Arsenal are the last English team standing in the Champions League this season and in order to continue a streak lasting 17 years of English representation in the quarter-finals of Europe’s premier club football competition they have to complete an almost unthinkable result against Bayern Munich in Germany.
Goals from Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller and Mario Mandzukic were enough to give Bayern Munich a 3-1 victory against Arsenal at The Emirates meaning Arsenal will have to win by two clear goals to have any slight chance of beating Bayern to a final-eight slot.
The last time Bayern lost at home by three clear goals over 90 minutes, a feat The Gunners will have to repeat, was in 2008 against a Werder Bremen side that contained Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker but other than that finding omens and unlikely heroes to clutch on to is becoming difficult.
However there is one member of the Arsenal squad who knows exactly what it is like to send Bayern Munich packing in European competition.
In 2008 Bayern Munich were playing in the UEFA Cup after a disastrous season the previous campaign but a summer of strengthening the side had made many sit up and take notice; with Bayern almost immediately installed as favourites to win the competition.
After getting through the Group Stage as winners ahead of Bolton Wanderers among others they went on to beat Aberdeen and Anderlecht fairly comfortably before scraping past Getafe and booking a semi-final with Russian outfit Zenit St Petersburg.
After a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena the Bundesliga side certainly had a tough task on their hands against a team who had cantered through to the semi-finals in eye catching fashion.
One of their most impressive players was a then 26-year-old playmaker by the name of Andrei Arshavin. His excellent technical ability and incisive passing had been a key factor in Zenit’s progress along with the goals of the now Reading striker Pavel Pogrebnyak.
Bayern travelled to St Petersburg however still confident of victory, but were unceremoniously dumped out of the competition with a 4-0 thrashing courtesy of a Pogrebnyak double and goals from Konstantin Zyryanov and Viktor Fayzulin sandwiched in between.
Zenit then went on to beat Rangers in the final at the City of Manchester Stadium thanks to goals from Igor Denisov and Zyryanov with Arshavin named man-of-the-match for his outstanding performance.
So in terms of omens surely Arsenal could look at Andrei Arshavin for a bit of that 2008 magic in order to get one up on Bayern?
Unfortunately Gunners fans may want to clutch at straws elsewhere ahead of the game as for the infamous 4-0 thrashing of the Bavarians; Arshavin was suspended.
Maybe he won’t be the unlikely hero after all…
image: © wonker