After last night’s disappointing results for the British clubs, Arsenal kick off their Champions League campaign tonight against the UEFA Cup holders, Seville.
Wenger puts the Spanish side in the top five teams in Europe at the moment, and it is an assessment I wouldn’t disagree with. Retaining the UEFA Cup is no mean feat, even with the standard it has slipped to in recent years, but they have six points out of six in the Spanish league, and more impressively, have scored at least four goals in half their matches this season.
They possess a huge amount of attacking threat, score plenty of goals, and play football in a bright and creative way. They also have a somewhat leaky defence. Remind you of anybody?
The is undoubtedly the tie of the first round of matches. Two teams on form, ready to play expansive football, with both attacks considerably better than their respective defences – it should be an absolute belter for the neutral.
As far as a result goes, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that whoever wins tonight has one foot in the knockout stages, even with only one match played. Steaua and Slavia await elsewhere, and at least three points should be taken from each opponent even if you allow for an appalling away performance. When you consider than Slavia lost out in the Czech league to Sparta, who Arsenal comfortably dispatched in the qualifying round, there shouldn’t be too many problems there.
So a side starting with three points tonight would be in a wonderful position, although both sides would probably take a draw if the other match ended the same way. And that’s how I think it will end – a high-scoring draw, perhaps 2-2.
And I expect it to be entertaining. Hold on to your hats folks, this one should be fun.