Ever the optimist, Arsene Wenger isn’t ruling out Arsenal qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Champions League, but has warned his team against a European hangover with a North London derby on the horizon.
The Gunners can still go through but it’s out of our hands. We must beat Dinamo Zagreb in the next game and hope that Bayern Munich beat Olympiacos. A draw in that game will ensure qualificaion for both those sides.
If the Germans win, however, we can go through by beating the Greeks by two clear goals.
“There is still a chance to qualify,” said Wenger after the game. “Olympiacos have to lose here, we have to beat Zagreb and then we will see when we play Olympiacos away. It’s a small chance but it is a real one.
We have to realise with that kind of performance that we had today that our chances are minimal. No matter what percentage we have, we have to dig in for the chance to qualify.
And with a crucial Premier League fixture at the weekend, the manager is looking for his team to respond to disappointment as they have done already this season in the wake of poor results.
“We now have to focus on the Premier League on Sunday and bounce back with a different performance because we are in a good position in the league. It’s important that we realise what we did today and we know that.
“We have to analyse it and not be too negative. That’s top-level sport. You can understand that you have to be strong enough to face a performance like tonight. It was not good enough and we will have to focus on the next game.
“We live in a world where you have to face reality.”
Reality, such as it is, sees Arsenal level with Man City at the top of the Premier League table. City also play at Sunday, away at Aston Villa – and we’ll be hoping that new boss, former Gunner Remi Garde, can do us a bit of a favour.