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Nemesis they say is an ”inescapable agent of someone’s or something’s downfall.” This definition almost befits Bayern Munich the long-standing rival of Arsenal. Bayern has become nemesis to Arsenal in that they now seem inescapable for Arsenal no matter how Arsenal tried to escape. The recent Uefa Champions League second round draw has brought this two friendly rivals together again making it the fourth time they will meet in five seasons with Bayern prevailing in three of the knockout ties. Ofcourse as usual, there had been different comments from football fans. Let’s take a brief look at the last three encounters between this two and the funny, yet actual comments people made.
In the 2012/2013 season, Bayern won the first leg 3 goals to 1 in london, and Arsenal won the second leg 2 goals to nothing in Munich making it 3-3 on aggregate, but the sting of the away goal rule pulled Arsenal out and ensured Bayern progressed. In the 2013/2014 season, again Bayern defeated Arsenal in London by 2 goals to nothing and the return leg ended in a 1-1 draw in Germany making 3-1 on aggregate and ensuring Bayern proceeded. Last season, unlike other ties, both team were drawn in the same group but winning in other dimensions. Arsenal won 2-0 at home while bayern also won 5-1 at home ensuring Bayern lead the group with 15 points and Arsenal second with 9 points.
Arsenal did all they could in the group stage of this season’s UCL to finish first in the group so that they could have the chance of playing a seemingly less tough team who might have been second in the group. Yes they achieved it one way or the other, they came first in the group. Unfortunately, despite their efforts, circumstances brought Bayern Munich to them again having completed the group stage in the second position. This scenario gave birth to the above comment made by a notable Arsenal fan in my favourite viewing centre, who was puzzled on why its this season that Arsenal lead the group that Bayern came second in their own group, this lead to his conclusion that “even to Europa Bayern shall follow us”. Another football fan admits that, “only if arsenal could surrender and face the EPL squarely”. Some Arsenal fans found it difficult to belief that the draw was not fixed, they said it’s a plot to eliminate Arsenal.
My view though, despite all the comments made by different football lovers on the draw, despite everybody condemning Arsenal judging from previous fixtures, I still belief Arsenal could qualify only if they stay focused. Though their recent form has not been too outstanding in the EPL especially since the exit of Santi Carzola from the team due to injury, they can still manage to qualify only if they stay focused defensively and didn’t concede goals as it has been the case in previous encounters.
What lies ahead in this fourth encounter? Will history repeats itself? The answers to come in a matter of days.