Giroud steps up for Arsenal in Europe

Arsenal faced Olympiakos in the Champions League knowing that only a victory by a two-goal margin would secure their place in the knockout stages of the competition.

Arsene Wenger opted for both Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott in the starting line-up but played the Englishman on the wing rather than up front. By the end of the evening, the Gunners were through after Giroud’s hat-trick earned Wenger’s men a 3-0 victory.

Can they win the Champions League this season? Possibly not but at least they’ve managed to reach the last-16 once again. From there, who knows?

Unfortunately, Arsenal were paired up with Barcelona in the last-16 stage of the competition and the Gunners will have their work cut out if they want to advance to the quarter-finals. While there would be a huge demand for tickets to see Arsenal against the current defending champions, Gunners fans will be wishing that they had an easier draw in the first knockout stage of the tournament.

Barcelona have an immense squad and possess match winners all over the field. In attack, Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi will cause havoc and Arsenal’s defenders must remain disciplined across both legs. Unfortunately for the Gunners, beggars cannot be choosers at this stage of the tournament and Arsenal should focus on finding out the best way to defeat their great opponents.

On paper, Arsenal will find it extremely difficult to win Europe’s elite club competition this season. TDespite possessing a reasonably talented squad, Wenger’s men cannot compete against the riches of Real Madrid, Barca, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain in the transfer market. Those four clubs, along with English rivals Manchester City, will all be in contention for glory this season based on strength of squad and current form.

Nevertheless, football isn’t played on paper. In 2012, Roberto Di Matteo defied the odds and led Chelsea to glory against Bayern at the Allianz Arena to win the Champions League. Football is a funny old game at times and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Arsenal reach the latter stages at the very least.


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