Feels like an age since my last missive! How much has changed! Woolwich Arsenal have banished their tendency to make a mountain out of a molehill and strode past the Muscovites with power and aplomb. We have relearned how to control the second leg of a game, how to stay organised and thrust forward when necessary, carving out chance after chance against a side who had to score thrice to proceed to the next round, and whose defenders had a combined age of 177.

Let me just instruct the butler to prepare the reel of highlights on the projector to confirm that this did in fact happen.

[Fifteen minutes later]

Feels like an age since my last missive! How little has changed! Woolwich Arsenal are still providing comedy value in the Euro Vase by not only making mountains out of molehills, but by making so many mountains out of molehills that the Urals, running from north to south through western Russia, has been expanded by approximately six mountains.

These were molehills before approximately eight o’clock last evening before Arsenal sprinkled their magic fuss dust on them. Thanks to contacts in the British Secret Service I have discovered the reason for last evening’s performance. I can now reveal a systematic poisoning of the Arsenal team by a new and terrifying nerve agent: Incompechok.

Incompechok has been synthesised by a top secret CSKA Moscow scientist to affect opposition players in subtle but still very noticeable ways and secret cables reveal that it was first tested in the field yesterday on Woolwich Arsenal.

From my contacts intercepted notes:

Its first effect is to induce extremely high anxiety in the opponent. This will be seen this evening as the western fools will become so concerned and worried that they will barely register a shot on the glorious goal of CSKA. The effects of the Incompehock  lasts for 70 minutes.

The ‘slowing’ effect will have particular effect on their central defenders, particularly their number 20. We can expect the effect to be amplified, as he is already markedly slower than other westerners. Expect his reaction times to be that of an elephant.

The effect on the goalkeeper will be largely on hand-eye co-ordination. CSKA should be aware of him fumbling the ball more then usual.

Be aware of their maestro, Danielsan Arantes do Dat Guy Nascimento Santos Welvalho. He is a fearsome beast and potentially immune to any known nerve agents. He will be a threat throughout the game. Also their midfielder Ramsara is known to have high resistance. CSKA should focus their efforts on nullifying these two.

So there we have it. Do not blame the plucky chaps for another nervy and unconvincing display; blame the KGB and their infernal nerve agent. We hope that they have fully recovered by the 26th, for Simeone’s terrors will be enough of a challenge without a dose of Incompechok.