Old frailties could cost Arsenal once again

The Arsenal of old have reared their heads in their recent Premier League form to send fans into a spiral of depression before Christmas. The Gunners were well positioned in the title race, but back-to-back defeats at the hands of Everton and Manchester City have left them well off the pace of current leaders Chelsea, leaving supporters with feelings of déjà vu.
The club’s slump has already put some fans in the doldrums even at the midway stage of the campaign, questioning Arsene Wenger’s future at the club. Redemption for the Frenchman could come in the Champions League where the Gunners have performed well this term, but a familiar foe lurks in the form of Bayern Munich.

The German giants have sent Arsenal tumbling out of the competition twice in the past six years at the same stage, leaving Wenger and his players with a huge task at hand to appease their fans. The North London outfit are currently backable at 2/1 in the latest bet365 Champions League betting odds to overcome Carlo Ancelotti’s men, but will likely need to be at their best to triumph and advance beyond the round-of-16 for the first time since 2010.

On their day Arsenal are capable of beating anyone as proven in their demolition of Chelsea in the early stages of the campaign. Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott were rampant in the win, while Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny provided security at the back to limit the Blues’ potent strikeforce of Diego Costa and Eden Hazard.

That system proved to be a success for Wenger as his side propelled themselves into the discussion for the Premier League crown, while they were equally as impressive on the continent, displaying a new-found resilience to overcome deficits in clashes against Ludogorets Razgrad and Paris Saint-Germain. Unfortunately for the Gunners, topping their group was unable to hand them a favourable draw in the round-of-16, but to win the competition they would have to beat sides like Bayern anyway.

In their past failures in the Champions League, Arsenal have dug themselves a huge hole in the first leg of their ties, leaving far too much to overhaul in the second. Their ability to come from behind this season will have given fans hope of a turnaround in their fortunes, but their old frailties have come to the fore again, at least in the Premier League.

Despite dominating the first halves of their clashes against Everton and Manchester City, the Gunners were unable to build on 1-0 leads and collapsed defensively in both contests, succumbing to defeats at Goodison Park and the Etihad Stadium. That’s an all too familiar tale with Wenger’s men over the past decade, while the Frenchman must attempt to evoke a response from his team in time for their Champions League showdown in February.

If their cycle of underachievement continues then his days at the club could well be numbered. Only a flawless display from back to front for 180 minutes and possibly beyond will be good enough to overcome Bayern.

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