Who do you fancy in February?

Written by chas

When the draw was made for the group stage back in August, there was mixed reaction from the gooner faithful. Dortmund were deemed the strongest of the pot 4 teams and Otelul Galati perhaps the weakest. No surprise when Arsenal got Dortmund and the mancs were drawn with Otelul. Suggestions of United paying for an easy group were obviously wide of the mark (let’s hope they kept the receipt). The Mansour mercenaries seemed to have a tough group but most thought the £82m they spent in the summer to add to the £130m they spent the previous summer plus January would mean they would be strong enough to progress.

Esteemed blogger RA had a punt at the final 16 and was unlucky to predict only 9 of them correctly.


Who would have thought that both teams from the north west would get dumped into the Europa League and the London clubs in crisis would both finish top of their respective groups?

Today we could be drawn against FC Vaslui, FC Metalist Kharkiv……..no, hang on a minute, these are possible opponents for the Manche5ter teams in the Spursday Challenge Trophy. (draw to be held after the important business is finished)

The UEFA Champions League round of 16 draw in Nyon will be streamed live on UEFA.com from 11am GMT. Seeded group winners will be away in the round of 16 first legs on 14/15 and 21/22 February and at home in the return matches on 6/7 and 13/14 March. No team can play a club from their group or any side from the same association.

The draw for the remainder of the competition will be held on 16th March with the Champions League Final to be staged at the Allianz Arena München on 19th May 2012.

Our possible opponents in the Round of 16 are Napoli, CSKA, Basel, Lyon, Bayer Leverkusen, Zenit St Petersburg and AC Milan

Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli

Vanquishers of the Lancastrian Oilers, Napoli are the most successful club in Southern Italy. Reputed to have been joint-founded by two English sailors in the 1900s, the club was threatened with bankruptcy and extinction in 2004 until Neapolitan film producer Aurelio De Laurentis stumped up the cash to keep the SS Napoli afloat.

Napoli looked sharp in the group stage finishing behind Bayern on 11 points. Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani looked dangerous and is their current top scorer (El Cashico derby participants are  both said to be interested). Both the stylish Slovakian Marek Hamsic and Argentinian Ezequiel Lavezzi also impressed, especially on the counter attack.

Would Naples be a delightful place to go in the early spring?

CSKA Moscow

The ‘A’ in CSKA stands for Army but the club is no longer a section of the Russian military’s CSKA sports club. However the Russian Ministry of Defense is a still a CSKA shareholder and the club benefitted from a major cash injection from Sibneft (Abramovich) in 2004. Nicknamed ‘The Horses’ ( their first training facilities were located in a building previously used as a Prince Yusupov’s stable) or the ‘Army Men’, CSKA finished the group stage as runners up to Inter with 8 points with both Trabzonspor and Eden Hazard’s Lille close behind.

It is reported that CSKA have retired the shirt number 12 as the supporters are regarded as the club’s 12th man. Romanian Ianis Zicu is current top scorer.

How would Arsenal respond to a chilly trip to Moscow in late February?

FC Basel

Founded in 1893, FC Basel are one of the most successful clubs in Switzerland having a fierce rivalry with both Zurich teams (FC Zurich and Grasshoppers). In the 2001–02 season the club reached the UEFA Intertoto Cup final, losing to Aston Villa. One of the early club captains was Joan Gamper, who later founded FC Barcelona in Spain.

Basel played well at the Theatre of (Howard Webb’s wet) Dreams and perhaps should have won. Current top scorer is Alexander Frei and Fabian Frei has also chipped in with a couple of goals from midfield.

Basel knocking the mancs out the CL has to be one of the highlights of our shadenfreude season so far. Listening to Fergie’s voice mail the day after Basel’s victory may help you re-live the unbridled joy of that night.

Olympique Lyonnais

Lyon only came to prominence in France in 2002 with their first Ligue 1 championship followed by an amazing six more successive titles. Managed by ex-gooner Remi Garde, Lyon are very popular in France on a similar level to PSG and only beaten in the popularity stakes by Marseille.

There was nothing dodgy at all about their 7-1 victory over Dinamo Zagreb, allied to Ajax’s 3-0 defeat to Madrid which resulted in Lyon’s qualification for the last 16. They are a classy French side who regularly develop players and then sell them on at a large profit.

Current players include Jimmy Briand who apparently makes a nice steak at his chateau and current top scorer Bafétimbi Gomis. Yoann Gourcuff runs their midfield and is often touted as a possible Wenger signing.

Maybe the short trip to France would be seen as a good draw for the Gunners?

Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Leverkusen play at the BayArena which has the reputation of being one of the most family-friendly football stadiums in Germany. Ironically, Bayer 04 was the first Bundesliga club whose fans identified themselves as Ultras.

The club and their fans have started to be proud of their industrial origins, calling themselves “Werkself” (Engl. “Factory team”, “Millhanders”) or “Pillendreher” (Engl. “Tablet twisters”).

This, in response to taunts from fans of the traditional clubs who denounce Bayer Leverkusen as being a “plastic club”, without traditions or a committed fan base, existing solely as a creation of their rich pharmaceutical company sponsor – Bayer AG. (Engl. “shit club, no history”)

Leverkusen were runners up in group E to Roman’s gimcracks, pushing Valencia into 3rd. Top scorer this season is Eren Derdiyok who is a 6’ 3” Swiss striker of Turkish descent. Michael Ballack is still lumbering around in Leverkusen’s midfield looking haughty.

Perhaps another trip to Germany is in the offing to warm us up for a return trip in May?

Zenit St Petersburg

Zenit’s history is closely linked to the steel industry in Saint-Petersburg and the club seems to have resulted as a merger of several clubs including Leningradsky Metallichesky Zavod nicknamed the “Stalinets” (stal means steel in Russian) and the Zenit sports society which was the All-Union Voluntary Sports Society for workers of the arms industry.

