And We’re All Off To…
Well,this is what last year was all about,wasn’t it? That Champions League draw?
Don’t let anyone kid you,last season was about getting our pride and our title back,this season is about keeping it that way and nailing that lot back in their box. In the meantime,we both have some frivolous wee tournament to cavort in. It ceased to become the most important trophy in club football the minute they opened it to all-comers.
Be that as it may,UEFA own the rights to the competiton,and we play to their rules. So if a team nearer to relegation than to winning the title can not only qualify,but be in Pot One,who am I to argue?
Bhoy,were there some difficult options in each of the three pots above us. Our captain must read this site-aye,I know!-and realising that ATHINGOFBEAUTY,his biggest fan, really wanted to see Real Madrid,said that he wanted the same too. Well,they both got their wish-but even apart from the other wonderful players they have available,like Livicius,Jr,I will not be too comfortable lining up to face a player who has scored over 350 goals for his club.
Benzema is a phenomenon-yet wasn’t even regarded as the top striker at the club while Ronaldo was there! I think people appreciate his worth now,and we will need a player of special talent to keep him at bay. What’s Graeme Sinclair up to these days,I wonder? They are the holders,having won,I think,five out of the last nine tournaments. Oh,and of course,they have ten other players too.
Box office,certainly. But will they get the full eighteen points? If we can nick one or three? Nobody gave us a chance in 1980-we even had to play Danny at left back!-but no-one who was there that night will forget how we ragdolled them in the second half.
It is in the other two sides who we can see real-sorry!!-hope. Each is clearly beatable,and either or both could give us a damned good thrashing. RB Leipzig are short of their recent heights,only just making the competition in fourth place in the Bundesliga. I dunno whether their own recent rebuild is up to the job,or even will gel in time. Neither do they,so a big question.
I think we should be confident here,but not cocky. Certainly more confident than had we drawn,say,Liverpool or Barcelona,Chelsea etc.
The same goes too for Shakhtar Donoetsk. The war in their homeland means they are displaced,and play in Poland these days,in Warsaw. Of course,the players might view the games as some light relief from the tragedy engulfing their homeland,something to take their minds off things. Or they might consider themselves to be bearing the flag for their country,reminding the world of its plight.
Those options make them dangerous opponents,as does the simple fact that they are a top footballing side-but again,there are points to be had here. Sentiment goes out the window in competitive sport,more so at the top level.
You don’t get much more top level than the Champions League,not now that they ditched the old format.
For the first time in a long while,I will be getting my abacus out to tally up our points,rather than our goals against column!
(That’ll have ATHINGOFBEAUTY choking on her cornflakes!)
But,here’s the thing-I’m not forecasting that we will qualify,either finish second or third. In fact,I expect we are bookie’s favourites to finish fourth. What I am saying is,that for the first time in years,we have a reasonable chance of beating those other two teams in our group. It might happen,it might not. But we all remember years when we knew it bloody wouldn’t!
We have a fighting chance. It is down to the players to grab it by the throat. And the players we have now,that can frighten or surprise any opponent? I think there is every chance that they will.
Above article by BMCUWP