Of course it would be much better for Arsenal fans if we were still involved in the Champions League, but unfortunately for us we got arguably the toughest draw in the first knockout phase and when we faced Barcelona in that double header they were at the peak of their powers and had not hit the poor run of form that has seen their nine point lead of La Liga cut to nothing and their own UCL exit at the quarter-final stage.
And let’s be honest Gooners, even if Arsenal had got past the holders we would probably have not gone any further judging by the way we’ve been playing. However, as well as a place in next season’s competition now being our only realistic target for the rest of the current season, the Champions League could still hold an interest for Arsenal fans.
The reason for this is the continued involvement of EPL rivals Man City. Not only is Arsene Wenger embroiled in a tussle with Manuel Pellegrini over a top three or top four finish, we still have to play them away next weekend. So what Arsenal really want is for the semi-final against Real Madrid to be a distraction for City and to have a negative effect on their league form.
There is a good chance of that really, especially as Pellegrini is off in the summer and so not all that bothered about whether they finish third or fourth or even fifth. He and the players are surely desperate to win the European cup and that could work in our favour, first of all if they drop points in the league away to Southampton on Sunday and then against us the following Sunday, when they will have played in Madrid on the Wednesday night.
What Arsenal want, in my opinion, is a tight and hard fought game tonight and then extra time next week. I am not really sure whether it would be better for us if they go out because as well as hitting their confidence it could inspire them to focus on the league.
Meanwhile, getting to the final could boost their morale but also distract them. What do you think would be the best result for Arsenal?