Why Arsenal Want Real Madrid In The Last 16

Arsenal came back from the dead last night after losing their first two Champions League group games and losing three from their first four.

But wins against Dynamo Zagreb and Olympiakos in their last two group games finished off the great escape. As we’ve seen from teams like Manchester United in Europe this season, no away game in the Champions League is a formality so Arsenal deserve a huge amount of credit for winning 3-0 in Greece and avoiding the dreaded Europa League.

So for Arsenal, we have the luxury of thinking about our next potential opponents in the knockout stages. Our possible opponents include Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Wolfsburg or Zenit St Petersburg (Chelsea and Manchester City topped their respective groups so we can’t play them).

So who would you want to face?

The obvious teams that will be picked by Arsenal fans would be probably a non-Spanish side. Barcelona are phenomenal and with a striking trident of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez they would be an extremely difficult to beat over one game, nevermind two legs.

People will also point out that Real Madrid are a team we want to avoid but I disagree – I think they would be the perfect team to play.

Yes, they have an array of superstars in their ranks but for me they are a team who are more about being individuals. As a team, when Arsenal are on it they are on it (we’ve beat Bayern Munich already this season) and I believe that we play better as a unit than Real Madrid are at the moment. They have Ronaldo who is all about himself and Bale has been mis-firing this season. At the back they are suspect and I just think that with Mesut Özil in scintillating form we can cause them problems.

Maybe I’m living in a dream world, thinking back to the days when Thierry Henry ran riot at the Bernabeu and scored that sensational goal.

Another reason why we should want Real Madrid is because it’s a glamour tie. People talk far too much about wanting to avoid the big boys – but for me there’s no point in being in the competition unless you have aspirations of winning it – otherwise you might as well stay at home.

Yes, Real Madrid are a massive team but if you want to win the competition then you have to beat the best. We’re not Floyd Mayeather so shouldn’t be afraid of the big teams (except for Barcelona, obviously).

One of the reasons why I love the Champions League is those special nights against the best teams. That’s what it’s all about and I would be confident of turning them over over two legs. Arsenal have shown this season they can dig in, fight and put in a team performance when it matters.

If we perform at our best we can beat Real Madrid, but of course if we didn’t turn up then we could end up embarrassed. The two games against Bayern Munich this season sum up how Arsenal can end up.


How Do You Think Arsenal Will Do In The Champions League This Season?

So we’re in Group F with Marseille, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli.

The first thing people will talk about his yet another visit from “the man that nearly was” Gonzalo Higuain. It seems he just can’t keep away from The Emirates.

Apart from that, in the end it is a tough group.

But I’m staying positive. Arsenal have been in the Champions League for 16 seasons in a row now and most of our players are hugely experienced in Europe – and if anything we play our best football in the Champions League. Players and fans get excited and it seems to bring out the stronger performances from us.

Borussia Dortmund are probably the strongest team, with them reaching the Champions League final last season. And they still have Robert Lewandowski who is a massive player for them.

We all know Napoli lost Edinson Cavani this summer but replaced him with Gonzalo Higuain. I don’t know a huge amount about them to be honest but they did finish second in Serie A last season and only reached the first knockout stage of the Europa League.

Marseille also finished second in their domestic league and did poorly in the Europa League, failing to get out of the group stages.

So we’re in a group where the teams finished second in their domestic leagues, and we finished fourth, qualifying through a play off against Fenerbahce.

So how do you think we’ll do? Are we far too weak to get out of the group? Or will Arsene work his magic once again and we’ll managed to qualify for the knockout stages?

Personally, I love playing against the best teams and they are the games which prove to be more exciting. We strive to be the best and playing the top teams around Europe is a massive challenge.

These are the games we live for and if anything these huge European nights will give us some highlights in our season. Of course, they could be disastrous nights also but in Europe I believe we can beat anyone on our night.


How Will Arsenal Fare Against Fenerbahce?

So the draw for the playoff round of the Champions League has been done and Arsenal will face Turkish side Fenerbahce. Well will travel to Turkey on Wednesday 21st August and then play in the home leg on Tuesday 27th August.

They finished second in The Turkish Super Lig last season and I won’t pretend to know a huge amount about them and maybe some of my more educated readers can say how tough it will be for us against them.

They do have a few familiar names in their side, including Joseph Yobo formerly of Everton, and ex-Liverpool players Raul Meireles and Dirk Kuyt. I’m sure the Liverpool fans would be pleased if one of their former players managed to inflict a painful blow in our quest for Champions League football next season, with the bitterness over the whole Suarez saga.

And they also have Bruno Alves who spent a long time at Porto.

I haven’t seen Fenerbahce in action much over the last few seasons but Turkish sides can make it hard to play against them and they only missed out on qualifying on last years Champions League competition by a single goal when they lost 3-2 (on aggregate) to Spartak Moscow last season.

So how do you think we’ll fare against them? Will they make it difficult for us and could we have got an easier draw?