Arsenal must silence away crowds to continue success

A loud home support can do wonders for any sports team and it's no more evident than in the Champions League.

When British teams travel onto the continent to play matches they more often than not find atmospheres that can give their opponents that extra edge needed to score a goal or win a game.

Teams that travel to Turkey always find this and have a hard time putting in a good performance, don’t let Real Madrid know that though as they don’t seem to be affected but judging by last nights 6-1 victory in Istanbul.

Arsenal will face not just one but three different passionate crowds that will look to make it very difficult to get anything out of the match.

The Gunners travel to Napoli, Dortmund and Marseille all are known for the hostile atmosphere they greet visitors with. None of these grounds are easy to visit, even if the Stade Velodrome in Marseille is undergoing a major redevelopment.

Both Chelsea and Manchester City have lost in Naples over the past few seasons and Borussia Dortmund thrashed Real Madrid 4-1 in last season's semi-final first leg. 

In other sports crowds play a big role in the teams’ performance on Sunday night the Seattle Seahawks crowd set the world record for loudest crowd noise, their team has had one of the best home records over the past few seasons.

Celtic are one of the teams that seem to utilise home advantage more than most, last year in the Champions League they defeated Barcelona 2-1 at Parkhead.

No one will say that Celtic had the better players in their team but the crowd seemed to really put Barcelona off their game and the Celtic players took advantage to great effect.

Their home record in the Champions League speaks for itself, 16 wins, 5 draw and only 2 losses (Juventus and Barcelona).

They’ve beaten Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester United and AC Milan. So many times the Scottish Champions have entered the field as big underdogs and come out on top and the atmosphere plays a big part of it.

This is what Arsenal will have to face in their campaign but against a much higher quality of team, I would not like to go to Naples on the final matchday of the group stage needing three points to qualify.

Overcoming hostile atmospheres are a big part of any Champions League campaign and not many have it tougher than Arsenal.

image: © peterfuchs

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