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Champions League: Heavy Burden May Bundle Arsenal Out



Arsenal players are condemned to attack and attack if a UEFA Champions League ticket must be obtained this Tuesday. Coming at the back of a 1-3 loss last Sunday to Liverpool in the English Premiership, the woes of the London side are compounded by the heavy burden that Bayern Munich had put on Arsene Wenger and his wards.
Arsene Wenger must retrieve a 5-1 defeat to reach their first quarterfinal spot in seven years.
Getting into the quarterfinals seems impossible as only three teams in history ever overturned a four-goal first leg loss in the UEFA Champions League.
The three instances, sadly, are not in recent time. First, La Chaux-de-Fonds of Switzerland could not sustain a 6-2 first leg first round win in the 1961/62 European Cup Winners Cup defeat of Leixões of Portugal.
The Portuguese club upturned the table, 5-0 in the return leg. Next was Partizan of the then Yugoslavia (now Serbia) upturning a 6-2 loss to Queens Park Rangers in a UEFA Cup second round duel in 1984/85 season, winning 4-0 in Belgrade.
In similar circumstances, Real Madrid upturned a 5-1 loss to Borussia Mönchengladbach with a 4-0 win at home in the 1985/86 season. Will Arsenal perform the same feat on Tuesday? Can FC Barcelona which carries similar burden also upturn a 4-0 deficit on Wednesday against PSG?
Wenger seems to have come to terms with the burden he now carries. He told “We have no choice – we have to attack and to try to score goals.”
Anything contrary to that will see Arsenal getting a seventh straight last-16 exit. As for Bayern, the last time it took a Round of 16 exit was in 2011.
The Germans seem to be the favourites to advance to the quarter finals which draws will hold in Nyon on March 17.

Arsenal: Ospina; Bellerín, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Xhaka; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Walcott; Sánchez.
Out: Özil (illness), Elneny (ankle), Cazorla (ankle), Mertesacker (knee)
Misses next match if booked: Xhaka
Bayern: Ulreich; Rafinha, Martínez, Alaba, Bernat; Kimmich, Thiago, Müller; Costa, Robben; Lewandowski.
Out: Lahm (suspended), Boateng (selection reasons)
Doubtful: Neuer (calf)
Misses next match if booked: Boateng

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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