Who could Arsenal face in the Champions League?

The Champions League group stage draw is set to take place tomorrow, Thursday 27th August, at 4:45pm (UK time), in Monaco, where Arsenal find themselves in Pot 2 with the potential to be drawn in one of their toughest groups to date. 

So now you know all the details, but where can you watch it? Sky Sports News of course. OR you could just read your twitter feed and the endless people tweeting updates in real-time.

Unfortunately due to the changes made by UEFA, Arsenal will be in Pot 2 this year for the first time in a while. As will fellow English sides, Manchester City and Manchester United (should they beat Club Brugge tonight). This comes down to the regulation changes that have been made to the draw to benefit each association’s “Champions”.

The new regulations take into consideration the clubs domestic form instead of European, as it used to be, much to the annoyance of Wenger, who has consistency of getting to the knockout stages (and then knocked out) down to a t. He will certainly be moaning about this new structure, if he isn’t right this second, especially if it results in our downfall.

Regardless of Wenger or anyone else’s opinion though, it is formatted in this way.

Pot 1 will consist of the Champions from the seven top leagues around Europe. These are considered to be the English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese and Russian leagues. With the eighth spot being given to Holland. (It may be that this eighth country is up for change on a yearly basis).

As usual, teams from the same country cannot face each other in this round.

So Arsenal will be drawn against one of the Champions, which they are mostly used to having the benefit of avoiding. The Manchester clubs would have all of the same options for the draw as Arsenal too. While Chelsea could still be presented with a difficult team from Pot 2, with both Madrid’s amongst other top sides in there.

Who will they face?

In POT 1 there is, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Paris-Saint Germain, Benfica, Zenit St. Petersburg, Chelsea and PSV Eindhoven

In POT 2 with Arsenal, we have Manchester City, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, FC Porto, Valencia and two of Manchester United, Shaktar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen and Sevilla.

In POT 3: Olympiakos, Galatasaray, Lyon, Dynamo Kiev, Roma, and 3 from Shakhtar Donetsk, Sevilla, Sporting Lisbon, CSKA Moscow, Lazio, Bruges, APOEL, BATE.

And finally in POT 4: Borussia Monchengladbach, Wolfsburg, Dinamo Zagreb, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Gent, Malmo and 2 from APOEL, BATE, Partizan, Astana.

The exact pots will be confirmed after tonights qualifiers, once we know who is through, it will also enable the teams to be ranked based on their UEFA Coefficient. This is why Shaktar Donetsk could be in pot 2 or 3 for example, despite having already qualified.

4:45pm – Thursday 27th August

Will Vidal sign for Arsenal?


Recent speculation within the media has suggested that a deal for Juventus midfielder, and Chilean international, Arturo Vidal has already been agreed. 

Various reports are suggesting that the Juventus star will sign for Arsenal after his involvement in the Copa America tournament, where he will team up alongside last summers signing, Alexis Sanchez.

It is no secret that the two of them are very good friends, and some journalists have wasted no time in exploiting this fact as a key reason for a potential Vidal to Arsenal transfer, in a bid to strengthen the weight behind this rumour.

Every summer Arsenal are linked with exceptional players, and until two summers ago, none of these supposed signings came to fruition. However, these days, Arsenal are battling with the biggest clubs out there to secure the signings of the best players on the planet. Wenger’s change of transfer policy has been clear to all, with Messrs, Ozil and Sanchez, having joined from Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

Arsene Wenger has already hinted that he will bring in reinforcements this summer, should the right players be available. Additionally, it is no secret that there will be a handful of departures this window, with the likes of Flamini, Arteta and Diaby, all looking unlikely to stay on next season.

This does suddenly leave the depth in midfield, fairly shallow. Especially in the defensive department; an area we are all well aware is in need of some real talent.

The speculation over Vidal joining the side increased ten-fold, when DirecTV journalist, Hernan Feler, tweeted:

Después de la Copa América de #Chile, se hará oficial la llegada de Arturo Vidal al #Arsenal. Está todo cerrado. Será compañero de Aléxis.

Which in English, basically says: Vidal will join Arsenal officially after the Copa America Tournament, joining his comrade Sanchez.

There is no doubting the 28-year olds quality. As part of a magnificent trio alongside Pirlo and Pogba this season in the Juventus midfield, they have achieved wonders, winning the Serie A again, and by some distance (bragging Chelsea fans, take note of a real whitewash), and not to mention their place in the Champions League final, beating current holders, Real Madrid in style along the way.

But first and foremost this begs the question as to why he would want to leave Juventus for Arsenal? It is a rare scenario where a first team regular in a very successful team chooses to part ways with winning.

Secondly if he did choose to leave Juventus, would it be for money? Because Arsenal are certainly not on the top of anyone’s list who are looking purely for high wages.

This leaves us with only a couple of reasons why he would want to join Arsenal. Perhaps Vidal is looking for a fresh challenge in his career; dominating Italian football probably loses its thrill after successive league successes.

But then we have to presume to ask why Arsenal would be his preferred destination, when many teams will be queuing up for his signature if he is indeed available.

And we are left with one undeniable truth. There are only two people at Arsenal who could persuade him to join us, whom without, he certainly would not be coming (if he even is), and they are Alexis Sanchez and Arsene Wenger.

Here we can see some of the main reasons why he would and wouldn’t join, but ultimately Arsenal will sign at most a handful of the dozens and dozens of players we are linked with over this summer, and Vidal may or may not be one of them, so don’t get your hopes up just yet.

But I do believe that you can be certain that the right players will be signed this transfer window, because the club, and Wenger, have come to far over the past 2 seasons to back out now.

Boring, Drawing Day at the Office.

Yesterday, saw a very boring and inactive day as far as transfers go. And perhaps as the penultimate day of the transfer window with most signings due to be today, this was to be expected.

 

Wenger gave his press conference. And we found out nothing on from which we already knew. He said that we were ‘open to anything’ with regards to Nicklas Bendnter, the self pro-claimied player of the year, every year. Although I can now confirm today that a season-long-loan deal has been agreed with Juventus, with a view to a permanent deal. The reason behind this move? Juventus couldn’t get Van Persie or Berbatov. Another loan move for another player we and no one else wants. Others in this boat? Vela was, Denilson is. Squillaci can’t even secure a loan move he’s so bad. There are others I can’t think of off the top of my head. I genuinely don’t think Juventus will keep him permanently. Especially after they see him play. Especially after he misses a golden oppurtunity against Barcelona in the Champions League which would make the difference between going out or going through. Anyone else still bitter about that?

Wenger had a bit of bant with the reporters. After failing to get anything out of Wenger about Bendtner and Chamakh he generalised his question to, ‘Have any agreements been made, with any clubs, for any players?’ which was greeted with an all round laugh, then Wenger’s simple response. ‘No’. But why would Wenger tell anyone anyway? He never does.

On Walcott, he said he knew nothing about the ‘short-term agreement’ but that Theo would stay, he loves the club and despite what the media say ‘he is not one of those players obssessed by money’. He has a year left and will stay and play. My sources tell me he’ll sign a new contract in the near future.

In other news, the Champions League Draw and Capital One Cup Round 3 Draw took place.

We’ve been drawn in Group B with Schalke 04, Olympiacos, and Montpellier. For details on these fixtures look on the fixtures page, link above.

The Capital One Cup draw, drew us at home to Championship side Coventry. One for the young gungs, and some cheap tickets (for Arsenal at least) Eisfield will probably play and be one to watch at that game! Keep an eye out.