So far Zenit’s finest achievement in Europe has been to win the UEFA cup in 2008 playing some fine football and beating Rangers in the final when the man of the match was declared as our very own, Andrei Arshavin.

They finished second to Apoel Nicosia in group G, perhaps the hardest group to call, with Porto reduced to Europa League football and Shakhtar Donetsk out of Europe altogether.

They are managed by an Italian, Luciano Spalletti and play at the magnificent-looking Petrovsky Stadium built on an island in the Neva River. (Looks lovely in the sun, might be a touch parky at the end of February)

Maybe this tie would spark our Russian powerpack back into life?

AC Milan

Milan was founded in 1899 by Nottingham-born lace-maker Herbert Kilpin and businessman Alfred Edwards among others.

Herbert in his Milan strip and Alfred carrying the match ball

The association with England resulted in the Cross of St George being incorporated into the Milan badge.

Milan has a squad full of household names and are currently a close third in Seria A.  Zlatan Ibrahimovic is on a good scoring run, aided and abetted by Robinho (when he gets a game) and Kevin-Prince Boateng amongst others.

In Conclusion

I’m not sure who I’d prefer in the draw. When we reached the final in 2006, we drew Real Madrid in the last 16, so who knows?

Looks like a fine stadium to visit!


184 Responses to Who do you fancy in February?

  1. Amusing prelude to the draw in an hour and a half Chas – I’ll have to listen to the Fergie voice mail later but I’m sure it’ll be a champagne moment.

    A bit of trivia just came to mind, is the de Laurentis you refer to in the Napoli section any relation to the director of several turkeys of 1970’s and 1980’s TV and film Dino de laurentis ?

    If you were watching a Dino de Laurentis effort you know you’d be in for a fairly “quirky” production, however Flash Gordon and Dune had their own weird charm(the former NOT for the crappy Queen sound track).

    Back to the question – I’d go for Basel, just to show up the Mancs for the “Emperors new clothes” of a team that they really are.

  2. MickyDidIt89 says:


  3. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Wow. Superb and comprehensive post.
    That Fergie clip is hysterical. Dalglish is superb. So, so funny.
    As for who, well obviously Basel would be a walk in the park 🙂

  4. gunnerpete says:

    I would prefer the lads to have a shortish journey to a slightly warmer clime that Russia. So, Milan, or the french would be interesting, but Im sure Levekusen would be beatable. By then we may have a few players back.

    Have you noticed how the Manc press have bleated about their ‘huge’ injury list? Not a bloody word when for 3 seasons running AFC had the worst long term injury list in the UK and still finished in the top four.

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    WOW, Chas, thanks for a truly fantastic post 🙂

    It is full of information and humor (‘Vanquishers of the Lancastrian Oilers, Napoli are the most successful club in Southern Italy’ for example), and you have set the standard for pre-draw posts from now onwards. Great pictures and video as well.

    I prefer to avoid the Italian clubs and Lyon, but we can beat them all on the day. Isn’t it just amazing we’re playing CL knock-out footie once again this season?! Oh to be a Gooner!!!!

  6. Big Raddy says:

    chas. Super post. Lots of good research which is always fun to find and good to read. Interesting about the English connection to AC..

    I would like the Germans.

  7. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Just read the post again. Its very good.
    This: “Today we could be drawn against FC Vaslui, FC Metalist Kharkiv……..no, hang on a minute, these are possible opponents for the Manche5ter teams in the Spursday Challenge Trophy”, and the Fergie Clip have had me in tears again.

  8. Big Raddy says:

    gunnerpete. When I checked last week AFC were top of the injury league with 9 players out.

    Shame we do not get silverware for that

  9. Big Raddy says:

    love that Fergie clip. The Dalgleish impression is wonderful

  10. Hjorvar says:

    Basel it is, would be fun for the ManU fans.

  11. Agreed Hjorvar – we will show them how it’s done.

    Mdi89 – what have you done with Evonne – she’s disappeared ?

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Chas, having read the post again, and thinking back about the videos/pictures you contribute to AA in general, it becomes so obvious what a total fan of football you are. I love the respect you pay all the other teams by researching them and highlighting their special points of interest to us. Top stuff – you should do posts more regularly 🙂

  13. Well it’s looking less likely we’ll be getting a left back in January, Wenger said this morning that Gibbs could be back for the Villa game.

  14. Big Raddy says:

    That is good news

  15. goonermichael says:

    Great post. There is a cross of St George in the barca badge too I think. Whoever we get I think we can progress.

  16. Red Arse says:


    I have just got back from a morning constitutional, covered in snow from top to toe, and been greeted by a neighbour’s little girl who yelled at her mum “it’s an ‘orrible snowman”!

    I smiled at her mum and said her daughter obviously meant ‘abominable snowman’ and she looked at me blankly with that ‘whatever’ gaze in her eyes. So, “‘orrible” it is! 🙂

    Chas, that preamble was helping me to put off the moment when I am going to make you blush.
    I recognized early on that you were a video whizz, – a genius even – 🙂 and said so at the time, now I have to tell you that you simply must write more often.
    You have a very engaging and delightfully direct grasp of both prose and syntax (perhaps unknowingly 🙂 ) which makes your script very easy reading, and now you have also added educational research to your skills, a la Raddy.

    Well done, sir! You are to be commended!! 🙂


    Great stuff Chas. You have wetted my appetite for Euro away days. I dont mind who we get to be honest, we will beat them whoever it is.
    Cant wait to experience Allianz stadium in Munchen, i started making preparations for the final about a month ago. Have a feeling Barca will be joining us, but this time it will be them going home empty handed.

