For the past six seasons Arsenal has repeatedly crashed out of the Champions League round of 16.
The reason is not far from the fact that they kept putting themselves in trouble by failing to top their group. Not this season though as they placed above main rival Paris St. Germain in their group.
Yesterday’s 4-1 thrashing of Basel in the last round of matches coupled with PSG’s surprising capitulation against Ludogerets means the Gunners for once got the answers to their prayers. And somehow just like every other ugly trick fate plays on humans, there is still a lot of biting of nails going on at the Emirates stadium. At least till Monday where all 16 remaining teams will learn their fate as UEFA conducts the draws.
When asked about the mixed feelings brewing at North London, Wenger replied:
“It’s difficult to know. You feel a bit less guilty. If you have a bad draw when you’re first or second. At least we have done our job and let’s see what happens.”
Arsenal faces the prospect of drawing Bayern Munich after the Bavarians lost their group’s top spot to Diego Simeone’s Athletico Madrid. Defending champions Real Madrid won’t be far off should they failed to beat Thomas Tuchel’s Borussia Dortmund at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night. The affair is actually like the two sides of a coin because the Germans need to draw or win to retain their current spot. Serie A table toppers, Juventus are also a possibility should they fail to beat Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb.
The only solace in this bleak outlook is that they will not be facing Barcelona or Monaco – the team that sent them home last season. The Blaugrana’s had had their fair share of turning the North Londoners into perennial round-of-16 whooping boys.