Champions League draw + Arsecast 220

Oh yeah, snow, that’s just what we need. It might only be a light dusting but that’s all it takes for everything to grind to a standstill. The only person who will be pleased is the Mugsmasher who went out and bought snow tyres for his car. Or his mountain bike. One or the other. He’ll be gleeful this morning, let me tell you.

Surprisingly little news around this morning given the importance of Sunday’s game but then we haven’t heard from Arsene yet. His press conference takes place later on while the official site are obviously still under a table with a bottle of Tattinger having won best website of the year the other day. Come on guys, we need our hit of team news. We need to know everything’s ok. Or not, so we can run around wailing with our hands in the air.

All we’ve had for 24 hours is Park saying, “I do not expect a chance for me because a player is unavailable”. What is he talking about?! I’ve spent a whole day trying to work out what that sentence means. That doesn’t tell me if Vermaelen is fit and well to play at left back or if Arshavin has pulled some stomach muscles eating mince pies. We’re news junkies and they’re witholding our stash.

Anyway, we’ll find out soon enough. What we do know about this morning is that the draw for the knock-out stages of the Champions League takes place. It begins at 11am and will go something like this:

11am – Presenters will bound on stage full of camp energy

11.01 – Viewers will spent 60 seconds tuning their ears to the strange accent of the presenters

11.02 – 13.45 – We will have a tribute to UEFA, bards will sing songs of Platini, fair maidens will perform interpretative dance versions of his most famous goals clad head to toe in Heineken and Ford logos.

13.46 – Camp presenter will announce that now we are finally ready to make the draw. As soon as we meet a European football legend.

14.56 – The draw will commence after an hour long tribute to Zbigniew Boniek ahead of Euro 2012.

14.57 – The draw will be delayed as UEFA realise they’ve forgotten to include a Ukrainian tribute. Camp presenter will sing a song of Shevchenko which sounds like a cat being strangled by a banshee having sex with a narwhal.

15.03 – The draw recommences. Arsenal will be drawn against Zenit St Petersburg.

15.04 – Ryanair put up price of all flights from UK to airports to anywhere near St Petersburg by 10000000%.

15.05 – Somewhere in London, Andrei Arshavin makes plans to seek asylum after the away leg.

In the interests of balance I should point out that the other teams we can draw – apart from the one we are going to draw – are Basel, Napoli, CSKA Moscow, Lyon, Bayer Leverkeusen and AC Milan. All fair tests in their own right and you’d have to hope we avoid a long trip like Moscow or Zenit but you wouldn’t bet against it. If you were looking at it purely on paper you’d quite fancy Basel but then you can’t underestimate them given what they did to United. Which was knock them out in the group stages. From the easiest group in the tournament. Just in case you’d forgotten, like.

Still, worrying about the duration/crapness/tedium of the Champions League draw is very much a first world problem. Having to rejig your entire schedule around what to do on a Thursday night and wondering where this so-called ‘Channel 5′ is on the telly would be much more of an issue. One can only hope there’s a certain weak-chinned Frenchman so upset with not being part of it that he starts on Balotelli in training which leads to a mass brawl leaving Kolo Toure as City’s only fit outfield player for Sunday.

Ah, Sunday. Well, more on that game as soon as we get it. The press conference will most likely take place after the draw so we can get the manager’s reaction and we’ll keep you up to date over on Arseblog News. So expect updates from about 4.15 this afternoon when the ceremonies are complete.

Before we head to this week’s Arsecast the winners of the Thomas Cook Sports ticket competition are: Clive Needham (Wolves) and Kati Sheppard (QPR). Well done to you, I’ll be in touch to get details and the tickets posted out to you. The answer to the question was, of course, Armand Traore. And there are many questions you could fashion to come up with that answer.

Ok, on to this week’s Arsecast and joining me to discuss the week that was is Tim Clark from Arse2Mouse.com. There’s some Internet Joe and Tony Adams in there as well as the usual bits and pieces of waffle. Not only that, you’ve got a chance to keep your soon to be snowed under neck warm with a scarf from my friends at Savile Rogue.

You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here (20mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.

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Also, if you want to purchase any Savile Rogue scarf, using the code ARSEBLOG11 at checkout gets you £5 off – and with this cold weather a warm neck is essential. Not forgetting last minute Christmas presents – although do check with them re: postage and whether it can get to where you are in time.

Right then, that’s yer lot. Time to shake my fist at the sky and hope for some unseasonal warmth. Stoopid snow.