  18. Red Arse says:


    You ask in the title ‘who do you fancy?’ well, unlike our MerryT (TerryM Xmas version) :-), my appetite is not whetted by thoughts of the Euro away days, it’s that beautiful asian girl who is the Sky News weather reporter.

    Damn my politically incorrect socks! 🙂

  19. That’ll be Nazaneen Ghaffouur eh Redders ?

    Not my bag usually (I favour the Scarlett Johansson types)but I see your point in this case.

  20. goonermichael says:

    Just googled her. She’s ok (nice tits) But not really my cup of tea. Was that politically incorrect?

  21. evonne says:

    Chas – wonderful post, thank you so much! Needless to say I did not know half as much about our potential opponents as I do. It was so good of you to do such comprehensive research.

    The ‘Struggling’ video has to be the hit of the year!
    This and Arry’s ‘I’m a fucking football manager’ are classics.

    I don’t care whom we get. I am going to be as nervous as hell if it’s Basel or Milan. I envy you for looking forward to the games, for me it is agony. Always.

    Thanks once again, one of the best posts this year!

  22. evonne says:

    Chary – I was marching the German (and 2 chinks) in the woods. The worst Micky can do to me is have me in stitches

    …telly on…

  23. Red Arse says:

    Spot on CharyB!

    What an absolute beauty Nazareen is.

    I used to have a wonderful Indian girlfriend some years ago, who looked very much like her, but the pressures from her family, who were originally from Uganda, I think, put her under so much stress that we had to call it a day. 😦

  24. evonne says:

    GM – yes! Ageist

  25. That’s a bit naughty/non-PC Evonne, the dogs you were taking for a walk in the woods(other than the german).

    A bracing walk in the cold for you although I suspect the snow had stopped by then.

    So we’ll be playing the away leg first, in February.


    If by some miracle we dont make the final, keep a look out for me come May. i will be easy to spot, donned in full Arsenal kit arm in arm with Nazaneen Ghaffouur who shall be giving me understandable loving attention whilst i attempt to please her and watch the match at the same time.

  27. Red Arse says:

    MerryT, Bastardo!

    Now you have ruined all my dreams!!!

  28. goonermichael says:

    Don’t be nervous about Basel. 🙂

  29. evonne says:

    GM – I am nervous as hell. I think I’d prefer the Italian mob, we know we can beat them

    Chary – they love it, we were there for over an hour and they didn’t want to come back. I did though 🙂

  30. goonermichael says:

    I just got an image of you and her in the stadium. evonne you are a naughty girl!!

  31. goonermichael says:

    That really would be multi tasking Terry

  32. evonne says:

    oh come on, get on with it, the long chat

  33. Big Raddy says:

    Nazareen doesn’t do it for me ….. too young 😀

    We smashed AC in the San Siro a couple of years ago so they will be terrified about drawing us. Shame we cannot get rid of the Chavs in this round.

    We are capable of beating any of the potential opponents.


    Dont worry Evonne, we will beat who ever we get. We are going to win it this year.

    Sorry Redders, i thought i would be doing you a voyestic favour by flaunting her for you haha.

  35. evonne says:

    bloody lucky chavs

  36. evonne says:

    feck, there we go, no surprises – Milan again

  37. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning all, any draw yet?

    I’m watching on Beeb website.

    Nice post Chas, love Zenits stadium, perhaps Spuds can do the same and build one somewhere deep in the Thames Estuary (or near the Olympic Stadium as it seems thats so important to them to get away from us!) somewhere under the Dartford Crossing would be good.

  38. Arsedave says:

    I watched the highlights of AC – Barca, AC look a top team again, Robhino missed an absolute sitter from 2 yards out, that could have changed things. I think the Germans would be our best bet, we don’t want Zenit because of the travelling and not Lyon, they are a well organised European outfit these days.

  39. Gooner In Exile says:

    The sooner Milan come out the pot the better!

  40. Big Raddy says:

    There we go …. both English teams go to Italy., and the UEFA darlings get the easy draw (quelle surprise)

  41. Gooner In Exile says:

    Fuck…..i hadn’t seen that at 11:19am.

    Shite draw, of all the teams we could have got we ended up with undoubtedly the toughest! Rigged!

  42. evonne says:

    Raddy – I thought I loved Italy? Rather Italy than Russia or Germany for me

  43. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Where is the glory in beating a poor side.

    If we have to go down, let it be in flames!!

    I really think we can beat them. Is the home leg second?

  44. Arsedave says:

    Don’t belive it AC Milan, well if we’re going to win it, win it in style. Good trip anyway, nice city off to book my flights now before the prices rise.

  45. Ah nuts, just our luck to get a resurgent AC.
    UEFA have never, and will never, give us a decent draw. Bet Platini is laughing his arrogant head off. 😦
    Sturm und drang !

  46. Arsedave says:

    Bet ManUre get an easy tie again

  47. Gooner In Exile says:

    Yes as winners of group we get home leg second.

    I’m sure we can beat them but it would be nice for once to go somewhere be 3-0 up after the first leg and come home and coast it.

    Also there is the small matter of a further payout for progressing past the Round of 16.

    At least this season it is fate rather than Group failings.

    Oh and Fuck Off Cesc!

    CescFabregas on Twitter: Woooow Arsenal vs Milan!!!! What a draw!!!!

  48. goonermichael says:

    That was obviously going to happen. I think we’ll beat them


    We will beat Milan, we are simply the better team and destiny is with us this year,

    GM, its lucky ime ambidextorous.

  50. Red Arse says:

    I think GIE has a point about rigging.

    In the practice draw, that UEFA always do to check for glitches, guess who we drew? AC Milan.

    In the official draw who did we get? AC Milan.

    Rigging the draw is one thing but to practice it first is a bit OTT.

