The Gunners are so far unbeaten in 12 games across all competitions this season – their only defeat of the campaign a home loss to Aston Villa on the opening day of the Premier League – but now, after their comprehensive 2-0 win over Napoli, the North Londoners face Dortmund at the Emirates in midweek.
So far so good for Arsene Wenger’s side – the Gunners have gone from strength to strength this season but have still yet to fully convince the naysayers that this is their season. An unbeaten run that included wins against archrivals Tottenham, Napoli, Marseille and Fenerbahce still has a number of commentators and pundits asking questions of the Reds.
They say they’ve had a kind fixture schedule, they say they’ve not been tested against the best and they say it’s a long old way to go but perhaps Tuesday’s clash with the last term’s Champions League finalists will be enough to gauge whether Arsenal can win a title this season after what will be nine long years come May.
Last season Arsenal travelled to the Allianz Arena where they beat eventual Champions League winners Bayern Munich 2-0 on their own turf – fans will remember that Gervinho goal that never was as the Ivorian lunged at a cross in the dying minutes of the game. Had he have scored, Bayern would not have won the Champions League and it would have likely been remembered as one of the greatest European comebacks in recent memory.
But, alas, the Gunners were knocked out and their valiant efforts amounted to nothing, Bayern went on to win the competition against Dortmund at Wembley and the rest, as they say, is history.
If Arsenal lose on Tuesday night against Dortmund I would suspect there will be those who say it proves the Gunners are still lacking something and still a work in progress and still a way behind the ‘big teams’ on the continent and surely can’t keep their cool in domestic competitions for the long-haul.
However, if Arsenal win and head out to Dortmund next month with the wind in their sails, a few of those naysayers may prefer to hold their tongues. Arsenal came closer than any other English team last term (in the Champions League) but Manchester United took the Premier League title and their unfortunate fate against Real Madrid took all the headlines ultimately.
But, nonetheless, Arsenal beat the European and German champions who actually won, not the treble, but the quadruple last term and, over the course of the whole 2012/13 season, lost just three games out of 54 played (one against Arsenal, another against Napoli, and one against Bayer Leverkusen).
Who knows what will be Arsenal’s destiny on Tuesday or this season for that matter but, at present, it’s certainly in their own hands and I think it’s safe to assume that a home victory on Tuesday night would not only send a wave of euphoria around the Emirates but a statement of intent to the rest of the continent.
image: © wonker