Arsenal’s Champions League group opponents were recently announced and it all looks very good on paper, then again, we all know paper teams don’t do the playing.
So who have we got then? Well we have the CL Debutants in SC Braga, who finished 2nd in the Portuguese Liga and had to beat Celtic and Sevilla just to secure a place in the Group Stages, no mean feat considering both teams are top quality in their respective League’s.
They don’t seem to have many out and out goalscorers but they certainly have a lot of dangerous players, especially new signing Lima who scored a hat-trick against Sevilla after coming on as a substitute.
Next up, we have FK Partizan making their first CL appearence since the 03/04 season (Coincidentally, the season we wen’t unbeaten). Probably the weakest team in the group, but it will still be a tough away trip to Serbia.
Lastly and by far the strongest in the Group, we have Shaktar Donetsk, the Ukranian Champions, 2009 Europa League winners and now spearheaded by former Arsenal man Eduardo. This will be our biggest test and i expect, that although Eduardo loves the club dearly, he will have a point to prove, he has hit the ground running at Shaktar and has 2 goals in 4 games so far and will be a serious threat. Not only do they have Eduardo but they also have his fellow countryman Daniel Srna Captaining the side and the CB Chygrynskiy, recently bought back from Barcelona for half the price they sold him for, nice bit of business most would agree!
Despite being a tough test, i expect Eduardo will get the warmest of welcomes at the Emirates, he didn’t play much for us, and in fairness didn’t do too much for us due to his horrific injury, but his style and the times when he really was in top gear, added to his attitude on and off the field, has cemented his place in Gooner hearts forever.
Now, onto the Arsenal, we are clearly the favourites but we have been many a time before, and were punished for not having enough respect for our opponents, there are 3 very tough away trips here, against teams with fearsome support. We will need everyone on top form, but i expect us to top the group comfortably with games to spare, hopefully allowing in the last game, starts for Wilshere, JET and Ramsey should he be back for the last game.
On a final note, i believe that we have the capability to win the Champions League this year, with a bit of luck to avoid the other English teams and of course, Barcelona, i believe we could do it, our style is very much suited to the CL but we have a Prem mentality also.
Anyway, have a good week Gooners and don’t forget you can discuss this and everything Arsenal related at the Goonersworld Forums