  51. Gooner In Exile says:

    To be fair now looking at the full draw the only piss easy game is Lyon’s.

    Every other game has an alement of danger for the bigger sides

  52. Red Arse says:


    I will match your sturm und drang with ….. Donner und Blitzen!! 🙂

  53. I’ll raise you a Prancer and a Dancer Redders!

  54. LB says:

    For me that is a good draw, I certainly prefer Milan to Napoli, I like the idea that we are the underdogs and that Milan will approach the game expecting to win and because of which they will come onto us which will leave space for Gervinho and Walcott to exploit. We struggle far more when teams sit back the last being Fulham but Milan will come out with all guns blazing and we will be ready and waiting.

    Good post Chas

  55. Big Raddy says:

    I trump your Donner and Blitzen with Dasher and Dancer. (RA will get it!)

  56. chas says:

    Thanks for all the kind comments. 🙂

    I like the draw.
    AC Milan were hardly setting the world alight in the group stage, drawing with both BATE and Plzen.

  57. Big Raddy says:

    Chary …. great minds….

  58. Red Arse says:


    On reflection, I can see that you were only thinking of my welfare, re Nazareen.

    She is 5’2″, so for you to court a much taller girl is devotion to a fellow Gooner which is truly appreciated! 🙂

  59. goonermichael says:

    It is rigged. Does anyone remember the Liverpool thing when someone posted the whole draw before it was made?

  60. Red Arse says:

    Raddy, 🙂

  61. Big Raddy says:

    JW should be fit in Feb as will Sagna and Santos – hopefully

  62. Arsedave says:

    Please remind me of the Liverpool thing

  63. We are of a like mind Radders.

    Are ytou still coming into London from Blackheath on Boxing day ?

  64. LB says:

    If it is rigged it is rigged in our favour, far better Milan than some banana skin of a back water team. If we go out, we go out proud and fighting.

  65. goonermichael says:

    Don’t think Santos will unfortunately Raddy. Sagna and Jack should though

  66. Big Raddy says:

    Of course the draw is rigged. Nothing new but we have to cope with UEFA’s bias. We beat RM, we have beaten AC and Inter and recently the German champs.

    There is nothing to fear but fear itself

  67. Red Arse says:

    Anyway, leaving aside the irritation with the suspicious draw, aren’t they fantastic games to look forward to?

    I love supporting Arsenal anyway, but to be involved in games like that which the Mancs and Spuds would love to be playing in is icing on the cake.

    AC Milan will not be too happy!!

    Love it!

  68. goonermichael says:

    A few years ago someone posted the full draw on a blog before it was made. All 16 were correct. Uefa said it was a fluke

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    Not a great draw and oh so predictable. At least Jack has a date to focus on now. Barca, RM and Bayern are laughing their heads off: at the last eight two out five English-Italian sides will be out at least. Gracias, Vielen Dank UEFA.


    Exactly Redders, shes much to short for you. Why should all the tall good looking guys get all the women anyway? Ime doing this for all the Wig wearing, height incresing shoe wearing, face like a cauliflower men everywere.

  71. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Well, its a bollocks from me, not because its Milan the football team, but because I had high hopes of us nabbing Pato. That’s that then.
    Away first leg, no problem.

  72. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I noticed how carefully the little fella in the x-ray specs was staring at the balls in the second bowl before plucking two out to go in the first bowl.
    Still, not bothered about playing Milan as I think their style will suit us, especially with the away leg first. Has 1-0 to The Arsenal written all over it 🙂

  73. goonermichael says:

    Websites all saying we have a “nightmare” draw. Typical. the mancs will get an easy draw because they are in a second rate competition that is full of easy draws.

  74. Big Raddy says:

    Looking forward to seeing Ibra and Robinho (who cost more than the whole AFC team together) get “owned” by Kos and TV.

    And AC have the 34 y.o Zamrotta at FB. I am sure he will relish beating roasted by our flyers! As will Mexes look forward to watching RvP float passed him and as for the 35 y.o Nasta …..

    What Ac do have is a very tasty midfield with a rejuvenated Aquilani and the geriatric but violent Van Bommel and Seedorf still influential

  75. goonermichael says:

    Udinese are above milan and we knocked them out.

  76. GM – don’t think Jack’ll be ready for the first leg, Wenger said will Jack back in mid-feb but I reckon probably not match fit.

    I suspect we will see him at the tail end of the season, rather like the Verminator last season.

    At the moment Jack occupies the “Chief Twitterer” position in the Arsenal squad as his on field contribution(through no fault of his own admittedly) so far this season is zilch.

  77. goonermichael says:

    Is Tevez cuptied?

  78. fatgingergooner says:

    Would rather Milan than Napoli.

    Team full of show ponies who can be got at with our new iron grit!

    Not too worried tbh.

  79. goonermichael says:

    Tevez refused to warm up in a Euro match but I think he may have played one before that.

  80. You’re right GM, Tevez made a sub appearance against Napoli in September.

    So he is cup tied.

    Of course the AbuDhabiFC can send a generous “donation” to UEFA to get that overturned naturellement, as is the way of Arabs in football, allegedly.

  81. pat says:

    fantastic work chas great post great info.

    I dont think AC Milan would be that happy to be playing us. On the same token we are in the champs league so we aren’t playing any easy beats here – leave that to the thursday night league :-). AC Milan are a challenge – but hey we have to knock these City Oil Slickers down a few more pegs 1st!

  82. goonermichael says:

    mancs got Ajax

  83. goonermichael says:

    newmancs got Porto

  84. gunnern5 says:

    Look who’s still trying to break in??


    Sunderland pair Nicklas Bendtner and Lee Cattermole have been arrested after going on a car-wrecking spree.
    Police are investigating claims that they damaged a string of cars on the evening of December 6.
    The incident took place on Stowell Street, which is just streets away from St James’ Park – the home of arch rivals Newcastle.

    Nicklas Bendtner is on loan at Sunderland from Arsenal
    Lee Cattermole is a regular in the Sunderland team
    Both players were arrested on Thursday and questioned on suspicion of causing criminal damage before they were later bailed.

    A spokesman from Northumbria Police said: ‘Police can confirm that on Thursday, December 15, two men aged 23 were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.

    ‘If follows an investigation in to damage caused to cars on Stowell Street in Newcastle city centre, which happened at about 10pm on Tuesday, December 6.’
    In Toon:

    At least three cars are believed to have been damaged in the incident, which took place just days after Sunderland lost to Wolves at Molineux.

    Police are understood to be analysing CCTV as they bid to assess the full extent of the damage.

  85. Red Arse says:

    TerryM, 🙂

  86. evonne says:

    Surprise, surprise, the Mancs didn’t get easy draw 🙂 Both Ajax and Porto are better than them

  87. Evonne, I think AvB shoudl give his old club(Porto) tips on how to beat Oily Arab FC as he knows how to do it.

    Let’s hope some Total football can dump bacon faces bunch of gits out of Europe.

  88. 26may1989 says:

    Afternoon all. Tip-top comprehensive intro to the day’s events from Mr Chas. But I must admit, I felt pretty annoyed to have got one of the Italian teams as a reward for winning (comfortably) a genuinely tough group. But LB’s right, better Milan than Napoli.

    Milan have some big but aged names (Nesta, van Bommell, Seedorf, Mexes, Gattuso, Inzaghi), as well as some other excellent players (Ibrahimovic, Pato, Robinho, Boateng) and a very decent keeper (Abbiati). Plus there could be a reunion with Flamini. But the more I think about it, the more I like the prospect of playing them – no temptation to treat them as minnows, yet they have flaws, and we have a good recent history at the San Siro.

    Bring it on!

    Re the St George’s Cross, it actually started in Milan (St Ambrose, 4th century), is the symbol of Milan (and many other places, including Catalonia, which have St George as their patron saint) and, almost a thousand years after the Milanese first used it, was eventually adopted by the late-to-the-party English in the 13th century. So I doubt the Cross was adopted in AC Milan’s badge due to being founded by an Englishman!

    Always interesting to see how many of today’s clubs across the world were started by ex-pat Brits though.

  89. 26may1989 says:

    If Bendtner did what he’s accused of, he’s a complete tool.

  90. evonne says:

    Chary – I have already said that in my opinion Fergie will try to get out of Europe faster than EasyJet; he hasn’t got second squad to play there. The oilies on the other hand will give bench warmers, including Fatso, a chance to win something.

    What about the Orcs, whom did they draw?

  91. The orcs got Valencia Evonne, a team that are a shadow of their former selves due to the egregious effects of the two teams in the two team Primera Liga having separate TV income deals.

    Fergiescum will take it easy as you say he doesn’t have the squad the Oily Arabs have.

  92. 26may1989 says:

    Away leg vs Milan on 15 Feb, home leg on 6 March.

  93. MickyDidIt89 says:

    We will have Jack back for the home leg, as well as our very expensive forward for the away leg. Really can’t see a problem with our youth and speed.

  94. TotalArsenal says:

    Chary, Evonne, this is a sexy tie for MU and all the eyes of Europe will be aimed at them on those Spursdays. No way will they field a weakened team. And that’s why this has been a good draw for us!

  95. harry says:

    Afternoon all, just knew we’d get them, win the group, which we got pelters for not doing last year and this time we do it and still get a euro giant.

    They are better than a couple of years that is for sure, but I think we are better…….

    The only thing I dont like and in fact I hate, is that we have the home leg second, which for me is a massive massive massive disadvantage. The rule should be wiped, away goals double was brought in years ago, the need for it now is not there for me.


    Harry, great point about the disadvantage of playing home second, i totaly agree. But since we will win in Italy it shouldnt be to harmful.

  97. Possibly TotalA, but the alcoholic glaswegian is the ultimate pragmatist and realises that progress in the Europa is worth bugger all.

    Of course he’ll do lip service to honouring the competition but his focus is the Premier league and plotting for next years CL campaign.

    I hate him, I wish he’d go to a care home and just sit in a bath chair with drool dribbling down his face all day.

  98. 26may1989 says:

    That’s the spirit Micky! Plus we’ll have full-backs by then. Hopefully.

    Shame Wenger appears to have ruled out Podolski though.

    Re the way the Milan games have fallen, the away leg could come in the middle of a lot of travelling, since we go to Sunderland the previous weekend and could be away for the FA Cup 5th round the weekend after. Not ideal, but still probably better than being between the FA Cup game and the Spurs game the following week.

    And the home game vs Milan comes between our away game at Anfield and home to Newcastle. Again pretty tough, but if it had been the following week, it would’ve been between the Geordies game and going to Goodison, so not much difference there.

  99. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Really don’t believe AF will play a full strength side. Its not a glamour tie, its a rubbish tournament and he knows his squad if fragile.

  100. Tough opponent but I’m sure with our new Arsenal we’ll beat them and go through. I hope the draw result convinced AW to sign top quality players in Jan TW.

    Re conspiracy theory (don’t know if it true or not since it’s only remains as a theory and hasn’t been proven), no wonder Madrid, Barca and Bayern collecting a lot of champions league trophy. :p

    アーセナル がんばって 下さい。

  101. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Fear not. Our leader knows he made a massive blunder not signing a striker two years ago so that he could wait for a free Chamakh. He won’t make the same mistake twice, despite what some on here will have you believe 🙂
    Plus, I then win a bet with Raddy and win even more fish to make me more cleverer.

