Arsenal are, once again, at the stage of the Champion’s League where they normally bid their farewell. Not for no reason is it called the “knockout” stage, because this describes perfectly what invariably happens to the Gunners, they get knocked out.

In fairness, they have been beaten by some very good teams in the past whilst also succumbing to some of the more mediocre ones. There has been more than one occasion on which Arsenal should have stayed in the competition, but didn’t.

Fortunately for Arsenal, Tuesday is one of those games where they cannot be knocked out as it is only the first leg. Unfortunately for Arsenal, it is Barcelona and so, over the two legs, they will almost certainly be departing this years Champion’s League.

The only chance they have of getting through this tie is if Sanchez, Giroud and maybe even Welbeck, all find their shooting boots at some time during the two legs. This also assumes that Messi, Neymar and Suarez leave theirs on the bus!

If the MSN, as they are rather strangely known, turn up in fine form then Arsenal could be embarrassed as they were by Bayern Munich. They do not have a good defence and, similar in some ways to Manchester United, have to rely on having a great goalkeeper to keep them in some games.

The problem here is that any one of Messi, Neymar or Suarez can make a great goalkeeper look very ordinary and this is why, in the case of Arsenal, Petr Cech will not be able to carry them through on his own.

So Arsenal will be able to concentrate on the Premier League by the middle of March. They should still be in with a chance of winning it by then, providing they haven’t shot themselves in the foot by losing some silly games, a feat of which they are more than capable.

With Danny Welbeck back they should also have a little more firepower as he will manage a couple of games before being injured again, so they need to make the most of his return.

The only challenge for Arsenal in their attempt to win the league will come from London, but it won’t be Chelsea! Good old Spurs have decided to give it a go this time round and Potty Maurice sees no reason why they can’t spoil the party for Arsenal, Manchester City and, particularly, Leicester City.

Will Leicester actually win it? I think that it’s unlikely and I see them finishing third or fourth, just as I think Manchester City will be second or third.

The title is between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur which means that all the neutrals will be shouting for Spurs as they have not won the league since the 1960-61 season, in which they won the double. Whisper it around White Hart Lane but they could do it again, except that the year does not end in “one” and everybody knows that means Spurs won’t win the cup.

So football in London is looking up, unless you are a Chelsea fan, in a season where honours could be shared between the capital’s clubs. Just imagine, Chelsea win the Champion’s League, Arsenal the Premier League and Spurs the FA Cup. Just imagine, because that is probably as close to reality as it will get, but it’s nice to dream.


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