Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Arsenal-Sparta Prague: 1 Cup Tie For Prestige, Playing With The Big Boys, and $50-80 Million

By finishing 4th last season Arsenal "qualified" for the Champions League, but the quotation marks mean that unlike the top 2 EPL finishers, Arsenal must play 1 home and home in the 3rd and final qualifying round to get into he Champions League proper, otherwise known as group stage.

Arsenal have been drawn with Czech league champions Sparta Prague, and they play today in Prague and then next week in London. The winner on aggregate {away goals is the 1st tiebreaker} is in the Champions League, and the loser is not- it's that simple.

At stake is a place at the table with the best of the best, and Arsenal have dined at that table every year since 1998. Oh, and there's the little matter of additional revenue for being in the uber-lucrative CL- somewhere on the order of 25 to 40 million pounds depending on how far you advance.

To the victor goes the trophy with the big ears.
And several boatloads of cash.

Also it should be noted that the transfer window {think: trading deadline} closes in 2 weeks, and I'm sure there is a player or two that Arsene is looking to bring in. Without Champions League football, those players will likely take a pass on Arsenal and sign for a club who is in the CL, and Arsene might then have to drop down a bit on his wishlist.

In other words, it's pretty fucking huge. For a bigger club like Arsenal it would be a massive embarrassment and loss to miss out.

The Champions League is like Ron Burgundy

Here's hoping Tomas Rosicky, who is from Prague and used to play for Sparta {Myles tells us that his dad and older brother played for Sparta as well}, scores 8 goals in his return home thus ensuring a stress free qualification.

Oh, and there 15 other matchups between the other 30 teams fighting to get in. You can keep up with all the scores here or here.

Come on you Gunners...


moin said...

Another good place to keep up with scores from all around is here.

moin said...

oh cripes, url: