Fifteen potential opponents, only five Premiership teams amongst them. So it was almost inevitable that not only would we be away from home, it would be against one of them. While Liverpool and Chelsea both got home draws against smaller sides, we have to travel to Old Trafford in a match that the BBC, with first choice of tie, must be in dreamland about.
For us, it’s an absolute nightmare, especially coming only a few days before the tie with AC Milan. Admittedly, it’s not that great a draw for United either, but at least they’re at home. Both sides will be desperate to avoid a replay so expect an open game.
I suspect Wenger would’ve rested a few stars in the next round, an action Ferguson probably would’ve been tempted to make as well, but with psychological advantages potentially so crucial for the league battles, both teams will be taking this one extremely seriously. Although it’s about the worst draw possible, it should be fun.
Elsewhere, various reports are suggesting that we’re trying to pinch Jonathan Woodgate from under the noses of Spurs, although it does seems a little far fetched as he isn’t the sort of player Wenger often goes for, especially given his injury record. Undoubtedly a superb defender when fit, I’d still be very surprised if this one happened.
Note: Wenger has now denied the link, claiming the whole story to be a lie. Good old journalists.
Sky are also linking us with yet another young keeper, Piet Velthuizen, but to be honest I’ve stopped given their reports any credence unless they have quotes from our side. If we signed every ‘starlet’ Sky link us with, we’d have a squad of two hundred.
Wenger said we’d sign no-one, and I believe him.