.We can only hope now.

  38. Nighthawk4900
    March 16, 2008 at 11:33 am #

    actually looking at the fixtures… sunday the 23rd will be the most crucial day

    if arsenal can beat chelsea and liverpool can beat man utd then arsenal will keep up with ManU… but our boys need to keep form and win the rest of the games after that, including the manu game to get anywhere i think

  39. Gunner 4 life.
    March 17, 2008 at 3:07 am #

    Thank God we are goin to knock out liverpool, i cant wait to see that hapenin.

  40. john
    March 25, 2008 at 8:43 pm #

    although i like arsenal but it needs to improve.It needs to improve it’s morale, training and ,medical.And i hope they can do it

  41. john
    March 25, 2008 at 8:45 pm #

    and go die chealsea

  42. john
    March 25, 2008 at 8:45 pm #

    i mean chelsea

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