On Tuesday night Arsenal welcome the mighty German side Bayern Munich to the Emirates Stadium. This is the same Arsenal team which has been knocked out of the two domestic cups by Bradford City and Blackburn Rovers.
Forgetting that this is the Champions League, where the magic of European nights is stirred-up as soon as the famous competition theme tune rings around the stadium, there are plenty of reasons why Arsene Wenger’s side cannot afford to lose.
1. Arsene wants to pit his wits against Pep next season
The former Barcelona boss does not take charge of Bayern until next season, but this two-legged affair could be something of a changing of the guard. Wenger’s star has fallen like an asteroid this season, while Guardiola was credited with creating the record-breaking Barcelona side of the past few years. If Arsenal lose here, Wenger might not be around to face Guardiola next season. In fact, Wenger is 9/4 with Paddy Power to not be in charge when the 2013/2014 campaign gets under way.
2. Wenger needs to back up his comments
Rather like a graceful swan, Wenger appears to be calm on the surface over his side’s lack of form, but it is obvious that he is frantically paddling to stay afloat. After losing 1-0 to Blackburn in the FA Cup he asked his side for a response, while claiming that the season is not yet over for his troops. He also said that beating Bayern could give his side the confidence to go on and lift the Champions League trophy… then again, he also admitted recently he was happy to have signed Theo Walcott over Gareth Bale.
3. Arsenal boss is on borrowed time
Currently in fifth place in the Premier League and out of both domestic cups at the hands of lower league sides, the Arsenal boss is walking a tightrope. Many fans want him sacked, and winning the Champions League could be the only way of qualifying for it again next year. The odds are stacked against them though, with Arsenal 11/5 to make it through to the next round and Bayern at 3/10.
4. He needs to take a lead to Germany
Bayern are 15 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga. That’s ahead of a Borussia Dortmund side who gave Manchester City a footballing lesson not once, but twice recently. Arsenal simply cannot afford to lose the first leg at the Emirates and must take a lead with them to Germany if they are to stand a chance. The Gunners are 5/2 to sneak a home win, with the draw available at 12/5 and Bayern on offer at 11/10.
@OllieHolt22 but how does Wenger still deserve the epithet 'top manager' after 8yrs of such abject failure, and now this abysmal season?
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 18, 2013
5. Please shut up Piers Morgan on Twitter
Love him or hate him, Piers Morgan cannot be avoided. Unless you press the ‘unfollow’ button on Twitter. Morgan is a “Wenger out, sack the board” advocate, with his tweets becoming even more desperate as Arsenal’s struggles have continued. An Arsenal win on Tuesday night will provide a few hours of peace and quiet… at least until the second leg.