It is hardly surprising that there was a protest by the Arsenal fans planned before the Gunners took on Bayern Munich in the Champions League last night, especially as the 5-1 drubbing by the Germans a few weeks ago was the sort of performance that has convinced many of us that it is time for the Frenchman to end his long spell in charge and give another manager the chance to get Arsenal back to the trophy winning times we all want to see.
Fans of Arsenal or any football club for that matter will usually come down on the side of the manager, as they are the main representative of the club, when a player is showing petulance on the pitch or if there are suggestions that they are causing problems in the dressing room.
The fact that we Gooners seem to be fairly split over the Arsene Wenger and Alexis Sanchez shows just how important a player we think the Chilean, while some of it is also down to the frustration over our fortunes for the last decade and the feeling among many that Wenger’s time is up.
After Arsene Wenger left Alexis Sanchez on the Arsenal bench for the first half of our Premier League defeat to Liverpool it was always going to be a big talking point and in some ways I can see why the manager felt that he had to show some authority after a reported training ground incident surrounding the Chilean striker.
Despite denying the row, Wenger has hinted at the reasons behind it being that the recent shows of frustration on the pitch from Alexis have come about through his wish for the rest of the Arsenal team to get stuck in and make the same effort as he does on a regular basis.
The big team news for Arsenal as we prepare for the return leg of our Champions League tie with the German champions Bayern Munich is that Mesut Ozil will not be lining up to face his international teammates like Thomas Muller and Phillip Lahm, because Arsene Wenger has confirmed on the Arsenal website that our playmaker will not have recovered from his bout of illness in time.
The boss said, “He is not in the squad, he only had one session yesterday and he was sick – he was out the whole of last week and I don’t think he is ready physically to be in the squad. He should be okay for 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!
Well there you have the perfect example of Arsenal’s luck, after we drew the German giants Bundesliga for the next round of the Champions League despite having finally finished on top of our qualifying group for the first time since 2011.
Arsene Wenger will surely be cursing his poor fortune, although I suppose it could have been worse as the one team that the Frenchman really did not want to draw was Real Madrid and that was also a possibility. Maybe the fact the PSG who came second in our group after that surprise draw in the final group game were drawn with the other Spanish giants Barcelona.
While Arsenal are not exactly in a bad place right now, as we sit just three points off the top of the Premier League and are already guaranteed a place in the next round of the Champions League, you could argue that we have not really pushed on as we would have hoped after comfortably beating our bogey team Chelsea.
It is not a 100 percent accurate way of telling which Arsenal players will be in the starting line-up, but almost every time Arsene Wenger chooses one of the Gunners to do a press conference with him then that player will be in the team.
Yesterday the Arsenal boss spoke to the football media as Arsenal prepare for the Champions League away tie with Ludogorets and it was the two goal hero from Saturday’s win at Sunderland, Olivier Giroud, who fielded questions alongside Wenger, as the match preview in The Mirror shows.
Will It Finally Be Arsenal’s Year In Europe Or Will The Good Start In The Champions League End?
Say what you like about Arsene Wenger, and people frequently do, but the man has consistently got Arsenal into the Champions League competition every year since 1998. Consistent performances in the Premier League have seen them finish in the top 4 year on year earning them the right to compete with the most elite clubs in Europe. Despite 19 appearances in the competition the Gunners have only made the final once and never won. Wenger, who is currently in the last year of his contract, may sense the clock is ticking and believe this is his last chance to finally win the major title that has eluded him.
Here we take a look at Arsenal’s football odds over this seasons Champions League campaign.