It makes Arsenal's task all very plain as they have to win over two legs to make the group stages of this season's competition. It's a feat they have achieved for 16 years in a row and they have to be favourites to do so yet again. The alternative doesn't bear thinking about as it would it would mean joining the also ran clubs for Thursday night football in the Europa League.
I am fairly confident that the current Arsenal squad will have enough within them to see off Fenerbache and progress, but it will be far from easy for them. The season begins at home to Villa in eight days and the first leg away to Fenerbache is only four days later. That's followed by a league trip to Fulham three days after that and then the home game with Fenerbache another three days after the Fulham game. Finally there's the home game against Spurs five days later before the players head off for a dreaded international break.
Of course just to complicate matters the players also have a break for international friendlies next week during the build up to the start of the new campaign. I know the players of other clubs will have to play for their countries too, but none of them will come back to the schedule facing Arsenal. The Arsenal squad isn't exactly bulging with players at the moment and any injuries picked up could have an adverse effect on their start to the campaign.
Somehow or other Arsenal have managed to reach August 9th without spending a penny of their transfer budget and have in fact taken in roughly €10 million in fees for players sold. Added to that there has been a clearing of decks with many of the unwanted and unneeded players at the club eventually finding new homes. There are a few still left to depart (hopefully) but I wouldn't be surprised if the wage bill has been cut by €500,000 per week.
That leaves an awful lot of room for new arrivals and us fans are being as patient as possible, but it's hard not to feel the gradual onset of panic. Plenty of players who might have done very well at Arsenal have joined other clubs and still Arsenal are keeping their powder dry expect for the arrival of Yaya Sanogo for free. It would appear Arsenal have put all of their eggs in the Luis Suarez basket, but Liverpool are adamant they do not want to sell to Arsenal.
There was a chance to sign Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid and he was available as Napoli proved when they bought him, but Arsenal decided Suarez was their first priority despite Liverpool not wanting to sell. It would seem Suarez and his people have got the wrong end of the stick with the clause in his contract and have passed that wrong information on to Arsenal. If Liverpool don't want to sell they don't have to and it could leave Arsenal in a very difficult situation.
I still remain hopeful that Arsenal can make the additions to their squad that are needed but it looks more and more likely that they will be last minute additions. Those players are needed immediately in my opinion and the next three weeks could be very awkward without them. The shortage of defenders at the moment is a real worry and Arsenal are only one injury way from a criss in their defence.
Hopefully it won't come to that and the team can progress to the group stages of the Champions League as well as taking six or seven points in their first three league games. The current squad is more or less the one which finished the season so well and won away to Bayern Munich as well. There are those who believe that squad is strong enough to compete at the top but I just cannot see it.
Chelsea, Manchester CIty and Spurs have all strengthened considerably and even if United fail to do so they finished very far ahead of Arsenal last season. Failure to strengthen the current Arsenal team/squad could be a huge mistake and just at the stage where the club finally have the finances in place to truly compete again.
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.