  102. Nike – that’s a cool sign off quote you’ve got on the bottom of your 2.26 comment.

  103. 26may1989 says:

    I definitely know where Harry’s coming from re wanting to play home games first, gives you something to defend etc, but I had a look at our recent performances in CL knock-out rounds, and since the 2005-6 season, it doesn’t appear to have made much difference: we’ve won 4 ties out of 7 when we played at home first, as compared with 3 out of 5 when we’ve played the away leg first.

  104. That’s just a 3% improvement when we are away first, Mr 26.
    Doesn’t seem to make that much difference after all over those 12 occasions.

  105. 26may1989 says:

    Don’t quote me on it, but I happen to know that the barrister who is going to rule today on whether Suarez racially abused Evra is a Spurs season ticket holder.

    Despite that, the barrister in question is a top guy and will give an honest assessment. I wouldn’t be too optimistic if I were Suarez though.

  106. Gooner In Exile says:

    For me I would always take home games second, the object being to nick a goal away (1-1 or even 2-1 defeat) which then forces the oppo to come on to us at our place to redress the balance.

    The only thing I don’t like about the away goals rule is that if the game goes to extra time, the visitors goals scored in ET still count more even though they have had an extra 30 minutes to score them. I have hated this rule ever since Wigan knocked us out of CC with that last minute equaliser (and winner), despite the game ending 2-1 to us and 2-2 over both legs. The League Cup rules are stranger in that Away Goals only count at the end of extra time so you could be 2-1 up (4-4 on aggregate) at the end of the home second leg ninety minutes (and in Euro you’d be going through) then you could draw the extra time 2-2 and be going out with the away goals counting in the visitors favour who have had an extra thirty minutes to score more away goals.

  107. 26may1989 says:

    Chary, here’s the detail if you’re interested (asterisks for the ties we won):

    Home first: Won 4 out of 7

    2010-11 1/8: Barca 2-1, 1-3
    2009-10 1/4: Barca 2-2, 1-4
    2008-09 1/8: Roma 1-0, 0-1 (won on pens)*
    2007-08 1/8: Milan 0-0, 2-0*
    2007-08 1/4: Liverpool 1-1, 2-4
    2005-06 1/4: Juve 2-0, 0-0*
    2005-06 1/2: Villarreal 1-0, 0-0*

    Away first: Won 3 out of 5

    2009-10 1/8: Porto 1-2, 5-0*
    2008-09 1/4: Villarreal 1-1, 3-0*
    2008-09 1/2: Man U 0-1, 1-3
    2006-07 1/8: PSV 0-1, 1-1
    2005-06 1/8: Real Madrid 1-0, 0-0*

  108. harry says:

    Apologies I fleeted in and quickly out forgot my manners, that was a great post Chas, you should do them more often…….

    We can look at stats and previosu results to argue our points, GIE mentions one particular bit that does need amending at minimum, the away goal in extra time of the 2nd leg is a shocking inbalance..

    But GIE you mention about nicking a goal to force them to come out, in 91, we grabbed a 1-1 at the stadium of light against a then reasonable benfica, the shouts of a great result started dying down the moment they scored the 2nd at ours in the return leg,……..

    Same again v Chelsea in 2003-04, draw 1st leg 1-1, then as soon as chelsea bagged the 2nd goal we needed 2 more………

    For me get rid of the rule and just have extra time in 2nd leg. The rule was bought into entice teams to attack more after some dreadful scoreless games……

    For me to be in strong position, we need to go away and win…against a very wily euro team like Milan with players like Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, anything less and when they come to ours we will be up against it………..

    I feel we can win both legs and make this away goal rule a side issue, but we must focus throughout and also we must have all our key players available, would be great to have L’il Jack back……..

  109. Of those “away first” fixtures we should really have won trhe PSV game, but the ManUre one was decided by Gibbs’ slip to put them up in double quick time; so in reality we should be 4 out of 5 for away first.

    Of the “home first” we only just squeaked through against Roma, courtesy of the penalty shoot out, so we would really expect to have only won 3 out of 7.

    This changes the away first % improvement to 37% up from 3%.

  110. Harry, I’ll bet London’s summer house on Jack not being available for the first leg.

    And talking of the other Harry, I see Twitchy won’t get punished for his fist pumping at the opposition suporters at the game last night – I suppose he has enough days in the dock lined up already.

  111. evonne says:

    Talkpoo radio are saying that Stoke will embarass English football 🙂

  112. chas says:

    Playing devil’s advocate doesn’t the home side in the 2nd leg get an advantage by playing an extra 30 minutes on their home soil?

  113. What, by playing their 6-0-4 formation Evonne ?

  114. LB says:

    You know you can count on me to say this but Arteta’s experience against Milan would be so much more useful than Jack’s youthful exuberance.

  115. LB says:

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooo, not the summer house.

  116. evonne says:

    Chary – I am so glad you have changed your job 🙂

    Chas – I prefer to play second leg at home; if things go wrong away, we have the advantage of home comforts to fight back

  117. fatgingergooner says:

    For me, the fitness of both ours and Milans squad will be the deciding factor in the 2 legs. If we were both at full strength then I would fancy us to do the job, but in a hectic time of the season with FA Cup and league I would think that the team carrying the least crucial injuries could be the winners. I hope AW strengthens our attacking options in January.

  118. Ah Evonne, same job, just different internet work gestapo now. 🙂

    Yes London, after your furry thong, it’s your summer house uo for grabs, lol.

  119. Big Raddy says:

    evonne. Stoke already embarrass English football.

    The away goals rule should be removed. Why it still remains is a mystery. It doesn’t encourage attacking football, quite the contrary.

  120. evonne says:

    Raddy 🙂 But until now the Orcs were not watched worldwide

    What other competitions do Milan play in? They are 3rd in Serie A, only 2 points behind the leaders, but other cups do they have in Italy?

