Why Drawing Barcelona Could Be Good News For Arsenal

Why Drawing Barcelona Could Be Good News For Arsenal

Arsenal v Barcelona draw
When Barcelona were pulled out of the hat after Arsenal in today’s Champions League draw, this picture pretty much summed up most of their fans’ immediate reaction…

Firstly, this could be the best chance Arsene Wenger’s side have had of winning the Premier League since they last lifted the trophy in 2004. Everyone is slipping up at the moment, and although they haven’t looked flawless themselves, they are currently top of the table, at least until Leicester play Chelsea tonight.

In terms of what it does for their league chances, drawing Barcelona actually creates a win-win situation for the North Londoners.

Let’s say the conclusion to the two-legged tie is what most people expect it to be – a comfortable win for the best team in the world. Arsenal will be out of the competition without losing any great amount of pride, and Wenger can simply focus all his attention on the title race. There’ll be less of a chance of picking up anymore crucial injuries, and fewer fixtures to consider for the man-in-charge when it comes to planning tactics.

That might just give Arsenal the edge they need in what looks like being a very open race for top spot.

If we were to flip things round and say, hypothetically, that they managed to pull off a miraculous victory over Luis Enrique’s side, could there be a better boost of confidence for the squad? I doubt it. This would give them the belief that they could beat anyone and everyone, and if they can overcome a team as good as Barcelona, there’s no reason why they can’t challenge for both the league and Champions League.

Personally, I can’t see them outscoring Barca, but you’ve got to beat the best to be the best, so if they’re not good enough to win the tournament they may as well go out now and concentrate on achievements that are realistic.

So, Arsenal fans, stop mourning your bad luck and see it as an opportunity to pull off something special, and if it doesn’t work out, there’s still plenty more in this season for you.

Keep the faith, Arsenal

Keep the faith, Arsenal !

Olympiakos v arsenal live stream
Olympiakos v Arsenal Live Stream on pumarsenal.com

It’s judgement week for Arsenal in the Champions League. With the Gunners’ hopes hanging by a thread, Arsene Wenger’s men need a two-goal victory at Olympiakos to seal a last 16 spot despite losing their opening two group games. However, the Champions League hasn’t earned a reputation as the most dramatic and thrilling club competition without producing stunning comebacks. Here are 10 of the finest, including another English club who required a two-goal win over Olympiakos and ended up lifting the trophy…

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Arsenal 2003/04

Despite becoming the ‘Invincibles’ in the Premier League, the Gunners were far from impenetrable in Europe that season, losing two of their first three group games – including a 3-0 hiding from Inter at Highbury. But after Ashley Cole snatched a crucial 88th-minute winner in their fourth game against Dynamo Kyiv, Arsenal went on to annihilate Inter 5-1 at the San Siro in arguably their most formidable European display, led by the brilliance of two-goal Thierry Henry. Arsene Wenger’s men managed to hold their nerve and clinched a 2-0 home win over Lokomotiv Moscow to progress on 10 points as group winners, demonstrating the steely character that proved the bedrock of that great Gunners side.

Mission to sing Marcelo Brozovic part 2

Mission to sing Marcelo Brozovic part 2

marcelo brozovic transfer rumours arsenal
Brozovic is a full Croatian international having played 10 times for his country

Arsenal are lining up a surprise move for Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Marcelo Brozovic to solve their midfield injury problems, according to reports.

The Gunners have been linked with a host of central midfielders after Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla picked up long-term injuries, with the duo facing three months and four months out respectively.

Bayer Leverkusen star Lars Bender is understood to have emerged as the Gunners’ ideal target, but according to ItaSportPress Brozovic is also being lined up as an alternative.

The 23-year-old is currently on loan at Inter Milan, who have the first option to sign the midfielder.

It’s also claimed that the player is keen on a move to the Emirates, though, and Arsenal appear ready to pounce should Inter fail to agree a deal for him.

