Only the most optimistic of Arsenal fans will still believe that Arsene Wenger has a chance of guiding the team to a Premier League title this season, despite all the events of the weekend meaning that the Gunners cut the gap to Chelsea to 12 points. Even if the league leaders continue to slip up it will be Man City not us that overhaul them.
And although we are still looking at a tough test among many clubs to finish in the top four, Arsenal are now looking for a trophy to put some gloss on another season hampered by the ongoing injury problems. Clearly the FA cup looks the easier of the two even though our next game is away to Man United, but the one we all really want is the Champions League.
Both Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck have been talking up our chances this week as the Gunners have a great chance of making it to the quarter-finals for the first time in five years. As reported by Arsenal.com, Welbeck is not taking for granted that we will get past Monaco but he does sound very confident about our ability to have a good run in the competition with the squad that Arsene Wenger has.
He said, “It’s a special competition. You get to play against different styles of play, the best sides in Europe and it’s something that a lot of the players look forward to. It’s massive if you can get far in the competition and that’s what we’re going to be doing this season.
“I would love to keep on progressing to the last stages of the competition and that’s the aim for all the players here. Testing yourself against the world’s best players in the Champions League is a great challenge.
“At this level every match you play is going to be a challenge, but all players enjoy it. We just need to be strong on the day and play to our strengths.
“We’re obviously all looking forward to playing against Monaco. Any team you get in the Champions League will be a difficult opponent and it will be no different with Monaco. They have strong players and it’s going to be a big challenge for us over the two legs.”
Giroud was even more bullish about the Gunners’ chances, as an ESPN report reveals. Our French striker believes that the boss has been building a really powerful Arsenal team that now has the quality to compete with anybody on our day. And that is what makes a successful cup side, along with a healthy dash of luck at the right time.
Giroud said, “Winning the Champions League remains an objective. In recent years, our recruitment has been significant, we’re building a team to challenge the biggest sides.
“Alexis, we call him ‘Duracell’. He allies talent and determination. Ozil, he’s quietly strong; he’s very calm, almost introverted, very at ease technically, and when his confidence is up, he makes the difference.
“Cazorla reads the game very well. I have a special relationship with him, we arrived at the same time, we find each other very well. [Laurent] Koscielny holds things together at the back. He’s surgical in his interventions, we’re calmer when he’s there.”
There are others of course and the squad really does look a lot stronger than when Giroud joined, but is it really good enough to finally add the European cup to the Arsenal trophy cabinet?