It’s normal to feel tired when you wake up in the morning, but when I cracked an eye open at 6am I felt particularly exhausted.
This was because I’d been dreaming I’d been up all night doing drugs with Nicklas Bendtner who then spilled a bottle of wine, containing all the drugs, in the lobby of the hotel we were staying in. Then we were at a water park and then it was 10.30am in the morning and I was all ‘Noooooo, I have to go to work’ but Bendtner didn’t care because he was watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons on the telly. Typical.
I still feel knackered though. Anyway, onwards with all the Arsenal news of the day for that is why we are here. I guess we’ll start with the Champions League draw which took place in Monaco last evening. I know it’s probably de rigeuer today to criticise the whole show, but I think we’re in danger of ruining humanity from a historical point of view.
What would happen if, some time in the distant future, all that remained of our civilisation was footage of these events? Historians would think us an inept, social awkward, clumsy, barely lingual group who would happily sit through interminable presentations like this. Why, if they had the kind of technology that allowed them stream HD video from space, did they insist on using ancient footballers swizzling some balls around in a bowl to choose the fixtures of a sporting event?
Knowing our luck they’d find some Champions League draws, a couple of old Eurovision Song Contests and a DVD of Mrs Browns Boys. Kids in the future would learn about our prehistoric ways and thank their lucky stars they were born at a time when there were actual goddam hoverboards and x-ray specs from the back of comic books that did exactly what they said.
Anyway, after it all, we drew Borussia Dortmund (again), Galatasaray and Anderlecht. We know the Germans well … very well (*makes twirly moustache gesture*) … having now been pitted against them for three of the last four seasons. And don’t forget we also faced them back in 2002-03 when a fresh-faced Tomas Rosicky scored a penalty against us to win the game for Dortmund.
They also had Torsten Frings in their team. I once wrote an elaborate story about him which ended in a god-awful pun. I must see if I can find it. You won’t thank me for it, but hey.
As for Galatasaray, the only time we’ve ever faced them in Europe was the UEFA Cup Final in 2000 which, as we all know, was a never-to-be-forgotten romp. Or, to put it another way, really really awful and definitely-to-be-forgotten nightmare up there with Cardiff in 2001 and stuff. Sorry for reminding you, but at least now we have a chance for revenge. I like revenge. It’s revengey. And remember, when anybody tells you something else is the best revenge, it’s not. Take it from a man who knows.
And then there’s Anderlecht, the Champions of Belgium. Belgian number 1. The Plastic Bertrand of the Champions League. I don’t know much about them, but I’d rather have drawn them than Monaco. Plus it’s quite close to London and will provide easier access for travelling fans assuming they don’t book their tickets when half-cut and get the train to Paris instead. I don’t know who would do such a thing though.
So, all in all not a bad group and one we really should looking at winning, for that entails. Our carelessness has cost in the last few seasons, finishing second usually makes life that bit more difficult in the first knock-out stage, so hopefully we can improve on that.
The other English teams face interesting draws. Man City get Bayern Munich again (is this, like, a thing now? Are they married?); Liverpool have Real Madrid and a couple of softies; while Chelsea, as per usual, were drawn against a team of old aged pensioners with osteoporosis, a group of part-timers from Lichtenstein and Bushy Park Rangers. Well done UEFA’s balls, you did it again!
Meanwhile, there’s some exciting transfer news this morning involving a centre-half. Except it’s not one coming in, it’s Ignasi Miquel being linked with a move to Norwich. He’s only got one year left on his contract which suggests he’s coming to the end of the Arsenal line, and in all seriousness, it’d probably be a good move for him.
Our need for a centre-half is obvious anyway, and if the manager had the requisite faith in him to step up and do the job he’d have said so by now. So good luck to him and it’d be nice to see him do well as he seems like a very nice young man with lovely hair.
There’s also some pre-Interlull news with Calum Chambers being called up to Roy Hodgson’s squad for the first time, along with Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Some might say it’s too soon for Chambers, but I think it’s the time honoured ‘If you’re good enough, you’re old enough’ thing going on here. When you consider what else Hodgson has to choose from, why on earth wouldn’t you call up a young man who has really caught the eye since he joined?
Beyond that not much happening, so it’s time for this week’s Arsecast. Joining me to discuss the week that was, including Everton, Besiktas, Giroud’s injury, the transfer window and what we might do (or not) in it, are The Man from East Lower and Andrew Allen. There’s something from Amaury Bischoff PI and all the usual waffle ahead of Sunday’s game against Leicester.
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We’ll have all the news from the press conference over on Arseblog News, plus anything that’s stirring in the old transfer market as try and cobble a squad together before Monday night. I kid, but you know what I mean.