Four seasons in a row in the last 14 consecutive seasons when they have made it through the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, Arsenal once again placed themselves in a tough situation after qualifying as second in group F that was regarded by many as this season’s group of death. The gunners are currently staring down the barrel of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, and Paris St-Germain as potential opponents when the draws are held on Monday of next week in Switzerland.
Their failure to make good use of their full potential, or the lapse in concentration to carry out a professional job as the minutes wore on at the Stadio de San Paolo in Southern Italy saw them concede 2 goals without a response in the last 23 minutes of the game, hence helping Borussia Dortmund to carry through as leaders of the group that The Gunners had led till the very last game.
When speaking about the game, Arsene Wenger talked of regrets he had when the final whistle was blown.
“There is regret. That is the frustration because you feel it was open for us to do better. But it could have been worse tonight as well” said the manager.
“When we were down to ten men and 1-0 down. Then doubt crept in a little bit” he continued, “It was a difficult moment. We concentrated, but we were a bit in between – ‘Do we attack or do we defend?” it is always difficult to cope with that problem. In the second-half, our legs went a bit and Napoli were sharper.
Understandable words of wisdom that were spoken by the manager here, but one can’t help but wonder why really he decided not to introduce Theo Walcott in at least the 85th minute to add to the numbers in midfield and as well give us a channel through which to break when we regained possession in the dying minutes.
All water under the bridge now and so, all we have to do is to sift through the potential opponents we will be handed come Monday and pray that at least a favorable one in our point of view can come our way. If I were to weigh in with my opinion, I’d say the most dangerous of them all should be Atletico Madrid, and maybe the most bearable being Barcelona. See Atiletico have not lost a single game in the group stages beating even terrorizing sides like the Russians on their home turf, and convincingly if I may add. All the others in that group of 5 have showed weaknesses which opponents have taken advantage of to put them to sword. These weaknesses shall we too pick up from and try to somehow force our way through to the last 8.
Direct tv will be carrying all Arsenal action, so be sure not to miss as they fight their way through this year’s “group of death.”