Arséne Will Watch Enviously As United, City Et Al Return To Champion’s League Action

Posted: September 25, 2017 in Arsenal, Champions League, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Tottenham Hotspur
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Having recently retired as the “undisputed prediction king – failed abysmally“, (for the time being anyway), our thoughts now turn to new, (or at least re-worked old), ways of filling the column inches.

The first subject which springs to mind is the return of the Champion’s League. You know, that tournament which, according to stubborn old man at Arsenal, has lost some of it’s sparkle. This is what he said.

He has decided that the group stages aren’t as interesting as they used to be now that he can watch all the games on TV. This opinion, of course, has only just been formed and coincides nicely with his failure to qualify for the first time in twenty years.

We have to agree with him, even if only partly. Poor old Bayern Münich have spent each year eagerly looking forward to the draw to see when they would get the chance to score four or five goals (per leg), against the Gunners and it must have been so disappointing this time when they realised that, unless they are demoted to the Europa League, that chance is not going to come.

So this week Arséne will have to bore himself rigid by watching Manchester City take on Shakhtar Donetsk at The Etihad, Tottenham in Nicosia to play Apoel and Liverpool in Moscow where they meet Spartak.

These three games are on Tuesday and Arsene will, as we write, be checking that his BT Sports subscription is up to date in order to channel hop the games.

On Wednesday night he will be able to snore his way through Chelsea against Atlético in Madrid and Manchester United who, like Liverpool, are also in Moscow, but playing CSKA.

Despite the apathy of the Manchester City fans, who still haven’t forgiven UEFA for the club fines over FFP, City should beat the Ukrainian club. Pep has taken it upon himself to request the maximum attendance at The Etihad although whether he has invited each fan personally or not is a matter of some debate.

He has decided that the fans, who pay a fortune to be there, can play their part in encouraging the players, who are paid a fortune to be there, to do the job for which they are paid the aforementioned fortune.

Either way, due to our retirement from the prediction game, all we will say is that we expect a City win and they will achieve it by scoring more goals than the opposition!

Manchester United have no such worries about whether or not their fans will turn up. Even in Moscow they will be very conspicuous by their presence. José Mourinho has actually been asking for more noise at Old Trafford so will be happy with the turnout he gets in Russia.

Having beaten Basel in the first game he will want to continue the good work and take another three points from this trip, which he should do despite the plastic pitch.

Tottenham should also be able to overcome their Cypriot opposition but it depends on which Spurs team turns up. If it is the Spurs European team of last year then they will draw or even lose. We expect, however, that they have learned something from the debacles of the past and will emerge unscathed and with three points.

Liverpool are the unknown quantity, as usual. They can play excellent attacking football and draw because they can’t defend. The problem, especially away from home in Europe, is that being unable to defend usually results in a loss.

We still think they will come away with a point which, due to their draw at home in the first game, isn’t really enough but, by the same token, isn’t terminal at this early stage of the tournament.

That leaves Chelsea against Atlético Madrid and this one has draw written all over it.

Chelsea should actually be good enough to beat the Spaniards and a win is not entirely beyond them. We just happen to think that the experience of Diego Simeone coupled with his players will to win will be enough to ensure a point remains in Spain.

There, that wasn’t too difficult now was it? And not a score prediction in sight!


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