Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has described the draw against Anderlecht earlier in the Champions League as a ‘nightmare result’.
The Gunners look like a decent underdog ahead of the last 16 of the European competition and Cazorla has stressed that it’s important for the team to finish the group stage in the right manner.
“The Anderlecht game was a nightmare for us. To be leading them 3-0 and then allowing them to come back from three goals down in your own home is unacceptable,” he’s quoted by FourFourTwo.
“It’s something inexplicable that happened to us and we have to get over it, we have to show everyone that we can react well and in the right way, even though it looks like we’ll be second in the group instead of first.”
Finishing second behind Borussia Dortmund presents Arsenal with something they have encountered frequently in recent years; a more difficult tie in the first knock out round.
Arsenal have been handed some extremely difficult games in the last 16 over recent seasons and it’s important they carry forward momentum as they’re likely to get another tough tie this season.
“We know it’s worse because we’re going to have to play opponents who finished first and are at a really high level, like in the last few seasons when we met Bayern Munich. But ultimately, if you want to win the Champions League or have ambitions to win it you have to play the best.”
“We’d obviously prefer to play a weaker rival, but if we end up against a first class opponent then we have to get on with it and try to beat them if we want to achieve something big. Qualifying is the main thing.”
It’s a fair point and Arsenal are presenting themselves with a chance to get into the last eight of Europe.
Arsene Wenger needs to get his tactics spot on if Arsenal come up against one of the Champions League favourites but the Gunners have played well away from home against some big sides in Europe in recent years.
The club’s form this season has been inconsistent but it’s the same with any knock out stage in any competition; it’s a level playing field over two legs and if Arsenal are good enough, they’ll pull it off.