A few days ago I wrote an article about how Arsenal were set for another season without silverware. Arsenal’s only hope of claiming silverware is the Champions League.
The Gunners face a tough challenge in the first knockout stage of the competition though.
Arsene Wenger’s side face German giants Bayern Munich in a bid to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.
This evening’s first leg tie at the Emirates Stadium could be the key to progression.
Bayern are extremely strong on home soil and Arsenal will need a lead to take back to the Allianz Arena for the second leg.
Arsenal have been really inconsistent in their performances this season. The football that the Gunners have played at times has been fantastic this season, but unfortunately they haven’t been able to repeat it a consistent basis.
The Gunners sometimes play well for half a game and then poorly for the other half. This problem hasn’t just come about this season, it has happened for the last couple of campaigns.
That inconsistency has cost the Gunners the chance to win trophies. It seems that Arsenal fans are now getting impatient with their team and boss Arsene Wenger in particularly. The Gunners can’t just keep coasting along without much to show for their efforts each season.
Their football wins plaudits at times, but it hasn’t won them trophies in recent years. Trophies are what matters at big clubs like Arsenal. The Gunners have a history of winning trophies and the last eight years without a trophy must be a pretty alien feeling to the Emirates faithful.
It seems that more than ever Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is coming in for criticism. He is a true managerial legend, but he can’t keep living on past glories. He now has to try and inspire his team to progress somehow.
Wenger has shown in the past his managerial brilliance. Maybe in the last few years he has got complacent, because he doesn’t seem to have the same ability to motivate his players in rough patches.
The tie against one Europe’s top team is a chance for him to prove that he hasn’t lost the managerial skills that turned Arsenal into one of the most exciting teams in Europe.
Bayern Munich are giants of European football. However, they have been the nearly men in the Champions League in recent years. The Bavarian giants were famously defeated on penalties by Chelsea in last year’s Champions League final.
In 2010 Jose Mourinho’s Inter put the German giants to the sword in the final. Bayern must be determined to go one step further this season in Europe’s elite competition this season.
Bayern are currently running away with the Bundesliga title, having produced the sort of consistency that Gunners fans could of only dream of in recent years. Bayern also cruised through their Champions’ League group.
They certainly won’t make it easy for Arsene Wenger and his players. Bayern are currently one of the favourites to lift the trophy and the Gunners definitely got one of the harder draws.
Germany international Lukas Podolski was once a Bayern Munich player. He is regarded as something of a Bayern flop. Podolski was a highly-rated youngster at Koln before joining the Bavarian giants, but struggled to perform at Bayern.
He returned to his first club and eventually regained his form. Ironically the reason Podolski struggled at Bayern seems to be a mystery. Maybe he was just too young to handle the pressure of playing for such a big club.
The Champions League tie against his old club will give him the chance to prove that he is good enough to play at the top level of the club game.
The Arsenal players owe their fans a performance. The likes of Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Podolski have to produce good displays. The trio have been fantastic in spells this season and anonymous in others.
On their day they have the ability to cause any team problems. Victory will hinge on how the Gunners key players perform.
Arsenal will have to be at their very best to progress into the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Bayern look to have the bit between their teeth and will be tough opponents to defeat.
However, the Bavarians are not unbeatable and Arsenal have the technique ability to beat the German champions elect, whether Wenger’s side have the strength of character to beat Bayern is a different matter.
Can Arsenal progress into the quarter-finals of the Champions League?