It is safe to say that in recent years, Arsenal have really just been making up the numbers in the Champions League. Despite qualifying for the group stages year on year and going on to qualify for the knockout rounds, that has been as far as we go.
And after making a meal of the group again, letting Anderlecht pinch a draw after being 3-0 up, it looked like being the same old stary. But not anymore, because a favourable draw (for once) has given us a good opportunity to progress. Perhaps more important is our new found defensive team solidity, which many people have suggested that any club needs to have a chance of winning the big European trophy.
The Gunners are also boosted by the injury list getting smaller, with some key players like Walcott, Giroud and Ozil back again, with Wilshere and Arteta soon to follow as well as the signing of Gabriel to boost our defence. So while the players on loan are not in the squad anymore, Wenger has been able to add the names of Giroud, Gabriel and Coquelin, while some players like the Akpom, Ox and Bellerin can be included in the B squad as they are young and have been with us for at least two years. Below is the revised Champions League squad from Arsenal.
1. Wojciech Szczesny 2. Mathieu Debuchy 3. Kieran Gibbs 4. Per Mertesacker 5. Gabriel 6. Laurent Koscielny 7. Tomas Rosicky 8. Mikel Arteta 10. Jack Wilshere 11. Mesut Ozil 12. Olivier Giroud 13. David Ospina 14. Theo Walcott 16. Aaron Ramsey 17. Alexis Sanchez 18. Nacho Monreal 19. Santi Cazorla 20. Mathieu Flamini 21. Calum Chambers 23. Danny Welbeck 24. Abou Diaby 26. Emiliano Martinez 34. Francis Coquelin 35. Gedion Zelalem
15. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 27. Serge Gnabry 38. Chuba Akpom 39. Hector Bellerin 42. Isaac Hayden 43. Ryan Huddart 44. Deyan Iliev 45. Alex Iwobi 47. Glen Kamara 52. Tafari Moore 54. Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill 64. George Dobson 70. Ainsley Maitland-Niles 73. Stefan O’Connor
That looks pretty strong, deep and talented to me, but is is good enough to actually win the thing?