12 days to go…

That crept up. It’s the Champions League draw this morning in Switzerland, starting at 11am. There’ll be at least an hour’s preamble made up largely of middle-aged men congratulating one another before we find out who Arsenal have drawn. Here’s who we could get and crossed fingers it’s not Atletico Madrid or Galatasaray. Wenger is wary, saying “We’d like to avoid a few teams but will take what we get.” As if we can turn down the teams we don’t want. “Atletico Madrid you say? No thanks – put the ball back in the bag and do it again old boy”.

The Champions League effectively ensure our season starts three or four days early, and there’s not long to go now at all. There have been some sparkling pre-season performances, most notably from Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela and Jack Wilshere, and guessing our Champions League line-up is not as easy as you might think. Bendtner, I have always thought, is one to watch this season and the very fact that Wenger was prepared to sanction Ade the Agitator’s move says a lot about his potential. With Bendtner, van Persie, Vela, Walcott, Eduardo and of course Adebayor, we have a lot of options up top.

Talking of Adebayor, Jens thinks he should stay and Wenger says he is.

Adebayor has been made to look more than a little foolish this summer, losing all the kudos he earned last season and being shown up as the archetypal greedy modern footballer. There are ways to go about things to improve your lot that don’t involve airing your grievances in public, and Adebayor would do well to learn that.

If he stays, will he get a bad reception? Perhaps initially, but so long as he knuckles down then I hope it won’t be for long. Not because I tacitly approve of his stance, because clearly I don’t. More because, if we want to win something this season, a motivated Adebayor is a big plus and we’d be shooting ourselves in the foot. The red and white is more important. I say as much, and a bit more, in my last-minute contribution for today’s Arsecast.

Enjoy the weekend.

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