Arsenal Verdict: Is finishing second better than topping the group?

15:03 22 November 2012

Arsenal

Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Montpellier. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Arsenal are now safely through to the knock-out stages of the Champions League and debate will rage as to whether fans will prefer to win the group or finish second.

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere opens the scoring against Montpellier five minutes into the second half. Photo: Nick Potts/PAArsenal's Jack Wilshere opens the scoring against Montpellier five minutes into the second half. Photo: Nick Potts/PA

A win over Olympiakos, coupled with Schalke failing to triumph will see the Gunners win group B. Any other combination of results will see them come in second.

Indeed, looking at the tables as things stand, there are potential perils awaiting in the next round, wherever they finish.

If they topped their pool, they could face Real Madrid but finishing second could set up a rematch against Barcelona.

With the competition so tight in this day and age, aside from home advantage in the second leg, there are no real added benefits to winning the group. Therefore, their game with Olympiakos does not really matter.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: Nick Potts/PA WireArsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Who would Gunners fans rather face?

Porto or PSG? Malaga* or AC Milan? Borussia Dortmund* or Real Madrid? Shakhtar or Juventus? Bayern Munich or Valencia? Barcelona* or Benfica/Celtic? Or Galatasaray? (The team listed first are currently topping the group and those with the stars have won theirs. Arsenal can’t play Manchester United whatever happens.)

Of course, things can change in the final match-day meaning some of those second placed sides can win their group.

I can see the Gunners crashing out in the round of 16 – they can, of course, get through but the quality of these sides are going to be better than the Montpellier team they faced last night.

Imagine a situation where Arsenal win the group and then draw Real Madrid or a Juventus side who went on a 49-match unbeaten run before Inter Milan ended it earlier this month.

They could finish second and draw Barcelona or Bayern Munich – both of them are likely to spell an early exit.

As for the win over Montpellier, one word describes it – professional.

The Gunners just about got out of first gear where they had enough quality to see off the French side.

In fact, during the first half, it was sometimes more entertaining to watch the Montpellier fans in full voice.

There was a point where they did the Poznan for no real reason and by full time the Arsenal supporters in the stadium were enjoying them as well as the win.

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Arsenal news

Sunday, May 29, 2016
Arsenal's Theo Walcott gestures to the fans (Adam Davy/PA Wire)

Our season review continues with a look at the five players who went backwards this season.

Saturday, May 28, 2016
Arsenal's new signing Granit Xhaka has 41 caps for Switzerland(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

West Ham are currently the only London side playing a pre-season friendly in the capital ahead of the 2016/17 Premier League season.

Friday, May 27, 2016
SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - MAY 27: England players celebrate with Marcus Rashford after he scored in the first half during the International Friendly match between England and Australia at Stadium of Light on May 27, 2016 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Marcus Rashford scored after just two minutes to become the youngest player to score on their England debut while Wayne Rooney came off the bench to net as England beat Australia 2-1 at the Stadium of Light. Here’s how we rated England.

Friday, May 27, 2016
SIX-FOURS-LES-PLAGES, FRANCE - MAY 25: Lewis Baker of England (C) celebrates his side's first goal during the Toulon Tournament match between Paraguay and England at  Stade Antoinr Baptiste on May 25, 2016 in Six-Fours-Les-Plages, France. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

England Under-21s reached the final of the Toulon Tournament for the first time in 22 years after a 1-0 win over Japan.

Friday, May 27, 2016
ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - MAY 14:  Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on May 14, 2016 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey has refused to rule out a move to Spain with Barcelona reportedly interested in the Welsh international.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more
Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport