Pretty much a quiet day on the Arsenal front with everyone having a love-in at London Colney, much to the disgust of the Red Tops no doubt. Arsene and Thierry’s kissing and making up in front of the media hopefully putting to bed that particular story. Which is just as well considering there is the small matter of Porto looming large on the horizon. No further injury news out of the club which is good and it must be safe to assume that William Gallas will not be starting, preserving him for the Chelsea game at the weekend.
Jose Mourinho hopes that Arsenal and Manchester United lose this week, and then within the space of one sentence manages to contradict himself. His reasoning? He wants them to lose because he is a patriot but wants them to win because it will make the task of winning the Premiership so much easier apparently. The logic for that is a bit spurious (which I know is nothing unusual for him) but he believes that his two closest rivals will rest players were they to enter the UEFA Cup because it is an easier competition to win. Personally, I always thought the UEFA Cup was harder because there are more games which means more chances to trip yourself up on. Would entering the UEFA Cup be such a bad thing? In the immediate future, yes. It would be a blow to morale if the side were to exit the Champions League this week but over the course of the season, continued European football is better than nothing at all. Ask any Manchester United fan what is was like watching Arsenal progress knowing that your interest in everything outside of this country was over. The ones I know were pig sick.
Gilberto assures us that the team are focussed on the task ahead,
“This week is decisive for our future in the Premier League and the Champions League. We did our job against Spurs, but need to continue with Wednesday’s very difficult game against Porto. We must come back with a result.”
Absolutely. It is a tricky one to call and I will leave that until tomorrow when more is known about the team that will take the field in the Estadio do Drago. Arsene meanwhile has admitted that the club was in a crisis,
“It’s been a tougher week than normal. Three victories, or two defeats and a victory [from three games] makes a big difference. I’ve always said it is very difficult when you lose a game but there is no other way but to come back and fight as mad as you can to win the next one.”
Of course it has been a tougher week but one of the teams own making. However, ever chipper, Arsene has complete confidence in the team and is “sure that they will win against Porto”
Elsewhere in Europe, it is pretty much a round of dead rubbers this evening. Barcelona could be the biggest casualties if they fail to win their match against Werder Bremen. The plus points for them is that the match is at the Camp Nou where they beat their visitors last season. It is not just us who has struggled to get out of what should have been a relatively straightforward group. Bayern, Liverpool and Valencia have all won their Groups and will be accompanied by Internazionale, PSV and Roma into the Second Round.
Back tomorrow with a Porto preview.