You can’t imagine that Arsene Wenger is quaking too much in his boots after the draw for the Champions League third qualifying round was made on Friday. However, he probably would have wanted to avoid a team managed by someone with a reasonably good knowledge of English football, having enjoyed / endured an ill-fated recent reign as manager of the national team.
That’s right, Arsenal are playing FC Twente as they aim to land a place in the group stages of the Champions League. The Gunners travel to Holland for the first leg in ten days time, before hosting their opponents a fortnight later. Sky Sports report that the club are comfortable with the draw.
Arsenal company secretary David Miles told Sky Sports News: “We will be pleased with the draw; logistically Holland isn’t too far and it will give our fans the opportunity to see the game.
“When Steve was first-team coach for the national team and then manager they used to use our training ground (at London Colney) so there are good relations there.”
Asked whether he thought McClaren would be disappointed to have landed such a tough draw, Miles added: “I’m assuming people will say Arsenal are one of the strongest seeded teams and he might have been hoping for someone else, but that’s what the draw brought us and we get on with it.”
So then, is it more a case of how much Arsenal will win by, rather than whether they will win? At least McClaren has an immediate opportunity to show that he’s not a failure when it comes to management, especially if he can run his Premier League opponents close over the two legs. What do you think the aggregate score will be?