5 Reasons Why Arsenal Will Win the 2014 UEFA Champions League
Arsenal: 5 Reasons Why The Team Will Win the 2014 UEFA Champions League
The Champions League is the most prestigious trophy a football club in Europe yearns to win every season. As the annual competition enters the first round of the knockout stages, qualified teams around the continent begin the tough act of juggling domestic competition with the strategic adjustments required to tackle oppositions from foreign shores.
Arsenal face one of the toughest opponents in German treble winners and defending champions Bayern Munich – the same team it faced in this round last year. While the team narrowly lost out on the away-goals rule last time around, it did what no other club could do to the German champions – keep a clean-sheet at the Allianz Arena. It was also the first time Bayern lost to an English opponent in the European competition since the year 1993.
It would be deja vu for the Gunners, but Arsene Wenger’s squad looks better equipped to deal with the seemingly unstoppable force that Bayern is becoming under former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola and perhaps go all the way to claim its first UCL crown.
Few people might give Arsenal a chance to even get past Bayern, but the North London club has a perfect opportunity to topple the favorites and lead the way forward with its underdog status. The road ahead might not be easy, but if Bayern can be overcome the boost in confidence would be too huge to put a halt to.
Here are five reasons why Arsenal has a fighting chance to go all the way in the UCL this season.
5. Ability To Grind Out Results This Season
Arsenal has developed the habit of winning games when not in its best form – the lack of which has haunted the team all last season. While the competition in the UCL would be on a much higher level, the Gunners’ new-found solidarity can rub-off on its European crown hopes and perhaps help the squad overcome tougher opposition.
4. Presence Of A German Nucleus
Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski form a trio of German players who feature prominently amongst Wenger’s game-plans and now, along with youngster Serge Gnabry, form the nucleus of the squad. When all four of them click together, the team possesses the ability to play on a completely different level aided by the presence of other established stars like Santi Cazorla. Together they can work like a well-oiled machine and take down even the meanest of opponents.
3. Impressive Defensive Record Without “Parking The Bus”
The Gunners play in arguably the toughest football league on the planet, and this season’s sensational form has been driven by a stingy defense that is second only to Chelsea in terms of goals allowed. Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Bacary Sagna and Keiran Gibbs have all excelled and, together with goal-keeper Wojciech Szczesny, provide a solid platform to keep the game in control and give the offense a great chance of scoring crucial goals.
2. Leaders On The Pitch
The emergence of Mertesacker as a tough leader on the pitch looks to have worked wonders on the team. He has set the tone with his performances on defense in every game and is not afraid to give an earful to his teammates if they commit irresponsible mistakes. Mathieu Flamini is another strong personality on the pitch, keeping the team together during tough phases and constantly motivating players around him.
1. Ever-Improving Squad
Arsenal is known as a team that develops young players into superstars who tend to leave the club once they reach their prime. That reputation seems to be finally receding with the club making a statement by willing to delve into the transfer market and splash huge amounts of cash for exceptional talent like it did for Ozil. This attitude has rubbed off on the exciting talent at Wenger’s disposal like Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who can take any team down on a given day.