Tuesday, October 07, 2008

UEFA Cup draw analysis

Concensus has been that the draw we've been handed is a tough one, but whilst we have a couple of tricky fixtures in there, it is perhaps an easier group than some of the other English sides (certainly Aston Villa) have been handed.

Jack believes that 5 points should be enough to go through, but I would think Mark Hughes would be aiming at six points as a minimum, and probably seven to ensure a smooth progression.

I posted previously that the home games would be crucial, and I firmly believe that 2 wins is a must from the fixtures against Twente and PSG, both sides who are mid-table this season in their respective leagues.

The real big game is the trip to Schalke - a recent perennial Champions League side, who unfortunately came up against Atletico Madrid in the qualifiers. If we took a point from this game it would be a bonus - particularly coming as it does between home fixtures against Arsenal and United.

The final game - at Racing Santander could be a crucial one, although the hope is that we have done enough to secure qualification already, as despite not being a 'big side', they had a good campaign during 2007/08 and were not far off qualifying for the Champions League, and a trip there on the final day needing something to go through will not be an easy prospect.

Whilst we have the undoubted talent to go through - and it will be important to do so to get to the knock-out stages after the January window, the concern could be our lack of European experience as looking at the squad there is not a whole lot there.

The pace of games are slower than the Premier League, and we have seen so far (from lesser sides) that we do have to be patient and bide our time (particularly at home) against sides who will come with a game plan and set their stall out.

Having sounded that note of caution, I am taking us to go through in second place on seven points, along with PSG and group winners Schalke.

Full fixtures:

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Anonymous said...

No way on this earth have villa got a tougher group than us we probably got the toughest in the whole competition, fc twente did well last year and looked ok against arsenal considering the level you expect them to be at, schalke 04 well dont need to say much very good side lets hope history repeats and we stonk them like we did last time in europe against them, racing santander one of the better spanish teams last year not going so well up to now but better than average will be dangerous, psg unpredictable at the moment got good individuals like guily and makelele also kezman who is in form cant be wrote off good side, compare them to villas group which is
Hamburger SV (GER)
AFC Ajax (NED)
SK Slavia Praha (CZE)
Aston Villa FC (ENG)
MŠK Žilina (SVK)
so msk zilina not tough one bit, slavia prague very poor remember them from last year in european competition, ajax are a little better than good and not as good as schalke, hamburg are the only very good team they got so i think a stupid comment about there group being tougher than ours i would take every team they got above ours if i had a choice.

Danny Pugsley said...

I just think the top two sides in their group are stronger than in ours, so they have less margin for error than we do.

I'd still take Villa to go through but do think they have a tougher set of games.