Are Arsenal destined to always be gallant losers in Europe?

By Avenell Dave

Arsene Wenger had a point yesterday when he spoke of the refereeing decisions that have hindered Arsenal in recent seasons.

There is an adage that luck levels itself out but I don't think it always works out that way.

The referee from the Champions League final in Paris admitted afterwards that the occasion got to him and that in hindsight he should have let play continue and booked Jens Lehmann with the goal standing instead of sending him off.

RvP should not have been sent off in Barcelona a few years ago and Wojciech Szczesny was sent off against Bayern a few weeks ago for a rule that everyone admits needs to be addressed.

I'm not saying for one moment that we would have gone on to win those games, but perhaps it would have meant we could compete against great sides rather than find ourselves at a disadvantage.

Why UEFA have appointed a raw young referee tonight is anyone's guess but I don't blame Wenger at all for wanting to lay a marker down asserting the importance of being strong and wise to all the tactics that could be employed.

We know Pep Guardiola is a fine manager but equally that he encourages his sides to time waste and play act. 

I love the fact that we are underdogs and as we have seen elsewhere with shocks lately, lightning can strike twice.

We won 2-0 last year when no one gave us a hope and there is no reason why we can't do it again.

Except there is. We have no left back apart from errant central defender Thomas Vermaelen.

With the likes of Ribery and Robben on the flanks, it is a cruel twist of fate that we have no one of experience to guard the left flank.

It feels as if Kieran Gibbs is made of glass given how often he gets injured.

If we really are going to compete with the top top clubs, there is an argument to buy the best and in Luke Shaw, Southampton have one of the best players in the world in the making.

Of course, he is going to cost between £25-40m even at his tender age, so the chances are we aren't going to spend a huge amount of our transfer kitty on him, even if he would improve the side no end. 

But in the absense of Gibbs and Nacho Monreal, maybe it's time to do something unexpected and play three at the back.

We know Bacary Sagna can play there and with Vermaelen wanting to rampage forward, maybe play him as a sweeper/anchor to clear up Bayern attacks.

I know it won't happen but it may surprise Bayern and would arguably give us more cover.

The rest of the side picks itself with Tomas Rosicky likely to come in to replace Mathieu Flamini I suspect.

I do believe we have a chance tonight - and we have won big away before.

We need luck, resolve and for things to go our way but this tie is not over.



Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny


Rosicky Arteta Oxlade-Chamberlain

Ozil Giroud Cazorla