Arsenal’s Champions League dream returns tonight in a fixture that will hopefully rival Manchester City vs Barcelona for excitement but see the home side get a better result against one of the European giants. The Gunners will tonight welcome German super club and current holders of the Champions League trophy, Bayern Munich, to the Emirates for the first leg of the last 16 round.
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Amidst all the fuss being created over Arsenal’s failure to hang on to the top spot in Group F of the Champions League, Gunners midfielder Mathieu Flamini has claimed that the fact that the North London side made it to the last 16 of Europe’s premier competition is an achievement in itself and believes that the team is due a lot more credit.
Following a rather comfortable win over Southampton in the Premier League, Arsenal welcome Ligue 1 side Olympique Marseille to the Emirates in the fifth round of the Champions League group stage. A victory for Arsene Wenger’s side can all but guarantee a place in the knockout stages of the competition and the Gunners will be looking to finish their business early as travelling to Naples in need of points is not a very ideal situation.
Arsenal have gotten off to a very good start this season, excelling expectations in both the Premier League and Champions League. The Gunners may have faltered in the Capital One Cup, however the club’s respective positions in the other two competitions more than make up for it.
At the start of the season and after the 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa, nobody expected Arsenal to be in position we are in. However after beating German super club Borussia Dortmund and regaining our position at the top of the champions league group of death, Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp has taken expectations even further to suggest that Arsenal could go as far as to win the Champions League.
I think it’s no real surprise that Arsenal are expecting a difficult game tonight as we look to visit last year’s Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund at their home stadium in Germany. The highly contested game holds more pressure for Arsenal to rekindle their Champions League chase for top spot rather than Borussia Dortmund who took all three points from the Gunners a few weeks back at the Emirates.
Arsenal fans are in a pretty good mood at the moment thanks to our brilliant league form but the same can’t be said for the Champions league. Losing to Dortmund at home has put us in a very tricky situation and personally, I think we’ll need a draw if we are to survive the group.
Dortmund were really effective against Arsenal at the Emirates because they were able to stifle our creativity whilst always being prepared to hit us on the counter attack. I think it won’t be such a problem at the Signal Iduna Park. We’ll have less possession and will look to move the ball quickly when we do to cause Dortmund some problems.
Ahead of the highly anticipated Champions League clash against Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal have been given a huge boost on the injury front as winger Theo Walcott is on the brink of fitness. While the trip to Germany might be a bit too early for the Englishman, he seems to be more than likely to take to the pitch against reigning Premier League champions Manchester United on Saturday.
A lot of Arsenal fans already likes the outgoing, entertaining and intelligent Jurgen Klopp, despite his side springing a disappointing defeat on us in the last Champions League game at the Emirates. But after the Borussia Dortmund’s latest words, his stock has risen even more.
In an interview with the Guardian in the build up to the return Champions League fixture in Germany, Klopp waxed lyrical about Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. He declared himself in love with the English style of football, especially the brand of it on show at the Emirates. The Gunners manager, in his opinion should already have been knights along with ol’ purple nose himself.
So at the weekend, Arsenal continued their fantastic run in the Premier League campaign with another win, this time over fellow challengers Liverpool. The Gunners opened up a 5 point lead ahead of both Chelsea and Liverpool who sit in 2nd and 3rd place respectively divided only by goal difference.
The result was obviously important because it meant that we continued our stride in challenging for the Premier League title this season; however it was also very important that we won on Saturday because it brought the club’s confidence and momentum back up to a standard that felt like champions.
After what has been a week of ups and downs for Arsenal, following the disappointment of losing to Chelsea, thankfully only in the Capital One Cup and then the impressive 2-0 win over Liverpool that kept us at the top of the Premier League and notably 5 points clear of both second and third place, following Chelsea’s loss to Newcastle and of course Liverpool’s defeat at the Emirates, things are looking good for the Gunners.