Russian champions Rubin Kazan beat Barcelona 2-1 at Camp Nou. Liverpool lose 1-2 to Lyon at Anfield. Arsenal concede a late equalizer against AZ Alkmaar, 1-1. Dynamo Kiev (who's ever heard of them? Or right, one of the most important clubs in the development of modern football) draw 2-2 with Inter Milan. Rangers get hammered at home 1-4 to FC Unirea (which is bound to get us more than one urination gags on this Thursday's Football Weekly).
Ergo, every single major English daily is following various threads on just what this will mean for Rafa's future at Liverpool (yesterday was his fourth defeat in a row! We'll never keep our farm from mean old Mr. McGuire now!), or that Walter Smith must be smashed and boiled and eaten by dogs, and that Arsenal are just a bunch of suckling babes in mens-sized white and red shirts compared with the Giants of Yore, which means the Arsenal of 2004 I think.
But let's remember how UEFA has helpfully organized this competition. As Glendenning so often points out, you could lose just about a million games in the Fall and still walk out with Ol' Big Ears. So, let's have a little look at the tables shall we?
Just in case it's too small, Liverpool three points off the next round, Barcelona, top on goal difference, Inter one point off the top, Rangers three points off the the next round, Arsenal top by one point. There's a reason the Nou Camp was half empty last night. I understand papers need selling and fans need goading and bosses need pressure, but you're not going to fool me, or apparently many others, that anything of any importance ever happens to anyone in October in Europe in the sport of soccer. Although it sure was nice for the little kids to beat up on the big kids for once, even though those big kids will come back later with semi-automatic rifles and Teflon vests.
Fake Sigi ou—I mean, have a nice day.