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

Arsene Wenger  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believed that Mathieu Flamini’s controversial first half tackle on Dan Gosling was not a red card, contrary to the belief of the opposing manager Eddie Howe.

Mesut Oezil  (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal got back to winning ways on Sunday afternoon with a 2-0 win in the Barclays Premier League over AFC Bournemouth at The Vitality Stadium.

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil

Arsenal triumphed on the south coast here this afternoon with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Bournemouth – complete with a bit of Mesut Ozil magic.

Sunday, February 7, 2016
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsene Wenger accepts that all neutrals want Leicester to win the Barclays Premier League this season.

Sunday, February 7, 2016
(L-R) French central midfielders Mathieu Flamini and Francis Coquelin.  (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Francis Coquelin is set to make his first Arsenal start since November at Bournemouth.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Read more
Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport