Guest Post By Karl Matchett


Arsenal overcame the odds to inflict a first defeat on Bayern Munich since August in the Champions League on Tuesday night, winning 2-0 at the Emirates to keep their slim hopes of making the knock-out stage alive.


While the Gunners' first points of the group stage are obviously welcome and certainly merited on the night, it would be a mistake for Arsene Wenger-or indeed any of the fans-to think this is anything but a single step in the right direction. Redemption is not yet assured and the team still have plenty of suffering to do, plenty of anxious moments ahead, if they are to reach the last 16 of Europe's top competition.


The early mistakes made by Wenger and his players in the first two matches, against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos, were hugely costly. Playing David Ospina instead of Petr Cech was criticised in many quarters, but the Colombian is still a very good goalkeeper in his own right and this alone is hardly the reason for Arsenal's early demise in Group F.


Olivier Giroud's red card in Zagreb and the entire midfield's propensity to leave gaps against their Greek Arsenal Home Shirt 2015 - 2016opponents were equally avoidable and similarly steep in price; these three points against Bayern are merely the first papering over of the giant hole those two defeats exposed.


To Arsenal's credit, despite not having much possession against Bayern and riding their luck at times in defence, Wenger's players continually took the game to their German opponents when possible and had stages of the match where they dominated in terms of chances being created. That the luck fell Arsenal's way in the end is just football's way of reminding supporters that anything can still happen.


Manuel Neuer pulled off a world class save earlier in the game-but then completely missed a high ball into the box for the opening goal. As for the second, late on in stoppage time, the fifth official signalling that the ball had crossed the line before Neuer made his save was quite possibly the first time one of those extra pairs of eyes had actually made a positive contribution to the Champions League, ever. 


But Arsenal created that luck through their own determination, doggedness and belief that they stood a chance. Especially at home, it was vital that Arsenal go for broke at some stage; they are far better off with a win and even a heavy loss next time in Munich, than play for two draws and possibly take nothing at all, or at best only two points.


As it is, the three they have now-even if they lose in Munich-can make the final match week in the group a momentous occasion.


Olympiacos' win in Zagreb will suggest they can repeat the trick in two weeks' time, leaving them on nine Arsenal Away Shirt 2015 - 2016points, six clear of the Gunners. Naturally Arsenal must beat Dinamo and hope Bayern overcome the Greeks in game week five, but being just three points off Olympiacos before heading to Piraeus in early December means progression would still be in the Gunners' hands.


They'd need better than a 3-2 win, with head-to-head separating sides on level points, but there isn't any doubt that on an individual level, Arsenal have the players to achieve it.


Mesut Ozil's form of late has been excellent, while Alexis Sanchez always has the ability as well as the big-game mentality to come up trumps when his team needs it. Speed on the break, Laurent Koscielny in determined mood at the back and Cech making his own outrageously good saves are all similarly pivotal points that Arsenal will need, not just now in this double-header against Bayern but also two months from now.


Tenacity, along with technique, has to endure.


A final point worth noting is that Arsenal's Premier League schedule looks fairly handy around those two final Champions League games. Away to West Bromwich Albion before playing Dinamo Zagreb at home won't be the most taxing fixture of the season, while the Gunners are home to Sunderland-atrocious so far, but with a new manager now in place-before Olympiacos. Still, it's not one of the toughest games of the campaign to navigate.


A lot of work remains for Arsenal if they are to sneak through into the knock outs, but beating one of the favourites for the entire competition was a first step well done. 


If Wenger can keep the levels of fight and fearlessness on show against Bayern also in place against so-called easier teams in the group, the positivity surrounding an unexpected qualification could easily push Arsenal into the second half of the season in sky-high spirits about what they could go on to achieve.