...score a goal against Manuel Neuer. The Bayern Munich keeper has not conceded from open play since the final game of the Champions League Group Stage and Arsenal will need to find a way past the imposing stopper to have any chance of European success.
After never really being in the title race, a League Cup exit to Bradford City and now being dumped out of the FA Cup by Blackburn Rovers this weekend the chances of Arsenal breaking their silverware duck appear very slim.
One person who clearly disagrees with the claim that the clubs season is now effectively over is the manager Arsene Wenger who remains adamant about the team’s chances of success:
"It is very painful to lose a game like that. What is important is to focus on the next one. The season is not over. For you maybe, not for me. If we feel sorry for ourselves we would be completely wrong. We have a massive game on Tuesday night and we have to show that we have some response in the team."
The game on Tuesday really is a massive game as they face one of Europe’s most in form outfits and last years defeated finalists Bayern Munich and it is fair to say not many pundits are giving Wenger’s men a chance.
While the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Phillip Lahm and Thomas Muller are likely to cause The Gunners trouble their main issue may be the last line of defence for the Bavarians; German international goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
As a boy he grew up admiring the play of former Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann and they play with similar characteristics; although Lehmann would not begrudge anyone saying that the 26-year-old one-time envy of Sir Alex Ferguson has more natural talent.
If Arsenal are going to make any form of dent on their Champions League tie they will have to do something nobody has yet been able to do in 2013; score a goal against Manuel Neuer.
Greuther Furth, Stuttgart, Mainz, Schalke and Wolfsburg have all tried and failed since the turn of the year to put the ball past the imposing German and the last time he conceded a goal it was a penalty by Torben Marx for Borussia Monchengladbach; the last time he conceded from open play was on the 5th December 2012 when Yegor Filipenko scored a late consolation for BATE Borisov in the final game of the Group Stage in the Champions League.
Overall this season Neuer has conceded just 13 goals in the 28 matches he has played for Bayern. Compared to Wojciech Szczesny’s record of 27 goals conceded in just 24 games this season you can see why Arsenal fans may fear the opposing number in their Champions League tie this week.
What do you make of Manuel Neuer’s current performance?
image: © blangiardi