Reeling from their 5-1 Champions League mauling at the hands of Bayern Munich, Arsenal have a nice easy game against Sutton United this weekend.
The Gunners suffered a blow early in the second half, with Koscielny forced off by injury in the 49th minute to be replaced by Gabriel Paulista. “Mentally, we collapsed”, manager Arsene Wenger told broadcaster BT Sport after the game.
Robben was left with far too much space and the Dutchman did not hesitate, advancing with his trademark move down the right before curling an unstoppable left-foot shot into the top corner of David Ospina’s goal.
I hear of confusion among players and staff as to what is going on – there is no clear plan on or off the pitch – and certain individuals have sought information on Wenger’s future to no avail.
The Allianz Arena defeat raises the pressure on Wenger for the return leg on March 7 with only Alexis Sanchez’s away goal for comfort. We have an advantage to play the second game at home.
Many of those who had travelled hundreds of miles and paid hundreds of pounds to watch their team play felt it sent the wrong signal. “I don’t feel sorry for them at all because they are in the mad world that is football”.
“Wenger is getting criticised – and I think wrongly – that he doesn’t have enough leaders in the dressing room, but he has still managed to qualify for the Champions League for the last 15 years”, Doswell added.
“However, on any given bad day, you can experience what Barca went through [in Paris]”.
In another Round of 16 match-up, cup holders Real Madrid will square off against Italian Napoli, the match in Madrid Santiago Bernabéu stadium will start at 20:45 local time (1945 GMT).
Xabi Alonso completed more passes than any other player against Arsenal.
Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer dismissed the idea that meeting Arsenal again in the last 16 is a good omen for the 2017 title. But we want something different, even if that means failing in a different way.
The 57-year-old also hailed the result as Bayern’s best performance since he replaced Pep Guardiola as head coach this season.
Alonso, who has won the Champions League with Liverpool and Real Madrid, has yet to make a decision regarding his future.
Wenger has been offered a new contract with his current deal set to expire this summer. Significantly, Cross also indicated Wenger will not influence the club’s search for a replacement: “The board’s high regard for Wenger means they will tap into his knowledge but he will not be asked to nominate his successor”.