Leaving their daily meeting in little doubt as to their individual roles in the task, UEFA staff reportedly got to work this morning creating the worst possible last 16 draw for Arsenal.
According to sources at the European football governing body, a 100-strong team have been assigned to produce what they have described as “the worst Arsenal draw in years”.
“Every year we have a large group assigned to ruin Arsenal’s draw. Usually however it’s just around 50 of us, so the fact that has been doubled shows the commitment that the organisation is making towards this,” said one staff member, adding that while it may not seem ideal, Arsenal’s finishing atop their group actually gives UEFA greater scope to “flex their creative muscles” in building a truly nightmarish draw.
“At first we were a little disheartened over it. Whenever they’ve finished second we’ve just matched them with the most difficult team, so we feared it would be a lot harder this year. But then we had to factor in the enthusiasm that many Arsenal fans and players would be feeling and the ease with which we can turn that enthusiasm into pain for them. It’ll take a bit more work but really, it’s much easier to hurt a club when they’re looking forward to the next round.”
At press time, staff were reportedly trying to figure out whether they’d be able to match Arsenal with Barcelona, despite both finishing top of their group.