Following Arsenal's crushing 5-1 defeat at Bayern Munich, its third loss in four UEFA Champions League matches, its manager, Arsene Wenger
, was still of the
view that Gunners have a chance to qualify.
"Olympiakos have to lose [at Bayern], we have to beat Zagreb and then beat Olympiakos in Olympiakos," he said. "There is a small chance but it
is a real one.''
The first two results -- an Arsenal win over Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos loss at Bayern Munich -- are very possible, but it would then not be as simple as beating
Olympiakos in Greece. Olympiakos' 3-2 win in London means Arsenal will likely have to win by two goals to reserve the deficit in what is the UEFA tiebreaker: head-to-head.
An Arsenal exit
would put an end to a record 15 straight years of participation in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. Not that it got the Gunners anywhere. They finished second to Barcelona in 2006, but
have otherwise rarely looked like title contenders. Indeed, Arsenal has exited in the round of 16 in each of the last five seasons.
A more relevant streak is the 11 straight seasons
Arsenal has gone without winning the EPL title. The year after their last title, the undefeated campaign in 2003-04, the Gunners finished second to Chelsea, but they have not been runners-up since
This season could be Arsenal's best chance in a long time to challenge for the title. The Gunners enter North London derby against Tottenham in a tie for first place with Manchester
City. The season started disastrously with a 2-0 loss at the Emirates to West Ham, but since then they have one defeat, the 2-0 loss to Chelsea. Arsenal has swept its last five EPL games by a margin
of 16-3. Its 2-1 win over Everton was its closest game in almost seven weeks.
"We lost the first game here at the Emirates," Wenger said after the Everton win, "and after that no one
would have said we would be top tonight." Thierry Henry,
a star on the 2004 "Invincibles" and now a television pundit after retiring from the New
York Reds Bulls, says the Arsenal has the players to win. But it will on depend on their staying in form and staying healthy, beginning with Mesut Ozil
'He is an amazing player," said Henry, "a World Cup winner, with the touch, the vision, but he wasn't always doing it on a daily basis with Arsenal. Now he is doing it."
Frenchman likes the Arsenal midfield with Spaniard Santi Cazorla
and Chilean Alexis Sanchez
"He is the brain of the team," he said of Cazorla, "the way he wants to play is how the team is going to play. Then there is the X-factor you
always need to have to win a title: Alexis Sanchez. He is the guy that you know, when he is in tune, it is very difficult to beat Arsenal."
defense did not show up against Bayern -- "With a defensive performance like that," Wenger said, "you are going nowhere" -- but Henry likes it now it has done since the summer signing of Petr Cech from Chelsea.
"The back four is also doing very well," he said. "[Hector] Bellerin is doing well, Nacho Monreal is showing why he is at Arsenal and Petr Cech is doing what he is supposed to."