Santi Cazorla undergoes knee surgery and could be facing four-month layoff

Santi Cazorla undergoes knee surgery and could be facing four-month layoff

santi cazorla injury
Santi Cazorla could be out for up to four months after Arsene Wenger confirmed the midfielder underwent knee surgery on Friday.

The 30-year-old Spain international was injured early in the second half of Arsenal’s recent draw at Norwich – but remained on the pitch for the rest of the game.

Wenger admitted afterwards that Cazorla had finished the match “on one leg” and said in his press conference ahead of Saturday’s victory over Sunderland that it was a possibility the former Malaga man would be out until March.

It was unclear at that point whether Cazorla would require an operation but, speaking after the 3-1 win over Sam Allardyce’s Black Cats, Wenger revealed the player had gone under the knife.

When asked if the club knew if the ligament had ruptured and if surgery was required the Frenchman replied: “We know now. It has happened already. It’s not the season. It is at least three months, maybe four.”

Wenger said it was the opportunity to begin rehabilitation as soon as possible that had seen Cazorla have the surgery sooner rather than later – having been to see a specialist in Spain last week.

“Santi wanted to have a chance to come back quickly so he didn’t want to last too long for 25 opinions and he decided to go straight away,” Wenger added.

“The guy said, ‘look it’s a clear case, it’s a rupture of the external knee ligament’. And he said ‘Okay, let’s do it straight away.'”

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3 Things Arsenal Need To Do To Ensure Qualification Into Next Round

3 Things Arsenal Need To Do To Ensure Qualification Into Next Round

arsene wenger olympiakos

As Arsenal get ready to face off against Olympiakos in the Champions League, manager Arsene Wenger knows that it is a must-win game for his side, who need to beat their opponents by a couple of goals at least to secure qualification to the round of 16. The Gunners have lost just once in their last five matches in all competitions and will hope to carry that form forward. If the north London side wish to advance to the knockout stages of the tournament, they will have to perform at their very best and the French manager would hope that his side can produce a solid performance when they travel to Greece.

Injuries have once again made things worse for Wenger’s side, especially to some of the regular first-team players like Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla.

It seems that the Frenchman will now have to use the options available to him wisely and here are three things that Arsenal really need to do in order to secure qualification to the round of 16:

3. Theo Walcott to start in place of Joel Campbell

theo walcott

There is no doubt that Theo Walcott is a better-attacking option that Joel Campbell and it would be wise to play both him and Olivier Giroud in the game, as Arsenal are in need of goals to qualify. The England international was scoring goals on a regular basis, prior to his injury which kept him out for quite some time. It would be interesting to see whether this ploy really works or not, though it is a risk worth to be taken.

Arsenal lost to Olympiakos in the reverse fixture and will want to turn things around, as they look to go through. Europe has not been the Londoner’s most preferred hunting ground and the team will have to fight hard to secure a win and go through.

2.  Use Olivier Giroud upfront

giroud against olympiakos

If both Giroud and Walcott have to play, it would mean that the latter would have to play on the wings. The France international would feature as the lone striker and his strength and ability to shoot would come handy to the Gunners.

The Frenchman has done a good job in the absence of his team-mate, who was sidelined with yet another injury that he picked up in the League Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday and recently made his return to the squad.

  1. Play the double pivot of Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini for better balance

flamini ramsey

With injuries to Francis Coquelin, Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla, the holding midfield roles were up for grabs. The two players who were capable of playing in the defensive midfield roles were Mathieu Flamini and Calum Chambers. The latter has had a horrific time this season, which meant that the Frenchman would be the ideal choice. Further, Aaron Ramsey, who returned from an injury recently was also pushed into the holding midfield role alongside Flamini.

It would once again be a good decision to play them in those roles, as they provide better balance to the team, instead of using any other players to fill in. The Welshman also managed to score a goal at the weekend against Sunderland and could make a difference in the mid-week clash as well.