Friday, March 24, 2023

Wenger ready for second place and luck of the draw

Arsene Wenger thinks it’s very likely Arsenal will finish second in Champions League Group D even though they beat table-toppers Borussia Dortmund to secure safe passage to the knockout stages.

An early goal from Yaya Sanogo helped ease the tension at the Emirates before Alexis’ curling effort just before the hour mark sealed a comfortable victory in a game that the visitors struggled to get to grips with.

“It will depend a bit on what happens in the next few games,” said the boss looking ahead to a final match in Istanbul against bottom side Galatasaray.

“I will try to win the last game and you never know. If Anderlecht win in Dortmund and we don’t win in Galatasaray you will say we were stupid. It’s unlikely [we’ll top the group], let’s say it’s 90 per cent that we will finish second and Dortmund will finish first.”

Reflecting on the achievement of progressing from the group stage for an 11th consecutive year, he continued, “When you work in a football club you will realise that it’s not easy to have a continuity and to be consistent.

“I am very proud of that and I think the club also deserves a lot of credit for that. It’s not enough because we want more than that but we are consistent.”

Having been pitted against Bayern Munich, Barcelona and AC Milan in recent years, the boss noted that even if his squad do come second he’ll be hoping for a change of luck when the draw is made in Nyon on 15 December.

“First to send a different guy for the draw,” he joked when asked how Arsenal might make more of an impact on the tournament this year.

“If you look at the last five or six years we got the teams we didn’t want. From now until February we need to improve as a team, get encouragement from tonight’s game and then hope we have nearly all our players back in the next round.

“You see who is qualified around Europe and there are many teams who are at the top, top level. There are three or four teams you don’t want to play.”

We’re definitely getting Bayern Munich. You heard it hear first. Or Barcelona. Bayern or Barca. Place your bets.

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Wenger in!

Scott P

I’m betting on a ‘Goblet of Fire’ type oddity where 2 balls come out of the pot for our opponent, causing our XI to face off against a 22-man team comprised of both Bayern and Barca combined.


We will have to face the big teams in the end any way. No prizes for finishing second either (may be a bit more money but we’re not a club about money are we…) So who cares who we face in round of 16. if its a big team and we are dumped out, then we can concentrate on league and domestic. If we go through it is a bonus. I fail to see why there are all these whingers about us qualifying for round of 16 be it first or second. Simply baffling. See City and Liverpool. they are… Read more »


I agree, most football supporters would kill to watch their teams play against teams of that calibre. Unlikely to win it so why not have big games- barca 2011 was still the best game I’ve seen at the emrirates and that was early on. Still smile when I watch it back.. “arshaviiiiin!”


pure goosebumps 🙂


Yup, the big games are what the Champs League is all about. But perhaps it would be better in a financial sense if Arsenal were drawn against a “lesser side” like Porto or Bayer Leverkusen/Monaco for once and meet the big teams in the quarter finals. I guess it also might help to get the “round of 16 monkey” off our backs – which everyone seems to harp on consistently, but failing to note that this monkey is there in part because of the consistent qualification from the group stages and not falling into the Europa league or crashing out… Read more »


Kill to watch the inept defense get slaughtered 5-0? No way.


More kill to be able to say in twenty years time “I’ve seen them live” when my kids are watching archive footage of that incredible barca team. That alright?


However, you increase your chances of winning the tournament significantly if you can play the lesser sides. If you can make the semi’s or quarters without playing the big boys you are suddenly 2 incredible and perhaps lucky performances away from the final. Take 2009 for example, we got to the semis playing Roma and Villarreal. I think the ‘you have to beat the best anyway’ saying is a bit of a myth for this reason. I think we will come second, but hey, lets pray for porto or leverkusen!!

Something Cool

As our luck stands, we can also land Real Madrid as our opponents in the draw..


Mind games. Pressure is on Dortmund. Klopp is struggling. Can’t do it in the far easier Bundesliga (They were where we were when we used to fiish against United pre-Abramovich)…except they can’t keep consistent now. Can’t even beat us at home with our porous back line. When they beat us by two goals, the press laud it is some sort of a rout. When we beat them by two goals, its because they have players out because we have the likes of Koscielny available, Ozil, Jack, Walcott, Szsc. Giroud, Welbeck. Klopp can keep his holiday and rock and roll. Consistency… Read more »


Consistency is key huh? Tell me, who’s been more consistent in the past 5 years between the two? Much easier league? They may only have one competition (they are in fact closer to the likes of Shalke and Wolfsburg) but Bayern are so hugely above everyone else, the odds of ever overtaking them is about the same as winning the PL. Claiming they can’t keep consistent now because they’re having one bad season, as if our own league form has been so great. Boasting about them not beating our “porous backplane” and how the difference was when they beat us?… Read more »


It’s the “epl is the most competitive league bandwagon again”. You’re a 100 percent right about getting carried away by a positive win. Reminds me of when we beat dortmund last year in germany and went on to lose to united.
Besides, we’re not a team to talk. WE couldn’t beat a united backline consisting of mcnair, blackett and ashley young.
One win does not erase our poor performances lately.

