Should Arsenal fear ANYONE in the Knock-out stages?

So it is the first time in ten years that Arsenal have gone unbeaten in the Champions League Group Stage and finished top of the group, and will go into the knockout stages full of confidence for a change.

Due to the new seedings format, we are not guaranteed an easier opponent as in earlier years, but should we really fear facing anyone with the new depth and talent in our squad? We could easily be drawn against Benfica, Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund or Real Madrid, Porto or Copenhagen or Juventus or Sevilla in the next round, but the ex-Arsenal pundit Charlie Nicholas thinks that the Gunners are much improved from previous campaigns.

“When Arsenal are a club with fluency and momentum, they are as good as anybody,” Nicholas said on SkySports. “They’ve beaten Barcelona in the past and they can beat any of the top sides, but can they do it consistently. It’s looking as if they are much tougher. They are much more up for the fight and it is all good news for Arsenal.”

“Arsenal have got their swagger back and were in the groove,” he said. “He didn’t score tonight but Alexis Sanchez, alongside Mesut Ozil, was absolutely fabulous to watch.

“The players that came in also did well. Lucas Perez got a hat-trick, Alex Iwobi scored, Kieran Gibbs basically got three assists and Rob Holding also played well at the back. So it’s all good news and a happy December so far.”

“The squad’s so strong. You’ve got Walcott on the bench, you’ve got Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has been getting the nod ahead of the likes of Iwobi, who also grabbed a goal. Now Wenger’s got a fabulous headache.

“It’s amazing what a competitive edge does to a group because you don’t need to be the best of mates, but in training, you’ll feel the spirit, you’ll feel the togetherness and you’ll feel the endeavour that you’ve got to be at the top of your game to impress the manager.”

“There are no excuses for Arsenal anymore.” he continued. “You have the money, you have the capacity and you have the quality. It’s up to them to prove it and not just Arsene standing up in his loyal chair and saying I believe in these guys.

“They have to show it but I just feel that with this competitive edge and togetherness, it’s becoming a bit of a realityno matter who we draw?

Considering it was partly a second string side last night, Arsenal were still extremely impressive. So is Charlie Nicholas right that we shouldn’t fear anyone? Or are you one of those particular type of Arsenal fans that still thinks we will bottle it and get knocked out in the last 16?



  1. truegunner12 says:

    While I am very pleased with the past few results let’s not get carried away here. Arsenal have generally never had a problem thrashing smaller teams. Results against a terrible West ham fighting relegation and Basel are welcome bUT let’s not get carried away here. We’ve not really had a statemet win vs any too quality opposition bar the Chelsea team who were still in shambles.

    Loss to Liverpool, draw with Spurs, United and PSG twice.

    So let’s not go overboard, we have a good crop and are playing well but quiet optimism is the name of the game.

    1. ThirdManJW says:

      Couldn’t agree more. We must step it up in the big games, because we should have definitely lost to PSG twice, United, and arguably could have lost to Spurs as well. Poor finishing from our opponents has saved us thus far, but that luck won’t last forever.

      We have Everton, and ManC away very soon, so that’ll be a good test to see if we are improving in the big games.

    2. josh37 says:

      But the fact that we have snatched wins and draws against bigger opponents is a statement in itself. The same could be said of Chelsea on the weekend, give Aguero and KDB those chances and they’ll bury them 9/10. Chelsea were fortunate that 10% happened and they punished them for it.
      When we don’t bury our chances it’s us playing badly… Don’t give other teams the credit of ‘luck’ when no-one gives our players the same courtesy, myself included. We’ve fought for those points and been ruthless late in games if teams even give us the slightest of whiffs..

      1. ThirdManJW says:

        I agree with you about the draws being a statement, as we have improved this season, and we’ve only won one big game, so it isn’t “wins”, just a singular “win”. Although Chelsea did get some luck, they didn’t draw the game though. But I get your overall point, that in previous seasons we would have lost most of the games we’ve been drawing.

        If you watched the Arsenal games, there’s no way you can say we were not lucky! PSG should have buried us in first half in France. Ospina was outstanding, but overall, PSG had so many clear goal scoring opportunities, and exactly the same in the return game. It was poor finishing, mainly by Cavani, that cost them. Although United didn’t have a lot of chances, we created almost nothing until the Giroud header. United should have won that one. Also Spurs had some quality chances against us, although we had some ourselves, so maybe the draw was a fair result. Against Chelsea we were outstanding, and shocking against Liverpool (although it was a disgraceful, and disrespectful team selection from Wenger).

        We have improved this season, but we’ve had a fair amount of luck, especially in the big games. I am not complaining, as Arsenal don’t usually get a lot of luck.

        1. josh37 says:

          I get what you’re saying…
          But we’ve been on the other side of the games we’ve deserved to win and walked away with a point or nothing soooo many times. I’m just saying that it never gets put down to ‘luck’ when those occasions occur and we’re on the other side of it.

        2. NY_Gunner says:

          Luck, is just a weak minded mans excuse to rationalise his inability to accept reality. If’s and could have, would haves do not count in real time because, they did not happen.

  2. ThirdManJW says:


  3. josh37 says:

    It’s not so much a matter of fear… But it’s the added pressure playing a top-5 team can have on the PL campaign. We were on a monster high last season after doing Leicester with the last kick of the game. Then heavy congestion and multiple competitions absolutely derailed our season. Shocking performances against Hull, United, Swansea and Watford as well as a back down to earth showing from Barca absolutely killed any momentum we had.
    I honestly hope Wenger plays our second string in the F.A. Cup regardless of opponent and how deep we go. Leicester, Liverpool and Chelsea have shown so, so, so obviously the advantage of streamline focus on certain competitions. We’ve done excellently this season in being unbeaten in the CL, top of the group and 3pts off the top of the table. We now have to do all we can to keep key players fit, firing and not stretch this squad too far. Keep key players fresh!

  4. Jansen says:

    I think we should fear everyone for the knock-out stage. We know at this level if we don’t fear our opponents we slip up. We have a tendency to be arrogant in our squad.

    Did we really fear Monaco last season?

    I hope we get a big name team, preferably Bayern. Our players will be less likely to underestimate a big name team than a Monaco or Lerverkusen.

    1. NY_Gunner says:

      We did not underestimate Monaco. We overestimated our defence and midfield…

  5. citrenoogeht says:

    I watched the Real Madrid vs Dortmund match last night. The gegenpressing adopted by Dortmund was sometimes at its best. The quality that Real Madrid galacticos possess is undeniable. I must say that I am concerned by what I saw. But to coin the old phrase, to win the competition you are going to have to face the big boys at some stage during the competition. Hopefully it’s later rather sooner.

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