  121. fatgingergooner says:

    i also reckon the pace of the 2 teams could be quite important. we have pace to burn out wide but also, we have possibly the quickest back 4 in football with

    Sagna Kozzer Verm Gibbs

    this gives us the advantage imo as they will have more trouble dealing with Theo and Gerv than we will with there speedy players.

  122. 26may1989 says:

    Chary, your brazen revision of the figures is fantastic! Not an accountant by any chance are you?? 😉

  123. RockyLives says:

    Top quality post Chas.
    And love the Fergie voicemail 🙂

    I’m happy with the Milan draw. On the basis of absolutely no research and just my dodgy memory, I think we have a really good record against Italian teams in Europe. There have been one or two blips, but overall I think our results stack up really well.

    I’d be more worried about a ‘banana skin’ fixture against one of the supposedly weaker teams (like Basel).

  124. Rasp says:

    Apologies for my late arrival – been to the South coast on a uni run!

    Thanks for a classy and detailed appraisal of our possible opponents chas. I am in 2 minds as to whether AC is a good or bad draw for us. If we overcome them and one of the other fancied teams do a bit of giant killing, we could be in a strong position to progress.

    As others have said, the fitness of our squad and whether or not our current absentees will be back to their best are crucial factors.

  125. 26may1989 says:

    Rocky, from memory, in our last five meetings with Italian sides we’ve won every tie: Udinese, Milan, Juve, Roma and Inter. In fact, in all that lot, I think we’ve only lost two matches (0-3 home to Inter and 0-1 away to Roma, but we still prevailed in the penalty shoot-out that night in Rome (I was there!)).

  126. 26may1989 says:

    Have just remembered that the games versus Inter were group games. But given that we turned them over 5-1 at their own place in that epic return match, it felt like it was a knock-out tie!

  127. RockyLives says:

    I remember listening on a transistor radio in bedroom and going mental when Paul Vaessen scored away at Juventus in the dying minutes to send us through to the CWC Final in 1980.

    There’s a sad postscript: Vaessen was a promising young player whose career was ended through injury at just 21 and who then declined into a life of crime and drugs. He died at the age of 39 from an overdose.


    Rocky, i had the same radio experience of that game. Very sad what happend to him. That Juve team had half the italian side that went on to win the world cup in 82, but Paul done them that night.

  129. harry says:

    I was ten at the time and remember sitting there with my dad, listening to the commentary, at the time it was a massive result with the old lady never before been taken at the time by the english…..

  130. LB says:


    So, so young.


    I suppose sometimes we forget footballers are just like the rest of us with strengths and failings , joy and sadness etc.

  132. evonne says:

    Terry and LB, and Rocky of course – yes, that’s a truly sad story.
    There was another footballer on the radio today talking about his injuries, divorce, sister’s death and his suicide attempts. Mind boggles.

  133. evonne says:

    GiE – I have just heard that Tony Pulis ius going to put his thinking hat on for the Valencia game. All I could think of was your reaction 🙂


    Evonne, must say ime looking forward to stoke v valencia, should be a right laugh.

    Cornwall, congrats on your imending grandadness mate, ime sure he/she will be prize winning.

  135. evonne says:

    Terry – I am looking forward to that game too, but for different reasons 🙂 His name is Rory 🙂


    Evonne, hahaha. I must say, Rory has a damn fine head of hair.

  137. evonne says:

    Terry 🙂 He is lovely full stop 🙂

  138. Gooner In Exile says:

    Thinking hat? Let’s face it any hat is better than that baseball cap

  139. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rory’s days are numbered now they have brought Ryan Shotton through in his place.

    Apparently Steve Backley is head of Youth Development, and Tessa Sandersom and Fatima Whitbread are Reserve and Youth Team managers respectively.

  140. Gooner In Exile says:

    Actually now we have the BFG can’t he just stand in front of the thrower and head it away at source?

  141. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Effing awesome, this is why i could never do a post, you AA`ers have raised the bar further than a Rory Delap throw, and i`ve seen the video of his “50 best throws”.
    Apollogies to evonne, I couldn`t find Rory in Orcland, he was last seen towelling Fatima`s balls!.
    Thankyou, the one thing you can count on is another gooner/goonerette.
    evonne ,
    I heard that interview on Keys&Gray, it was Leon Mackenzie. Being a well paid footballer means nothing if you have that illness. I hope he carries on winning his fight.

  142. ozgunner says:

    great post chas, i definently agree with others, you should be posting more. very well researched.

    Last week when the teams were known you could tell we would draw AC, we always get the shaft in that aspect. e.g drawing barca two years in a row.

    In saying that i am very confident. Shut down ibro and we will be fine. Didn’t one of their key players suffer a long term injury?
    I prefer away leg first because if we have a good first game they have to play to win at the emirates, and if you play open and attacking against us we will prevail!

  143. ozgunner says:

    evonne…come on…

  144. Gooner In Exile says:

    Arsene cuts to the chase:

    “You should ask Nasri and Clichy if it hurts not to be playing in the Champions League. They are used to playing there,”

  145. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chavs at Wigan
    Utd at QPR
    Pool at Villa
    Cannot see them all getting three points. An interesting weekend ahead me thinks.

  146. MickyDidIt89 says:

    This weekend is one of those rare occasions when I hope that nasty little Martin O’Neill and his pathetic football boot wearing jumpy about antics can ensure we move above Totteringham.

  147. Gooner In Exile says:

    😀 Micky, o’neill is alongside Pulis and Allardyce as my most hated football managers.

  148. Gooner In Exile says:

    See City have launched a nice attempted unsettler on RvP before Sunday £30m offer in summer apparently.

    Then the Mail are running a headline “Wenger : I cant hold on to my players”…. The meat of the article has no quote like that just Wenger saying its hard to compete with the money from City. No new ground there then.

