By Blake Pirtle
I’m going to take this opportunity to be very, very selfish. Point blank, I want Real Madrid in next stage of the Champion’s league. That’s right, I’m standing center ring at the Madison Square Garden (on behalf of Arsenal), and I just dropped a bomb then dropped the mic.
But seriously, I want to talk about why I think Madrid is my opponent of choice after our clash with Napoli yesterday in the final group stage match of this year’s Champions League.
First, a look back to a few months ago. Groups were drawn, and the “Group of Death” was born. Group F featured our boy’s in red, last year’s runners-up in Borussia Dortmund, a very respectable Napoli team that finished 2nd in Serie A last year (and picked up a certain Striker a lot of Gooners had their hearts set on), and some French team everyone kind of thought would get run over. Point being, everyone KNEW that one major contender would be left out of the knockout stages at the end of Group F’s six matches. We (as a fan base) were a little distraught. Our boys had worked so hard just to make it to the group stages, and there we were in the absolute hardest group to move on from.
Fast-forward to yesterday, December 11th, 2013. We were first in the table with 12 points. All we had to do was not lose by 3 goals and we were through. We sat back on our laurels and lost by 2 goals. A completely different team than what we have seen up to this point. We seemed lost on the defensive side a fair few times (minus Koscielny, he was brilliant), and we had virtually no attacking prowess. Now I know this had to be the tactics set down from the boss, so this is why I hope for this:
I want us to Draw Real Madrid, Barcelona, or Bayern Munich in the first round of the knockout stages.
I simply want this because I know we will not be able to sit back for either stage against those teams. I want us to prove we have the quality to win, or I want us to exit the Champion’s league early enough for us to focus on our BPL campaign and the upcoming FA Cup round.
Do I think we have the quality, desire, and squad strength to face any of the aforementioned teams and come out on top? Absolutely.
I think if there’s any time to go take on a giant, it’s right now. I’m getting pumped just thinking about it, and I hope our boys are doing the same.
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