Arsenal No Longer Under Champions League Radar

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While the big names of Manchester City, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have grabbed much of the limelight, Arsenal went quietly about their business in the Champions League this season.

Back in Europe’s elite competition after a lengthy exodus, manager Mikel Arteta and his side had been happy to go under the radar up to the quarter-final stage of the tournament.

Gunners Rising To The Challenge

Having competed in the Europa League in recent years, Arsenal supporters finally got to witness their side back in Champions League action this season. The Gunners, who are 13/5 in the football betting odds to win the Premier League this term, had not featured Europe’s top competition since 2017 but were back with a bang in a 4-0 win over PSV Eindhoven in their opening group game. Arteta’s side, who are 5/1 in the Champions League betting to lift the trophy this season, were brought back down to earth with a 2-1 defeat at Lens but responded well to win at Sevilla. The Emirates has become a fortress for the Londoners in the competition this season and wins at home to Sevilla and Lens, 2-0 and 6-0 respectively, helped secure progress to the knockout stages.

Being drawn against Porto, Arsenal would have been quietly confident of progress through to the quarter-finals but the Portuguese giants certainly tested their nerve and quality over their two legs. Looking set to head back to north London with a goalless draw in Porto, the hosts struck in the dying moments of the first leg with a superb strike from Brazilian star Galeno. Arteta and his players had just under three weeks to stew on that late goal but responded well to edge out Porto in a dramatic penalty shootout at the Emirates. While Arsenal might have reached the quarter-finals somewhat under the radar, there’s no hiding place going forward into the business end of the competition.

Bayern There To Be Got At

Drawn against Bayern Munich in the quarters, Arsenal know they have two huge games ahead of them if they are to face either Manchester City or Real Madrid in the semi-finals. However, Bayern have underwhelmed in the Bundesliga this season and this might be a good time for the Gunners to get some revenge. These sides met in the knockout stages of Arsenal’s previous Champions League campaign back in 2017, with the Bavarian giants winning 5-1 both home and away.

A 10-2 aggregate scoreline was a humbling defeat for Arsenal and this quarter-final offers an opportunity to see how far the Gunners have come in recent years. Last season saw the Londoners really make a step forward to finish second place in the Premier League and secure a long-awaited return to the Champions League. Ticking along nicely in the group stages before overcoming Porto, other clubs in the competition certainly won’t be taking this Arsenal side lightly.

There’s no doubt that if the Gunners do claim a maiden Champions League title this season then they will have done it the hard way. Bayern Munich provide the quarter-final hurdle and all eyes will be on the Allianz Arena and Emirates to see if this Arsenal team are up to the challenge.

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