Thursday 23 November 2017

'Reaching last 16 isn't easy - just look at Spurs' - Arsenal's Carl Jenkinson aims barb at rivals after PSG draw

Carl Jenkinson
Carl Jenkinson

Jeremy Wilson

Carl Jenkinson has aimed a dig at Tottenham Hotspur by pointing out that, for all the disappointment at Arsenal’s likely failure to top Champions League Group A, their rivals would love to swap positions.

Arsenal were in position to beat Paris St Germain and win their group with only 14 minutes remaining on Wednesday night, only for Alex Iwobi to inadvertently glance the ball past goalkeeper David Ospina.

It leaves PSG only needing to beat Ludogorets in their final home match to be sure of finishing above Arsenal thanks to the away goals rule on their head-to-head record.

Jenkinson, who is a lifelong Arsenal fan, questioned that criteria for deciding a group but also reminded Tottenham that they had been eliminated completely on the previous evening.

“Getting to the last 16 is not the easiest thing in the world to do,” said Jenkinson. “Tottenham have obviously seen that and we have done well to get to this point.

"We have held our own and are joint top. The only thing that is holding us back is the head to head rule, which is frustrating when you look at our goal difference and it counts for nothing.

"The rule is very frustrating, I'm not a fan of that. But it is what it is, we are through to the last 16 and all we can do is go to Basel and have a go there and hope things pan out well for us.

"If they don't we are through to the last 16 anyway and you never know who you are going to get drawn against.”

Arsenal have suffered previously after finishing only runners up in their group by drawing Bayern Munich or Barcelona four times in the previous six years. Munich, however, are now certain to finish second in their group, while Real Madrid are also behind Borussia Dortmund in Group F ahead of the final round of matches.

Arsenal, though, could still face Barcelona, Atletico Madrid or Juventus, as well as Monaco, who beat them in 2014.

After a similarly slow start against Manchester United on Saturday, Jenkinson knows that the team must now begin games better. “It has happened a couple of times lately,” he said. “You are causing yourself problems and making it difficult for yourself.

"It makes a big difference, not just at this level but in the Premier League as well. You look at the stats and whoever scores the first goal, they generally go on to win the game.

"We have let that drop a bit lately and if we get the goal first, nine times out of 10 we win and we need to get back to doing that.”

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