Date:Thursday March 13 2008
Patrice Evra reckons Arsenal would be no tougher opponents than any other team in the Champions League quarter-finals.
As we are eagerly awaiting the draw, most of our players felt necessary to stress they fear no one. Basically, they're all singing the right songs but we'll see if they can deliver on the pitch.
Evra's comments stand out because he was the most straightforward of all: he admitted he does not give a damn about Arsenal.
'Why not get Arsenal? I don't give a damn,' he told the Daily Express.
'I have played every year against Arsenal. We drew 2-2 on their ground and we can't wait to play them again next month. We beat them 4-0 in the FA Cup, too.
'You have to say they struck a big blow in knocking out the holders, but, basically, Arsenal don't scare me.
'The only team I am looking at for the next round of the Champions League are Manchester United.
'It would be a mistake to say we'd rather have Fenerbahce than Barcelona, say. That's when you get hit.
'Look at Real Madrid when they played us at Monaco in the quarter-finals in 2004. They were so confident they booked their hotel for the semi-final - but they hadn't reckoned on us. You have to stay concentrated.'
That's true. I'd like to avoid Arsenal if only because I feel competing them with one front is enough. But I understand Evra's position: he, like Rooney, always performs magnificently against the Gooners - and this is one of the reasons why he is one of my very favourite players!
But anyway I think it's only one of the old clichés that 'it doesn't matter who we get if we want to go all the way'. With the terrible April we have, we can admit that it would be much, much better to play Fenerbahce or Schalke than Barcelona or Arsenal. That's logical so while I understand why the players say what they say, we supporters should admit that there are better and worse options for us.
I, for one, will root for getting Schalke tomorrow.
Date:Thursday March 13 2008
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