Few would argue that Arsenal did not deserve at least to take Bayern Munich to extra time after an excellent display at the Allianz Arena where only the away goals rule stopped them, and one of the foundations of that fine performance was a much improved defence.
Arsenal's back five has faced repeated criticism in the past few weeks, with nadir perhaps coming at White Hart Lane where Tottenham Hotspur were allowed to ghost through twice to score almost identical goals against a poorly organised high line.
Part of the fault has to lie in midfield, where a lack of a traditional defensive midfielder has left Arsenal far too open at times, but some of Arsenal's senior defenders have also let the team down too often this season. With that in mind, players like Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen might now struggle to get back into the side after their supposed deputies impressed against Bayern Munich.
Carl Jenkinson is not only playing better than Sagna, he has also committed hs future to the club whilst the Frenchman seemingly ponders a summer exit. Laurent Koscielny was perhaps Arsenal's best centre back last season, and when paired with Per Mertesacker the Arsenal backline looks far more solid than when Vermaelen is included.
In goal, it has been suggested that Wojiech Szczesny has suffered from a lack of competition, but Fabianski gave a display that will mean Szczesny's place will be under pressure for both club and country.
Even new signing Nacho Monreal, who has been good in his first few matches at the Emirates, might well be worried about his place, with Kieran Gibbs delivering a fine display on his return from injury.
After a spirited display against Bayern, Arsenal fans will now be hoping they can finish strongly in the league to claim a Champions League place. To do so they will need to improve their defensive record, and the back five which played against Bayern could be the players best equipped to do this.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald