You could hardly have called Arsenal first two group matches being lucky, with the unbelievable defeats to Zagreb and Olympiakos, and Arsene Wenger acknowledged that things didn’t go our way, but also opined that his team usually qualified anyway.
Well that came through in style last night with Olivier Giroud’s amazing first ever hat-trick as we overcame all the odds and smashed Olympiakos in Athens to get our name in Monday morning’s draw for the knockout stages. In this form, and maybe with a little bit of luck, this could perhaps be Arsenal’s year, in the Champions League as well as the Premier League.
Wenger admitted that he hadn’t even bothered thinking about who we could get in the next round. He said: “We’ll see. At the moment I haven’t even looked at who we could get. We were so nearly out that I put all my focus into staying in this competition. The kind of performance tonight, in a very heated atmosphere, showed that we have great character. These games make the team stronger and this one certainly will.
“It is a fantastic achievement for us. When you look at who we’ve lost in the last three weeks, we’ve lost Coquelin, Cazorla and Alexis among other long-term injuries, not many people gave us a chance. We are a real team. In the dressing room this team is very close and you could see that again today.
“….It will make us stronger and strengthen the belief of the squad. It is a special night for us because, as we said before the game, we were in escape mode. We needed something special and when you deliver something special it can create positive memories for the rest of the season. Maybe it’s a lucky year for us in the Champions League, you never know.”
We will look into who we can draw later but there wont be much choice! We can’t draw Bayern or Chelsea or Man City, but we are most likely to draw one f the top three Spanish sides. But as Wenger says, it doesn’t matter who you draw at this stage of the competition, you just have to play your best and hope the luck falls your way….
Onwards and Upwards!