Arsenal fans should be embarrassed at the fact they are raving about their qualification to the last 16 of the Champions League. Arsene Wenger’s imbecilic decision to rest important players in the first two group games nearly came back to bite him and without Olivier Giroud’s heroic effort in the final game against Olympiakos, Arsenal would be facing the distraction of the Europa League.
This is the 16th consecutive season that Wenger has guided the Gunners to the knockout stages of the most elite club competition in the world, but a club the stature of Arsenal should expect that, and more. By beating Olympiakos 3-0, they beat a team that contained Brown Ideye, who flopped at West Brom last season, scoring just four goals, and Patjim Kasami, a player who did two things at Fulham: scored a wonder volley that was nominated for the Puskas Award, and contributed to them limping into the Championship.
Arsenal’s celebrations were surely only out of relief that they had managed to overturn their dreadful performances early on, scraping into the last 16. Mr Wenger should be winning no plaudits from his shameful decision to play Ospina over Cech in the early stages of the competition, a decision that got them into the perilous position of having to win by two goals in the first place!
I concede that 3-0 was a very impressive result and the performance was inspired. Koscielny truly looked world class, and Giroud has silenced his critics, for now. Joel Campbell seems to be growing into his Arsenal shirt, and Mesut Ozil has the potential to become an Arsenal great. Arsene Wenger is playing a dangerous and risky game continuing to play players who are not fully fit though. Ozil himself reported a tight calf just hours before the game and by refusing to substitute him again, Wenger is surely risking a similar situation to Alexis Sanchez’s, who is could potentially miss the Christmas fixtures. If both these players were to be out, Arsenal’s creativity in the final third will likely be lacking.
With the Premier League wide open, Arsenal fans should expect to be challenging for the Premier League title come May, and anyone who hails Wenger as a mastermind for continuously scraping into fourth place is victim of his brainwashing. A club with the resources of Arsenal FC should be reaching the latter stages of the Champions League season after season, as well as winning the odd Premier League title.