So we didn’t get what we wanted last night over at Tottenham, unless Bambi inexplicably turning out in a white shirt and shocking the world by scoring a hat-trick is what you’re in to, but at least that makes four English teams into the group stage of the Champions League, and not a scouser in sight.
Come around 5:30pm this evening we will know the make-up of the group stages for this year’s competition and there’s subplots in abundance, and if people are anything like me then you must love a good bit of controversy that seems to surround the group stages ever year.
Whether it be a cheeky bit of match fixing, the ludicrous results that always seem to spring up, and the ‘big name’ who look to be heading out only to ‘miraculously’ recover at the final hurdle, it’s all here.
It all seems to come down to one man when you look at it from afar. Quite possibly the best and, at the same time, most controversial off the field character in the world of sports Jose Mourinho, who has taken up the reigns at Real Madrid for their annual stab at deposing of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona. Who can Real get, and what would be the ramifications?
Well as they’re in Pot 2 with forgotten names of European football such as Benfica and Ajax, they will get a prize scalp when the draw is made. It’s apt then that one of Inter, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd, Milan, Bayern, and Lyon will definitely be drawn together with Los Galacticos.
First there’s the obvious one, Chelsea. Mourinho spent a very successful three seasons at the London club, and even stuck one up Roman Abramovich last season by beating Chelski over two legs. It’s all rather amicable when Jose returns to South West London, he hasn’t lost there yet though. Just watch him strop about the touchline as Drogba strokes home a third.
Second up are Chelsea’s London rivals, if you can call them that, Arsenal. Oh the fun Jose used to have with London’s most famous Young Boys of Bern fan, Arsene Wenger. Accusing him of being a ‘rat’, and in the most of all the barbs saying the Arsenal boss was a ‘voyeur,’ one of those people who likes to watch people from his house with a telescope. It’s hard to tell whether Mourinho had actually seen him doing this first hand. Wouldn’t be that surprising now would it?
Lastly, and certainly not least in the weight stakes if nothing else, Rafael Benitez, who we find managing Jose’s treble-winning Inter Milan side. The verbal jousting has already started for these two, Mourinho suggesting Benitez did nothing at Liverpool – don’t think Jose knew what the Champions League was when he managed Chelsea. The fact that Benitez now has one of Mourinho’s two teams in other countries round the world, the other being Chelsea, also adds even more spice if it needed any – think of it akin to Fat Les’s bucket of Vindaloo he shared with his mum, his dad, and his nan.
Hopefully someone at UEFA will fix this afternoon’s draw so that we see the outcome we all want from the draw – Inter, Real Madrid, Spurs, Rubin Kazan. Heck of a group that would be. Good luck Harry, get those envelopes ready.