Arsenal are on a mission to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League. Having lost three of their opening four games, their hopes of doing so were hanging by a thread going into matchday five on Tuesday night.
They had to beat Dinamo Zagreb and hope Bayern Munich did the same against Olympiacos. It was no surprise to see the two overwhelming favourites win convincingly, setting up a dramatic date with destiny for the Gunners.
There are two ways Arsenal can qualify. First, they will need to overcome the head-to-head record by winning by two clear goals.
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A 1-0 or 2-1 win will see Arsenal go out on the away goals rule. Now, where have we heard that before? Alternatively, Arsenal will qualify on goal difference by winning 3-2 themselves.
With Alexis Sanchez scoring goals and Mesut Ozil assisting them, confidence is high in north London. Arsene Wenger thinks they can do it as does Per Mertesacker, but no one is more optimistic than the club's fans.
But history would suggest otherwise. Opta Joe brought down the mood following a convincing 3-0 win over Zagreb with this little peach:
To add further context, these are the results in those games:
Critics were quick to point out that Arsenal had already sealed their passage to the knockout rounds in each of those games and Wenger took advantage of the situation by fielding a number of young guns.
But 2012 was a particularly disastrous defeat as it saw them miss out on top spot in the group to Schalke 04. They would be drawn against Bayern Munich and the rest is history. And by rest, we mean Arsenal's chances of winning the competition.
Wenger will be naming a full-strength side when Arsenal travel to Greece next month. By then the Gunners should be able to call on Theo Walcott, who is currently injured and even Jack Wilshere, who is yet to appear this season.
Can Arsenal qualify for the latter stages of the Champions League? Give us YOUR thoughts in the comment box below!
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