Andy Mack

The epl is the best league and if the refs officiated in the same way the rest of Europe does (‘to the rules’ not ‘let the game flow and fuck the rules’ like here) then we’d be much stronger in European football. The top of most leagues is strong or very strong even but none of them have more than 3 very strong teams and a further 3 strong teams. We have 10+strong teams even though we’re a bit short on the ‘very strong’ teams this year. You can swap ‘strong’ for ‘good’ or whatever term you’d like but the… Read more »


You have got to feel for Klopp though, what with his best players stabbing him in the back and cunting off at the first opportunity to the vampire squid that is Bayern Munich. I think we as Arsenal fans can all empathise with that.


This is Wenger’s and Arsenal’s problem though, consistency. Sure we can win games, with the squad we have, but the big games and the games that the fans really want us to win we fuck up. How much would we love it if we could only beat Citeh, United and Chelsea in one season? I would be over the moon if we could that. But we never do, it’s a mentality problem now and it’s hard not to blame Wenger for setting us up to play the same way as we do against teams that sit back, like Burnely, Stoke,… Read more »

Arsene's handkerchief

But aren’t Barca 2nd in their group?


But of course they are Barca, they can only get better. We can only get worse.

We will never win a cup because we are ‘regressing’.


They have also won countless trophies in the last 10 years…and we were just happy to beat Hull City for a measly FA cup in the same time frame


good game from Ramsey. when he stops trying too hard to score he looks much more involved in the game, defensively and in attack.


Agreed. We need him to do the basics first particularly with injury to Arteta, he has to pull his weight next to Flamini. I feel he is only half a pace off his best and will click in sooner than later. Fantastic game for Ox who has stepped up to the mantle in support of Alexis. And all those who were dissing Santi, granted he can’t find net with his Puma kit, he works hard for the team and doesn’t waste possession plus adds creativity for us. Good assists. Shout to Martinez and oh err.. Sanogo. Wenger out. What was… Read more »


I bet we get both. Half Bayern, half Barca. And UEFA will let it slide. You watch


UEFA are dirty.

Easy byes for Chelsea and (Relatively) City bc of money and advertising.

Tough ones always for us.

Liverpool barely draw with Ludograts in the press hail it as a lifeline heroics.

We lose to Dortmund at their place and they make it out like we were routed.

We beat them and they bleat on about underpar Dortmund on holiday without key players. We have of course Szsc, Welbeck, Giroud, Koscielny, Debuchy, jack, Walcott all available.

Gearoid Kelly

Well said….
But how in the namajaysus did youbforget about Özil????

The Ghost of Paul Robinson

As far as I know Bayern are already half Barca, which explains why Barca play like the real Barca-Light these days.

Mr Gooner

I dunno man. With a fit arsenal squad containing the likes of Özil, Alexis and co. Playing Barcelona seems quite tasty. Truth is this is the best arsenal side (on paper) I’ve seen in some time. It’s time we beat Barcelona and if we get this crop of players and cough*New CB and DM*cough fit and playing the well we certainly have a chance. We are Arsenal FC, we don’t fear playing anyone. COYG


Line-up against Barcelona in February:

Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs
Arteta, Ramsey
Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez

subs: Ospina, Chambers, Monreal, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Cazorla, Welbeck (yes, I know I left your favourite player out)

All of our players will be fit, bedded in, and firing on all cylinders. No-one will be tired because we will have rotated the squad through Christmas. The winning streak that began today will stand at seventeen or eighteen games in all competitions, depending upon whether the first leg comes before or after Crystal Palace. Barcelona won’t stand a chance.

The Ghost of Paul Robinson

On current form you’d have to go with the Ox, with Theo coming off the bench to wreak havoc. And if Caorla can consistently play like he did today, who knows? Maybe he’ll force Ozil to the bench.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

No, no, no. You don’t reply with sensible analysis to somebody’s perfect fantasy!!

What if Arsepedant’s not a dreamer but a seer and just saw the future?

You’ve gone and muddied the time stream and now it might not happen.

If Arsenal’s perfect future doesn’t come about now then I will hold you personally responsible.


