It seems now that every time somebody mentions the potential for success this season for Arsene Wenger’s men they simply gloss over the Champions League and immediately talk about their potential in the FA Cup.
This is due largely to their competition in the next round; last year’s beaten finalists Bayern Munich. Not many pundits are giving The Gunners a hope in hell of conquering the in-form Bavarians who currently sit at the pinnacle of the Bundesliga; lording over everybody’s second team in Europe Borussia Dortmund to the tune of a whopping 15 points after Die Schwarzgelben were humbled 4-1 by Rafael Van Der Vaart’s Hamburg outfit this weekend.
But there have been a few shining lights in recent weeks in regards to the tie. The form and fitness of Arjen Robben plays into Arsenal’s hands and now more good news comes from similar worries for their talismanic midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.
First of all are the questions over his fitness. He has been suffering with an ankle injury but despite Jupp Heynckes previously revealing his worries about his fitness he featured in the game against Schalke this weekend; and scored a delightful free-kick in a 4-0 romp.
Schalke of course outplayed Arsenal in the Group Stages so that already makes for ominous reading; but it should be noted that the Gelsenkirchen club did have a depleted side.
However despite good news on the injury front Schweinsteiger has been criticised by a former German international. Olaf Thon was talking mainly about the performances for the national team but it should still be music to the ears of Arsenal fans that perhaps his mobility is becoming an issue; considering the way in which Arsenal have recently been moving the ball from the midfield:
"Schweinsteiger is a player who will only further decline simply because he no longer has the speed from before. You need speed and aggressivity in his position, although I have to admit that Schweini is doing a good job. He is showing other qualities and could perhaps stay at this level until the 2014 World Cup. After that, he will probably follow the same path as Michael Ballack with the national team. It could even [be] sooner. Schweini's mainly playing simple vertical passes and cannot beat his man anymore. Borussia Dortmund's [Ilkay] Gundogan brings more to the table at the moment."
So for Arsenal fans there is mixed news ahead of the game with Bayern. While some may question the fitness and form of their best players the team still continues to win comfortably maintaining the belief that Arsenal have a mountain to climb if they are to claim victory against Bayern.