Gabriel says he’s not thinking about Arsenal potentially dropping into the Europa League, claiming his sole focus is on beating Dinamo Zagreb this evening.
The Gunners’ Champions League campaign hangs by a thread after three defeats in their opening four games with qualification now out of their hands.
Arsenal, who’ve qualified from the group stages for 15 successive seasons, know they must beat Dinamo at the Emirates and hope Bayern Munich beat Olympiacos if they’re to avoid UEFA’s secondary competition and months of Thursday and Sunday fixtures*.
“The fact that this game is at home in front of our fans is very important,” Gabriel told Arsenal Player.
“Our fans have always cheered us on and helped us and you feel more motivated playing in a stadium like the Emirates. For me in particular, I feel very motivated.
“We could still qualify from our group in the Champions League, so I’m not thinking about the Europa League. I think that we need to focus on winning these next two decisive games and what happens with the other results determines whether we will qualify or not.”
Stressing that Arsenal have learned from their Matchday One defeat in Zagreb – a 2-1 defeat that saw Olivier Giroud sent off in the first half – the Brazilian defender continued:
“I think we learned a lot [from the game in Zagreb], we showed that we were the better team but that’s football. They knew how to take advantage of our mistakes and got what they wanted out of the game.
“We’ve had time to reflect on what we did well and what we didn’t. We got more things wrong than right, so in the next game we need to try to improve in order to achieve our objective.”
For the most part we here at Arseblog News have made peace with this stinking sock of a European campaign…however, we’re sure the boys will find a way of ensuring it’s dramatic to the last.
The prospect of Europa League football makes us want to do a bit of sick in our mouths…so quite frankly we’d be happy going full-Bergkamp and quitting continental jaunts for the rest of the season.
That being said we’ll be more disappointed than anyone when we go two-nil up in Athens next month only to go out courtesy of some ridiculously contrived stoppage time own goal that deflects off ten players before crawling over the line. Standard.
*If we don’t come bottom.