It’s okay. The Ghost has got perfectly good points. And I was aware of them when I wrote my fantasy line-up (and of course it’s a fantasy, what are the odds of all 18 of those players being fit at the same time?). My point is that I was agreeing with Mr. Gooner, in that when we’re fit, we have a really fantastic squad. Seriously – if the only argument we can have is which world class player is better than the other world class player at a particular position, why are we worrying? Once we pick up a CB… Read more »


So who did we sign in the transfer window? Another Kallstrom-esque ‘out until March’ type player.

Henry! Chance!! Goal!!!

I don’t want to face Bayen, Atletico, or Real. Anyone else is fair game


Haven’t you heard already? It’s Real Madrid, we’re up against come February. Time to silence the Bernabeu a second time. It’s been too long 🙂


One nil in the bernabeu!


If we come second we’ll get real and if we come first we’ll get barca


It’s The Arsenal way lol.


You’re assuming that PSG will lose or draw at Barcelona in two weeks’ time. However, if we finish first, we will surely get either Barca or PSG. Hell, if we finish first, UEFA will find some way to give us another group winner (including Chelsea) in the first round.


* WIN or draw, sorry!


You better be able to walk the walk arsene…that’s all i’m going to say.

Proff Gooner

“There are three or four teams you don’t want to play.”
This says it all and partly relates to Usmanov stating the squad should be strong to COMPETE with Bayern, Real & Barca in Europe.
This fear factor must be eradicated asap!!
Along with players having nightmares at the thought of drawing, let alone losing.


Just checked the table and we can actually win the group if Dortmund draw vs. Anderlecht. If we lose or draw at Galatasaray, we finish second. If we win at Galatasaray, but Dortmund defeat Anderlecht, we finish second. If we win at Galatasaray and Anderlecht defeat Dortmund, we finish first. If we win at Galatasary and Dortmund and Anderlecht draw, we finish level on points with Dortmund. The first tie-break is head-to-head; both matches vs. Dortmund were 2-0 to the home side, so we’re level there as well. The next tie-breaker is goal difference. Dortmund presently have a six-goal lead… Read more »


2nd place it is.


Yeah, probably.

But if Dortmund play against Anderlecht the way they played against us, and if Anderlecht play against Dortmund the way they played against us, there’s every chance of a surpise.


I was at the game tonight – got to leave wenger alone this group of players will come good. TRUST GOONERS


The one team I don’t want is Real Madrid. Anyone else is fine… and then the chavs in the quarters please- making cesc cry would be the icing on the cake.


I don’t want to sound negative but this consistency wenger is talking about is not good enough. We can’t be consistent in finishing fourth and being bungled out in the round of 16 n be proud of it. NO! Just because Liverpool n sp*rs are struggling does not make our failures any lesser.
As for who we meet in the next level, it really doesn’t matter. The squad is good and if all of them turn up on the match day we can beat anyone. Oh, and btw we need a DM.

2014-2015 = the year we've been waiting for

But split-seconds after acknowledging the ’15yrs qualification to the KO stages” compliment from a reporter with “Yes, we are proud of that”, with a sterner voice Wenger boldly asserted “But we want more”.

You can question the manager’s judgement but I think the ‘post financial shackles’ ambition, is there.

Proff Gooner

I see where you’re coming from. Its like the standards of not being first has been accepted.


@palovgunners: You are a liar. The first half of your first sentence is already a lie. Baffles me how 16 years of CL-qualification in itself is not a fuckin’ achievement. NO! Seems you know the answer to a “problem” when you see one. So what’s the answer? You wouldn’t even know how to apply for the CL. Oh, and btw we need more comments like that, Captain Obvious.


First, don’t underestimate Anderlecht. They’re young, they may have the YOLO spirit. Second, don’t underestimate Galatasaray, they have their own pride. Third, don’t underestimate Arsenal, at full strength we can compete against the big clubs of Europe.


My my my…Its so peaceful in here. No sound of teeth gnashing or pitchforks being sharpened. Bliss


Wenger out!


Anderlecht 3-0 dortmund
Galatasary 0-4 Arsenal

Arsenal qualifies first.

Arsenal Zenit.

Or even better:
finish second and then we face Leverkusen/Porto!!

Jack Action

Neither. It’ll be Real Madrid. Mert and Gibbs will have their turn being hurt, and we’ll field a back line of Debuchey, Kos, Chambers and Monreal against an attacking 4 of Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema and Rodriguez.



Yep beat all four of those on the way to glory! But seriously on our day we can win against any of these teams. Just need to get the injured players back to full health and get a good run of games in between now and feb! With Ramsey back in form (as he usually does second half of the season), Debuchy back, Mertcielny and Giroud giving us an option and we could be in. Podolski combines really well with Gibbs, with all the injuries coming up to christmas schedule I can imagine him playing himself into the squad ahead… Read more »

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