We’ve given ourselves a mountain to climb to reach the quarter finals with Tuesday nights loss meaning we’ll have to score at least three goals in Munich to have any chance of progressing. Given the fact Bayern have only conceded 7 goals in the league all season, I think it’s safe to say we need a minor miracle!
Wilshere, who was one of the few Arsenal players to emerge from the game with any credit, told Arsenal.com that a slow start has once again cost us and with the visitors 2-0 up inside the first 21 minutes, it’s difficult to argue with him.
We were better in the second period and got a lifeline through Lukas Podolski, and could even have levelled when Giroud fired straight at Neuer, but Mandzukic killed the game with a third on the break and Wilshere is left ruining our sluggish start once again, telling the clubs official website:
“We’re disappointed, we started the second half really well and it’s a shame that we couldn’t do that in the first half. We started the second half well, had a chance to make it 2-2, and then they went down the other end and made it 3-1 so it makes it difficult for us.
“We questioned ourselves in the first half and the first 10 minutes but we showed that when we step up and really play, we can. We just have to have a bit more self-belief. We’ve started games poorly over the last couple of months and we’ve been punished. If you start poorly against a team like that, you’re going to get punished.”
Despite the perilous position we find ourselves in, our captain-in-waiting is trying to remain positive insisting if we can nick a couple of away goals in the second leg, you never know what might happen. He continued:
“It’s never over, we play for Arsenal, we can’t give things up at a big club like this. We’ve got a couple of weeks until the next game [against Bayern]. We need to recover, get a couple of wins in the Premier League and you never know what can happen.
“If we score an early goal and get another one, they’re up against it. We’re not 100 per cent out of it. It’s going to be difficult but we’re not out of it yet.
“We know that if we can take the game to them, we can score a couple of goals. You saw last year that AC Milan started to get worried [when Arsenal came back from 4-0 down to trail 4-3 on aggregate]. Bayern are a good team though. It will be difficult but we’ve got to believe.”
Theo Waloctt, who surprisingly started up front, had a tough night against a well organised Bayern defence but claims we have nothing to fear in the second leg and points to last seasons tie with AC Milan as inspiration, when we lost 4-0 away only to go agonisingly close to turning things around after winning the second leg 3-0 at the Emirates. He told Arsenal.com:
“When we go there [to Munich], we have to be very positive and just go right at them,” said Walcott.
“Last season we beat AC Milan when we lost 4-0 in the first leg. We did very well at home here. We’ve got to show what we can do when we go away and play without any fear and have nothing to lose. It’s a big ask but we need to be positive.”
However, the 23-year-old insists the squad must first focus on the Premier League and the race for a top-four finish with vital games against Tottenham and Everton coming up before the trip to Munich, he continued:
“We need to try and not dwell on this result. We need to think about getting back to the Premier League. We’ve got some important matches coming up thick and fast.
“That Tottenham game [on March 3] could be a massive game for us. And we need to win against Aston Villa first.
“Our Premier League form has been very good so we can’t dwell on this result for too long. We need to get back to where we should be and start getting a winning run at home.”
The odds are firmly stacked against us to qualify for the quarter finals so if we’re to salvage anything from this season, the players need to pick themselves up and focus on overhauling Tottenham in the league table. If we finish outside the top-four, this will surely go down as the worst season under Arsene Wenger and his position at the club could soon become untenable.
Saturday’s clash with Aston Villa is a vital game for many reasons and anything but three points doesn’t bare thinking about.
What are your thoughts on the state of the squad right now? Who’s to blame for this mess? Get involved in the comments section below.