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Champions League permutations: What Arsenal now need to qualify
Last night’s stunning 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich has given Arsenal a vital lifeline in the Champions League but we still face a huge task to qualify from the group stages.
Consecutive defeats to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos left us in a huge hole and we’re in serious danger of not qualifying from our group for the first time in 16 years.
The win over Bayern has given us hope but a late Ideye goal in Croatia saw Olympiakos beat Dinamo Zagreb 1-0, so they are now firmly in pole position to secure qualification.
The group currently stands like this:
Likely permutation: Arsenal lose at Bayern, Olympiakos beat Zagreb
The next set of fixtures in two weeks will see Arsenal face Bayern away from home while Olypmiakos entertain Zagreb. The Greeks are red-hot favourites to collect all three points at home which would move them on to 9 points.
If we were to lose at Bayern, as most people predict, then this is what we’d need to qualify:
- Arsenal to beat Zagreb at home on matchday five
- Bayern to beat Olympiakos at home on matchday five
- Arsenal to beat Olympiakos away on matchday six either by two clear goals or by winning 4-3, 5-4, etc.
If Olymiakos beat Zagreb at home and we lose at Bayern, we need to rely on Bayern to beat the Greeks at home and we beat Zagreb to set-up a decider away to Olympiakos.
Nothing but a win would do but due to the head-to-head rules, we need to better their 3-2 win at the Emirates in order to secure qualification. A 1-0 or 2-1 win in Greece wouldn’t be enough.
In my opinion this is the most likely scenario, but what if we get a result at Bayern?
If we can get at least a point at Bayern then we just need to win our final two games against Zagreb and Olympiakos, by any scoreline, to qualify.
Of course there are many ways this could all play out over the next three games but Bayern are going to qualify and I don’t see Zagreb getting another point so it’s down to Arsenal or Olympiakos for the second spot.
The simple fact is we need to try and bring something home from Germany and then beat Zagreb and Olympiakos. Defeat at the Allianz would leave everything still in the balance heading in to the final two games.