Why Arsene Wenger And Arsenal Can Win This Season’s Champions League

Why Arsene Wenger And Arsenal Can Win This Season’s Champions League

By Metro UK on September 15, 2015
Arsene Wenger (PHOTO CREDIT: thegoalmac.blogspot.com)

On Wednesday evening, following a patchy start to the new season, Arsenal begin their 18th consecutive Champions League campaign.

But can they win the competition that has teased and tormented them over the last two decades?

The best the Gunners have done to date was reaching the final almost a decade ago, but, by the time that anniversary comes around, Arsene Wenger could finally have got his hands on the famous trophy.

Arsenal may not have made the brightest start to their league campaign, losing 2-0 at home to West Ham United, but since have been able to show the kind of form that was expected of them this season.

With the first few games out of the way and the players up to match speed, the Champions League starts at just the right time for Arsenal.

In a group that includes German champions and the 2013 winners Bayern Munich, Greek side Olympiakos and Wednesday’s opponents Dinamo Zagreb, Wenger will have a degree of confidence.

On paper, the group looks pretty straight-forward.

That’s obviously a positive for Arsenal, but though most expect them just to get through the group (most likely in second place) Wenger will have eyes on topping it.

Having a powerhouse such as Bayern in the group phase means Arsenal will have to be on it from the start of the competition, unlike in previous years by easing through the group before an early knockout round elimination.

Arsenal have fairly recent experience of playing all three, Dinamo Zagreb being the side Arsenal are likely to be least aware of.

It was the Croatian side that Arsenal first welcomed to the Emirates Stadium for a Champions League game, a qualifier back in 2006 which Arsenal won 2-1 with future Gunner Eduardo scoring the opener.

Olympiakos were in the same group three years ago as Arsenal won 3-1 at home before losing 2-1 in Greece having already secured qualification into the round of 16.

Bayern are obviously the standout team and led by manager Pep Guardiola provide familiar opposition with Wenger coming up against the Spaniard in three of the last five seasons, being knocked out by either Barcelona or Bayern Munich each time.

Arsenal were also knocked out by Bayern in 2013 under the stewardship of Jupp Heynckes on their way to winning the competition.

However, having fallen at the Round of 16 in each of the last four seasons, Arsenal could be ready to become a force in Europe’s elite club competition oncemore.

With the arrival of Champions League winner Petr Cech from Chelsea in goal, his experience could be vital especially considering how the Blues performed with their underdog tag back in 2012.

Going forward, despite many bemoaning the lack of a big money centre-forward, Arsenal can cause any side problems with the attacking determination of Alexis Sanchez and the guile of Mesut Ozil.

In midfield, Francis Coquelin’s emergence gives the side balance that it has lacked in big European ties in previous years.

It would be an outside bet, but given the team dynamic and Arsenal’s determination to re-announce themselves on the European scene, 10 years after defeat in Paris Arsenal could make amends this May in Berlin.

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