Whose hands is Arsenal’s Champions eague place in? by OA
Last night, we saw a sensational team performance against a fairly lacklustre Zagreb team who beat us away. It was as though we turned a corner in the champions league, turning into the classic Arsenal sort of Champions League Group stage performance with the likes of Alexis, Ozil and Santi flourishing. The Bayern performance at home proved that we are a force but this demonstrated that we are a force to be reckoned with, a side that no-one wants to play against, a side by which if anyone switches off for a second, they will be forced to pay. The counter attacking style of play, pouncing off their corners and free kicks paid dividends as well as a solid possession performance and a combination of divine intricate play proving formidable.
Perhaps some clear positives from the game was the form of Alexis with his two goals, Ozil assisting yet again and even Joel Campbell taking on defenders and providing a killer pass to set up Alexis for his second for the night. This performance epitomised the Arsenal we love to see; the Arsenal we know and it portrays that we don’t mess around and we are in the Champions league to stay.
There were no negatives from the game; we kept a clean sheet and scored three goals and have now obtained a better goal difference than Olympiakos. This is great and I started on a positive note but is getting second place in the group in our hands or not?
Olympiakos are currently second in the group on 9 points, whereas we are on 6 points yet ahead of them on goal difference. In order to clinch second place it is vital that we beat Olympiakos but we can’t just win. We need to go to Greece and beat them by two goals, which is extremely difficult to do. We surely have the players and the talent to go there and achieve this but however good a team is, it is hard to breakdown a club that has ‘ten men behind the ball’ which is the way in which they will play against us. When we go to Greece, it is up to us to replicate the performance of last night and attack with drive, force, power and pace and then we have a chance of qualifying. When playing like this, we are unstoppable and this means that it is in our hands to go there and get a result. If we get the result, we go through.
However, Olympiakos are the home team, they are ahead of us and they have already demolished us on away goals. It is incredibly unlikely we will score three goals there or win 4-3. It is down to Olympiakos to not lose by two goals. The difference between the two teams is that Arsenal need one outcome which is to win by two goals, whereas Olympiakos will take almost all three outcomes (win, draw or lose 1-0). This means that the odds are still heavily stacked in their favour. They can sit back for a draw, push for a win and even take a loss by one goal. The chances are is that they will also score at home in front of their own fans so in general winning by two goals are very difficult and as Olympiakos are at home and are ahead of them, it is theirs to lose.
I’m not doubting Arsenal’s chances in this post but it isn’t in our hands. If we play our game in two weeks’ time we have a solid chance of making it through but in general we have nothing to lose, despite having tonnes of pressure whereas the side who has no pressure in Olympiakos have everything to lose, thus it being ore in their hands over who goes through the group stage.