Even the king of the press conference himself Jose Mourinho would probably admit that there’s no better way to answer your critics in football than by out-performing your opponents on the pitch.
This is precisely what Arsene Wenger’s high-flying Gunners have been doing this season.
In August people were questioning their top four credentials, as recently as last week critics were suggesting that they still had no chance of winning the Premier League title, and it says a lot that people are now asking: can Arsenal win the Champions League?
Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp certainly believes that they can.
After watching Aaron Ramsey ambush his well-organised unit last night, the German manager said to the BBC: “They could win it – as long as they don’t play Bayern Munich.”
Arsenal continue to answer their critics this season – in October they were leading the way on home soil but had just slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Dortmund at the Emirates.
Wenger’s side faced a short trip across London to face struggling and manager-less Crystal Palace, which certainly did not go to plan.
Mathieu Flamini limped off early on and Mikel Arteta was dismissed for felling Marouane Chamakh who was clean through on goal with Arsenal leading 1-0.
But Wenger’s side dug deep and Olivier Giroud sealed the victory late on, proving that they are much stronger mentally than they were last season.
Still, critics in England were suggesting that the North Londoners were yet to face a significant challenge this season, and that Liverpool would come to the Emirates and win, denting Arsenal’s hopes of mounting an assault on the title this season in the process.
Santi Cazorla and the in-form Aaron Ramsey proved them wrong once again though, securing a 2-0 win which sent the Gunners five points clear at the top of the league.
And now, having beaten Borussia Dortmund to send a warning sign out to the remainder of Europe, Arsenal could complete their tricky run of fixtures by beating champions Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Wenger’s side last won a trophy back in 2005 when Patrick Vieira scored the winning penalty in an FA Cup final against United with his last kick of the football as an Arsenal player.
But this year there is a renewed sense of optimism around the Emirates for the first time since the Gunners made the switch to their new stadium in 2006.
Surely the 13-time first division champions will break their duck this season, but which trophy are they most likely to win?
Although their impressive away form suggests that Arsenal are genuine contenders to win the Champions League, beating the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and last year’s winners Bayern Munich could be a step too far.
You have to feel that the Gunners will reach the quarter-finals at least in Europe this season, but if they beat United on Sunday, their best chance of silverware will be the Premier League.
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