When Arsenal lost our first Champions League group game away to the Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb two weeks ago, it was certainly a shock to many in the football world. And with Man City and Man United also losing their opening games, the debate about Premier League teams struggling in Europe was a hot topic in the football media.
However much of a blow our loss in Zagreb was, however, it is not necessarily a damaging blow, especially if the Gunners go out tonight and earn all three points against Olympiacos at the Emirates and put in an impressive performance.
Our German international star Mesut Ozil thinks that opening defeat could actually prove to be valuable to Arsenal and our hopes of going far in this season´s competition. He told Arsenal Player that he feels the Gunners are great at responding to a defeat and bouncing back strongly. We have certainly done so well in recent seasons, against Monaco last season and previously against Bayern Munich.
Ozil also dismissed the general concern about English teams´ failings and feels that we will do better this season. He reckons that Arsenal do have a squad capable of going all the way, although he also admits that any team needs a bit of luck along the way.
He said, “We’re developing ourselves further as a team. Defeats always rouse the team more and our aim this season is to go as far as possible, and if possible to win it, because we have the potential.
“But we are aware that there are a lot of teams in the tournament who are among the favourites and have a very good squad.
“In the Champions League, as in football, anything is possible and that’s what we want to show this year. With a bit of luck, we can reach our target and that’s what we want to do.
“We want to develop ourselves further. We have a very good team with lots of quality.
“Of course the first game didn’t go well for us but we have a lot of matches in front of us that we want to do well.
“I think there was a lot of misfortune last year. When you look at the English teams, you see that they are strong because they have a lot of players in their ranks who have a lot of quality.
“In the Champions League, especially in the knockout rounds, sometimes one goal or the away goals ruling can decide ties, like with us against Monaco, where that was the case.
“We had some bad luck and as a team you need more fortune. I think it will be different this year – the English sides are well equipped and will go far.”
Do you agree with Ozil? And do you think that early defeat will inspire the Gunners to better things in the games to come?