Thursday, August 30, 2012

There are always some dates that stand out in our football world and being a Gooner one that has very much been in that selective group for a number of years is the Champions League group stage draw.

As a travelling fan Thursday dictates which parts of the continent we will be visiting over the next three months or so.

With the dreaded transfer window also due to close on Friday it almost feels there is more going on off the pitch than on it this week! For me that should never be the case but the format seems to dictate this and it fuels the media frenzy!

A sunny day in Stoke with a good playing surface was welcome last Sunday. It helped lift the mood on a day where the Bank Holiday weekend fatigue had me arriving at the Britannia feeling a little tired and subdued.

Defensively I don't remember as ever being as comfortable in this particular fixture with even long throws and set pieces being dealt with easily. Just like our opening game however, we lacked a little composure and luck in the final third to score the goal and clinch the result our performance probably deserved.

A point at Stoke is definitely not a disastrous result and with a relatively new-look side I believe we have already seen plenty to fuel our optimism. Football unfortunately does not give you much time, however, so hopefully we will see winning results sooner rather than later. I for one am confident this will be the case.

An away trip to Anfield isn't exactly the easiest fixture to try and pick up our first victory but having done it before on numerous occasions there is no reason why we can't do it again on Sunday.

An even earlier start for the journey beckons but before that we will find out three things for the coming weeks and months. On Friday night we will finally know if our squad remains as it is now or if there have been any last-minute comings and going. Before that we find out who we'll face in the third round of this season's League Cup. As always a nice 'unusual' trip to somewhere like Burton Albion would do me! Of the remaining teams there are five grounds where I haven't seen us play so I have a glimmer of hope!

Before all that of course our attention will be firmly on the Champions League draw. Once again I am looking for something new, a situation that has become ever more unlikely as the years have gone by. Only one team from pot two falls into that category so Zenit St Petersburg would be my choice. Anderlecht or Lille would work from pot three and with five possibilities from pot four I must have some chance of being successful in that one!

Somewhere warm in September would be nice!

Come on you mighty reds.

Frank @stubbsy70

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 30 Aug 2012