Arsenal Draw Villareal, Then Man United

Morning all. The Champions League draw was this morning for the next two rounds, and would you believe it, we've avoided another English team and drawn Villareal. I don't think it could have happened much better for us. Barca get drawn with a tough team in Bayern Munich, either Chelsea or Liverpool HAVE to go out since they are drawn against each other, and we won't have to face the Mancunian scum until next round as long as we both get through!I have to say that I'm thrilled with the draw. I think Villareal are a team we should be able to beat if we're playing at our best, plus it means the return of Robert Pires to Arsenal! Everyone loves Robert Pires, so it should be just look Henry or Vieira returning in terms of the warm reception he'll get.Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis, who remember is somewhat newly arrived, said this could be our year in the Champions League after he saw the draw this morning, and although this quote from his is really long, it's really good so I want to include the whole thing."We are laser-focused on the next round. We think we can get a result, but when we played them in 2006 we only just squeaked by. It will be a difficult test."The one thing we do believe in is not just the quality of the team, but also the character of our team. I think we saw that in the really difficult environment in Rome."Young player after young player made their penalty kicks when they had to. And we will have to draw on those reserves of character to get past Villarreal."We have never lost belief in ourselves. We have a superb group of young players. We still believe there is a potential for a really great season for us."We can beat anybody on our day. But we can't think beyond Villarreal. We will worry about the next step if we can get by the Yellow Submarine."In 2006 we missed out on this trophy by a nose. It might be our year this year. But it is not going to happen just because we want it to. Don't underestimate the depth of character we have."He's absolutely right I think. The draw sets up favorably for us, and Roma I think really did give our players a leap of confidence. Remember Theo after we won the shootout said it was like celebrating winning the World Cup in the dressing room. I'm getting really f'ing excited about the chances of winning the FA Cup or the Champions League this year. Obviously I want the Champions League more but just winning a trophy again would be magnificent.Liverpool vs Chelsea for the 5th straight year is really a worry for me. Don't they know that these ties between these two teams are the most boring ties in the history of football? What's worse, I'm sure these will be the matches choosen for television coverage here, because they always favor Liverpool, Chelsea, and United over here in the states. So with two of them in the same match it's a given, which leaves me watching Arsenal on my computer. I'll live through it though, because I think we have a good chance to make it through to the semi-finals for the first time in...I think ever, since 2005.In other great news, Cesc Fabregas was back in training for the first time yesterday. That's the most welcome news I've heard in months. Imagine him back playing with Arshavin. Won't that just be amazing? I hope we have room for Arshy, Nasri, Cesc, and Theo though once they're all healthy. It would be a crying shame to have to leave any of those magicians out.There is however, some bad news today, as Theo Walcott suffered a knee injury in training. Arsene Wenger says it locked up while walking back from training, and thinks it could be a cartilage problem. He said he is "surprised and worried" which is never good, and it makes me surprised and worried as well. Theo has been great since we got him back from injury and he brings a whole new dimension to our attack when he's able to go on the right side. They are scanning the knee to see how long he'll be out but fingers crossed that it's only minor.That's all I've got. I'll try to get a match preview up for Newcastle tomorrow. Until then, enjoy the fact that we got a good draw and Cesc's return! Cheers

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