  149. evonne says:

    Oz – do I ever question why you lot fancy Nigella, or the weather girl, or anybody else for this matter?? No. Leave my Rory D alone

  150. MickyDidIt89 says:

    That’s a very tough call between those three. For me, O’Neill shades it.

  151. evonne says:

    GiE – Martin O’Neill is pathetic, but is he really a bad manager? Is he worse than Arry?

  152. evonne says:

    GLiC – I hope that Leon McKenzie wins the fight. Sadly, there is no cure for depression, just drugs to stop suicides. The positive move of high profile sportsmen talking about the illness is bound to make a difference and hopefully save some lives.

  153. evonne says:

    Gregory – you are being naughty!!

  154. MickyDidIt89 says:

    What is Leon McKenzie and is it fighting O’Neill?

  155. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evonne it’s the attitude and smugness with which all three operate without having anything to show for it really.

    Allardyce and Pulis mainly because football for them is all about winning restarts (throw ins, corners, free kicks) to attack and defend. O’Neill because everything is about him, watch him celebrate Larssons goal last weekend like he scored it.

  156. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh blimey, sorry, bad taste. I thought Leon must be a boxer. Just read back to CliC’s comment. Fighting depression. Nasty.

  157. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ali said that it does not matter what you do in life as long as you do it with style.
    The common denominator of those three is that they have not a shred of style between them.

  158. evonne says:

    GiE – yes, but he is not a bad manager and not a bad man. He looked after his ill wife, is well respected by others, done a good job in Ireland. I don’t dislike him, no.

  159. Gooner In Exile says:

    McKenzie retires this weekend with mounting injuries being main reason.

    I’m glad he has spoken up. Hopefully there will be a bigger support network for him now.

  160. chas says:

    Morning all,
    Saturday and no BR pre-match, eek.

    I can’t get excited about the 3 o’clock kick-offs either.
    Blackburn v West Brom, 15:00
    Everton v Norwich, 15:00
    Fulham v Bolton, 15:00
    Newcastle v Swansea, 15:00
    Wolverhampton v Stoke, 15:00
    Wigan v Chelsea, 17:30

    I liked your suggestions for the new spuds ground. 🙂

  161. evonne says:

    Micky – GLiC listened to the radio interview with Leon McKenzie I mentioned yesterday, hence my reply to him

  162. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I am with you now. Sorry.

  163. evonne says:

    Chas – that’s exactly what I was thinking – what shall I watch – nothing too exciting, Wolves it is then. Tomorrow however, Spuds kick off at 3 and we are starting at 4:10. And guess what, I have to pick up the she-devil from Heathrow at 4pm!!! I am going to miss all of it!!!!

    I worked out how to record live programmes on BT box, but still no idea how to replay the recordings 😦 Mind you, I don’t think I am disciplined enough not to know the results as soon as

  164. Gooner In Exile says:

    Chas MotD will be crap tonight.

  165. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh Evonne,
    Get with it! Miss the game for that. Leave her at the Airport for a few hours. What can possibly go wrong?

  166. evonne says:

    Micky- you really are the funniest guy I know 🙂 I am gutted, gutted, gutted….nothing I can do about it 😦

    I will ask BT how to view recordings. If we win I will watch it in the evening, and perhaps the day after too

  167. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evonne when you see the little git jumping around like a loon you will grow to dislike him.

    Do I respect him for taking a year out to look after his wife? Yes but surely that’s what we all would do if we had the financial security. I know people who have done it without the financial security.

    Do I respect him as a manager….no he is distintly average and his methods are outdated.

    Removing Celtic from his stats:

    P 546 W 227 D 167 L 152

    42% wins similar to Mick McCarthy, Alan Pardew, David Moyes and Sam Allardyce, yet for some reason the press think he is a better manager than all of these and I don’t know why.

    You have to remove Celtic because in reality they should win every game apart from Rangers.

  168. chas says:

    I bet you love your mum really.
    Do you share any characteristics of her’s?

  169. evonne says:

    GiE – ok, I dislike him now 🙂

  170. evonne says:

    Chas – of course I love her, she is me mum. We look alike, but that’s where the similarity ends. She is a lady.

  171. evonne says:

    Re Boy Wonder – I cannot see him leaving Arsenal. Why would he? He looks so happy here now, he excelled himself, thrives as the skipper. His young family are better off in London than up north and high weekly wages don’t make you the richest footballer, ask Bergkamp. He didn’t earn half of what Fat$o gets, yet he is one of the richest sportsmen in the world. I hope Denis has had some influence over Robin and told him a trick of two

    Nay, RvP will sign soon.

  172. chas says:

    I’d bet LB’s red and white codpiece on it.

  173. evonne says:

    CHAS!!!!! YOUR AVATOR!!!!! TAKE IT OFF!!! OMG, I have never laughed so much as this morning 🙂

  174. chas says:

    Haha, happy Saturday. 🙂

  175. oz gunner says:

    morning all.

    haha chas, good choice!

    Evonne, bugger nigella or the weather girl i don’t rate them. Give me my mrs, then miranda kerr any day.

  176. Rasp says:

    Morning all…..

    …..New post …….

  177. Brigham says:

    I was out at an office party last night and we ended up in Weatherspoons and whilst scuppering several Peroni I noticed this book on the shelf behind me.

    Pub heaven really, Peroni and My Family Arsenal! 🙂

  178. Brigham says:

    Sorry, a bit amiss of me not to mention us drawing AC Meeelan. I reckon we will draw over there an smash the crap out of them in the return leg and I honestly think they are cacking themselves drawing us more than the other way round.

    Italian teams do not like our style of play, they cannot cope with the pace as they normally play at a snails pace and do not like being run at.

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