Cech realistic over Arsenal’s European ambitions

As thrilled as he is to have helped Arsenal beat Bayern Munich on Tuesday, he accepts the three points has done little for their current UEFA Champions League position.

Bayern arrived at the Emirates Stadium on the back of 12 successive wins in all competitions, and knowing that a win would make their progress through Group F all but confirmed. The Gunners, on the other hand, had lost their previous two matches in the competition to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos, making a victory imperative against the Bundesliga giants.

Although the visitors enjoyed much of the possession in the English capital, it was the hosts who went ahead on 73 minutes when Olivier Giroud, on as a substitute for Theo Walcott, made the most of a rare error from Manuel Neuer to bundle the ball home. And the win was sealed in stoppage time, when the in-form Mesut Ozil scored against his compatriots from close range.

It is fair to say the result may have been altogether different had Cech not been in such good form. The former Chelsea goalkeeper, who didn’t play in either of Arsenal’s other two qualifying matches, provided the platform for his team-mates to build on against Bayern. But speaking after the match, the Czech Republic international was keen to bring a sense of reality over his side’s position.

“Obviously we are back in the game (for qualification), but our position has not changed much as Olympiakos won their game so we still need more points,” he said. “We go to Munich knowing we can compete with them and we are positive we can get points and it will depend on how the game will go, but it has been a great night so let’s see what will happen in the future.”

Arsenal remain rooted to the foot of the group, level on points with Dinamo who visit London in the penultimate round of fixtures. It would appear that much may depend on the final game, when Arsene Wenger takes his side to Greece to take on an Olympiakos team who stunned the Emirates Stadium last month when they secured a memorable 3-2 win over the English club.

Meanwhile, Chelsea earned a goalless draw in Kiev against Dynamo to keep their qualification hopes on track. Jose Mourinho’s team may currently be third in Group G, but they will expect to move into the qualification places when they welcome the Ukraine side to Stamford Bridge for the return in a fortnight. Porto currently top the group, whilst Maccabi Tel-Aviv are pointless.

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