Parkhead Awaits… And It Won’t Be Easy

Arsenal have drawn Scottish giants, Celtic, in the Champions League Play-offs and hundreds of newspaper headline writers dig in their bag for that old chestnut, “Battle of Britain.” The UEFA co-efficients seemed not to have done their job as Lyon drew Anderlecht and Alexander Hleb’s Stuttgart drew FC Timisoara while Atletico Madrid drew Panathinaikos and Sporting Lisbon get Fiorentina. Arsenal will travel north to Celtic Park on either 18/19 August and then back home for the second leg the following week on 25/26 August.

Celtic FCSo, is this a good draw? Yes and no. Considering the way a less-than-full-strength Arsenal dispatched an admittedly not full-strength Rangers last week, I believe it is. Also, consider Celtic’s pathetic away record in the Champions League They were able to get their first away result in the Champions League in six years and 23 matches, however, in Moscow to advance to the play-offs.

On the other hand, it is certainly not a good draw because Parkhead has never been an easy stroll for any big team which goes there. Ideally, I would rather have the first tie at home where we could likely build up a nice lead for the second leg. Despite their poor away record and having lost 1-nil to Dinamo Moscow in the third-round first leg, Celtic have regularly gotten results against big clubs at Celtic Park. Just last year, in the group stages, Celtic drew United 1-1 and beat Villareal 2-nil at Celtic Park, while the year before that they beat Milan 2-1 and, in 2006, they beat United 1-nil at home.

What do you think of the draw?