After Arsenal were dumped out of the race for the Premier League and the Champions League in the space of a couple of weeks, the FA cup took on even more importance to the Gunners than usual. Add to that the need of the players to prove their worth and bounce back quickly against the understandable backlash from Arsenal fans and football pundits and there is already plenty of motivation for Arsenal to put on a good show at Sutton United this evening.
Arsenal’s embarrassing rout in Germany on Wednesday sparked a frenzy of betting on Arsene Wenger to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post. A quick check on any sports bookie will tell you that his price has gone down from 66/1 just a couple of weeks ago, to a new low of just 8/1, so it was pretty obvious that Le Prof would have to answer questions about this from the media in yesterday’s pre-game conference.
The host Bayern Munich mauled Arsenal in front of the German supporters who were happy at the end of the game following the 5-1 demolition of the Visiting Arsenal side.
Bayern led by Philipp Lahm did not waste time in taking initiative in the match as they opened the scoring with just 8 minutes played.
The visitors (Arsenal) for much of the game were second best as the German host (Bayern Munich) dominated match proceedings in the entire game.
Arsenal may have got a win on the board for the first time in what seemed like a while last Saturday, but many won’t be expecting a similar outcome from the Gunners match against Bayern Munich. These next few weeks will be coming thick and fast for Arsenal, with the tough test having already kicked off at the weekend.
Recent history suggests that Arsenal are not going to get through to the next round of the Champions League. For one thing it has been seven long years since the Gunners got past Porto so despite qualifying every year and then always getting out of the group, that has been as far as it goes.
We also have a poor recent record against our opponents Bayern Munich, whether it has been at this same stage or when both clubs have been in the same qualifying group. But with the German champions not being at their best and Arsenal having finally won our own group this season, we do have more reason for optimism than usual.
Anything but a big defeat for Arsenal tonight at the Allianz Arena would keep the hopes of a Champions League quarter-final alive, but in reality the Gunners will be hoping to come away from Germany with nothing worse than a draw against the Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
Easier said than done, of course, even though Bayern have lost their midfield general Xabi Alonso to an injury. We have come up against the Germans a fair few times in recent years and despite a couple of good results we have never got the best of them in terms of winning a group or knocking them out. Some punters think they have more chance of winning a casino jackpot than beating the German giants!
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The Gunners picked up the maximum three points courtesy of their talismanic forward Alexis Sanchez who scored two cheeky goals in the 34th minutes and in the 92nd minute of the match to confirm the win for the Gunners.
The host started well and spurned their chances as it looked to be heading for a goalless first half into the break before the Chile forward out of persistent and good positioning in the box gave Arsenal the lead in the most fortunate circumstances (ball to hand) in the game.
Whether or not Arsenal will be looking for a new manager at the end of this season is still unsure, and reading between the lines of what Arsene Wenger and other folk associated with the Gunners like Ian Wright and Alan Smith are saying, it could depend on what happens with Arsenal on the pitch between now and May.
If the Gunners are looking for a new manager to replace the Frenchman, though, one of the strongest candidates, or at least the subject of more recent Arsenal transfer rumours than the others, is the current coach of Juventus. Massimiliano Allegri did nothing to dissuade the rumour mongers recently when he suggested that he might be ready for pastures new after this season, so maybe Arsenal fans won’t have to go to an online casino to feel lucky.
The former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright commented earlier this week, suggesting that Arsene Wenger had indicated to him that he was maybe ready to call time on his long spell as the manager of Arsenal in the summer caused the question to be put to the Frenchman this weekend after the Gunners bounced back from double defeats with a win over Hull City.
We have all made mistakes and I am fairly sure that most of us will have done so in the new world of social media, whether that be writing things after having one too many or falling for a scam. It was pretty clear that the Arsenal and England star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had made a mistake like that when he liked a post that included a call for Arsene Wenger to step down.