It’s been a pretty awful week for Arsene Wenger and his training centre. The ramifications from Monday night have been well discussed over the last few days and none could be considered positive from the losers’ perspective. Arsenal will certainly be contenders for the Premiership come the end of the season, but their last game threw up more questions than answers concerning their credentials. And now, it would seem, they are out of Europe’s premier club competition too, faster than you can distinguish a warm ball from a cold one. In the build up to the last 16 draw in Nyon, Switzerland, Mr Wenger claimed that there are both pros and cons for playing both German and Spanish opponents. He correctly pointed out that a possible con for facing German opposition is the rest and recuperation afforded to them by a winter break. When addressing Spanish opposition he simply praised them for their current good form. Clearly he is keeping the ‘pro’ to playing Spanish opposition close to his chest. Now I can only assume the pro runs something like ‘’giving his young team a great experience’’ or ‘’seeing how far they have come since last time’’ but there can surely be no expectation, in light of recent results, of a progression to the next stage. The ‘’In Wenger we trust’’ banners must surely start collecting cobwebs now. Elsewhere in London and Manchester the merits of finishing top of the group were further underlined as Utd and Chelsea both secured last 8 bankers against Marseille and Copenhagen respectively.
Finally Harry Redknapp’s goal crazy circus start off in Milan against the Rossoneri and they too will surely fancy their chances of progression. Both teams seem reluctant to stop teams scoring and have abandoned any attempts to even try.
I would posit that when the dust settles on this draw all the managers of the British teams will feel quite satisfied, it’s just slightly easier to see why in some cases than others..