Thoughts on Arsenal’s Performances in the Champions League
It’s one of those days when you wake up and say to yourself, ‘Oh fuck! No more Champions League till next year. There’s a lot of football to be played between now and the next set of Champions League fixtures but it’s something I’m definitely going to miss for the time being. It’s always fun looking forward to watching some quality football at night especially after a long day at work and some of that crazy traffic here in Lagos. Then again, there are the drinks that come in handy while watching Champions League matches. I was faithful to my Guinness in the first two match days but I switched to Orijin for four consecutive match days.
Arsenal, like every big European side out there has qualified for the knockout round but they had to go through the stress of a qualifying round of fixtures against Besiktas. The first leg in Turkey was very nervy and all it took in the second leg was a goal from the new boy, Alexis Sanchez, to send the Group Stages.
The first game in the Group Stages was one to forget as the Gunners were run ragged by a rampant Borussia Dortmund and in all honesty, the 2-0 scoreline was rather flattering for the away side. Henrikh Mkhitaryan had a shocking game and he spurned many chances for his team. The Gunners responded well with a virtuoso performance against Galatasaray with Danny Welbeck earning the plaudits for his scintillating hat-trick. This was followed by a poor performance against Anderlecht but somehow the Gunners got all three points in Belgium with a two-goal salvo.
When Anderlecht arrived at the Emirates, it seemed certain that the Gunners were going to record maximum points ahead of the all-important clash against Dortmund. At 3-0 the game seemed done and dusted but the team somehow contrived to throw away such a handsome lead to draw the game. The return clash against Dortmund came in the time when the Gunners were struggling for form but it was one of the best performances the team had put in a while. Even Yaya Sanogo of all people scoredc a goal. The final set of fixtures took place this week and everyone is still buzzing from THAT RAMSEY GOAL.
Looking at the group stages from an individual perspective, some players really turned up the style while others, well, didn’t just turn up. On the good side of the scale, Danny Welbeck’s performance against Galatasaray would go down as probably his finest outing as a professional footballer. Alexis’ awesome Premier League form cascaded into the Champions League and it was good seeing Ramsey end his scoreless streak in the competition with two strikes on Match day 6. The group stages also showed the immense quality Lukas Podolski possesses and I’m sure he’d be looking to build on this.
The draws come up on Monday but till then, we can only hope for a favorable draw.