We now know five of the eight clubs who’ll drop into the Europa League from the Champions League are. Ajax, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and Juventus. Any one of the four cubs in Totts group could yet drop into the Europa League but if Totts lose is France to Marseille next Tuesday, it’s likely to be them. RB Leizbizg or Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Salzburg or AC Milan will drop out of the Champions League too.
Who would have thought Barcelona and Juventus would fail to qualify from their group eh, but that’s this crazy game called football for you. Anything can happen.
Having won four out of four, Arsenal need just one point to finish top of the group which should in theory, give us a better draw in the knockout stage. I don’t believe that though because after the group phase is over, every fixture is difficult.
Mikel Arteta will no doubt, hope to avoid facing a play-off against one of the sides knocked out of the Champions League.
Last week we made the first step which was to qualify for the next round. We need to win [on Thursday] because we want to finish first. This competition is getting harder and harder. It looks like the next round is going to be extremely competitive. That’s why finishing first in the group and avoiding another two games is such an important thing for us.
PSV Eindhoven will be a tough test this evening, tougher in my opinion than last week’s match as Ruud van Nistelroyd’s team will have their own fans urging them on.
From Mikel Arteta’s pre match press conference:
We had Marquinhos who wasn’t feeling good today and he hasn’t travelled, but the rest are OK.
Picking strong teams in the Europa League:
We don’t have that many players! We bring the players that we have and we have brought four kids with us so we cannot even make up the squad, but we need to put 11 players out and they need to play – we cannot change those 11 players every game.
There’s a message to the Arsenal board in there, Mikel wants some more players and if we’re to believe what’s written in The Mirror, he might get them in January as there’s £50m available to spend.
Bradley Ibrahim, Matt Smith, Catalin Cirjan and Karl Hein are likely to be the four ‘kids’ Mikel Arteta was referring to. Shame Marquinhos is unwell though, as it means Bukayo Saka is likely to start again unless Mikel Arteta has a different plan up his sleeve.
I think we’ll see a very similar team to the ones we’ve seen so far in this competition with the ‘first team’ players rotated again.
Just need to keep an eye on the PSV wingers..