Thoughts on a tricky UCL tie + A “Different” Members Day
It was Members Day yesterday and fans got an opportunity see the players train. It is usually a relaxed and enjoyable event, but this year’s edition had a different atmosphere to it.
Apart from the weather which almost crippled the entire event, there was some tension in the air. With rumours rife that the club were set to take two pictures, one with Cesc and one without him, the rain denied fans what they really wanted to see.
A number of “rituals” were also avoided for reasons best known to the organizers. Normally, the players would be introduced to the fans and they’d come out one by one to a rapturous applause. Yesterday however, they all came out at once.
The best guess is the club tried to avoid a controversy due to the uncertainty surrounding the future of some key players. That being said, it was great to see Cesc and other want-away stars train with no qualms.
Apparently, we rejected another bid of around £29m from Barcelona today. The drama continues and we can expect it to last until August 31st…if he has not left before then.
Meanwhile, the Champions League Draws for the qualifying phase were made today. We get to play Udinese over two legs for a place in the Group stages.
Given our options, we could have drawn a much easier team, but we didn’t and we’ve got to deal with that. Even though Udinese sold 3 of their best players this summer, they still have some really good players, Antonio Di Natale, Kwadwo Asamoah, Pablo Armero, Mauricio Isla et al.
Also, the fact that we play the first leg at home makes me a bit worried. Our home form hasn’t been the best, and we need to kill this tie at home. Anything less than a 2-goal lead is not good enough. Having said that, we have been taught that even a 4-goal lead does not assure us of an Arsenal win.
August will be a very decisive month for us, we play Newcastle away, Liverpool at home, Udinese at home, Man United away and Udinese away. Yet we are still a couple of players short and we do not have as much time as we think.
Should results go against us, we may have lost ground in the race for the EPL title and not qualify for the UCL, even before the transfer window closes. But even though we cannot rule out the possibility of such a disaster, I very much doubt things will get that bad.
I’ve watched us go to Milan twice, Turin and Roma, and we came out victorious on each of those occasions. It’s only a matter of adding Udinese to that list.
Any thoughts? Please share them below.