I don’t know when Arsenal would get into the good books of pundits. We have always fallen on the wrong side of their predictions. At the beginning of the season when they are casting lot for the team that would fall out of the top 4, Arsenal were their scape goat. How risible it is that for years they have predicted Arsenal sliping out of the top 4 but like a cat with 9 lives, Arsenal have remained glued to the elite class of English teams.
Now, the prediction has left the shores of Premier League football to the continent with yet another pundit Alan Hansen predicting doomsday for Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League.
“Having been drawn in the hardest group of all, Arsene Wenger’s decision to sign Ozil rather than a commanding defender and leader could see Arsenal fall at the first hurdle.“Their counter-attacking approach works for them more often than not in the Premier League, but the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Napoli are capable of exposing their inability to defend properly without the ball.
“Arsenal have not changed. They will continue to have good runs, but then see it all fall apart with a catastrophic defeat, which is why I fear for them in this group.”
Why is Hansen speaking like a kill joy, he is obviously trying to deflate the ebbing confidence at the Emirates. I know Arsenal are in arguably the toughest group but do I need to say that none of these teams are new to us. In recent times, we have played them and came out tops except for Napoli that managed a draw against us. Last season, we beat Marseille on both legs in the group stages of the competition while we beat Dortmund at the Emirates two seasons ago. What has changed this season, maybe players, some have left and new ones have come but that makes a little difference.
The defence Hansen is slaying isn’t as bad. We have only conceded 2 goals from open play so far this season and have played decent attacking teams. If Fulham, Sunderland and Aston Villa are not attacking teams in Hansen’s opinion, at least Spurs are. Our attack haven’t done badly as we have scored 8 goals in 4 matches, no penalties, which means an average of 2 per game. That means our team isn’t as bad as Hansen is making it out to be.
Instead of dotting on us, he should beam his analytical searchlight on City and Manchester United. City are playing badly at the moment and despite having easy opponents like CSKA and Pizen to play, they might still find it hard to qualify. If they can loose to Cardiff and settle for a drab draw against Stoke, what is the guarantee that they can beat the so-called minnows?
To Manchester united, they have also been struggling so far this season and with their form, there is no guarantee they can beat Leverkusen, Shaktar and Real Sociedad. Or are the Red Devils better than us?
Group of death or not, Arsenal are well poised to not only qualify from the group but to also finish atop of it. After securing passage to the knock out stages of the competition, guess Hansen will start saying we cannot win the competition.