Gervinho believes that Arsenal’s form in February will be a more important factor in deciding how the club fare in the Champions League this season rather than where they finish in the group standings.
The Gunners travel to Athens this afternoon for tomorrow’s clash with Olympiakos knowing that they have already qualified for the knockout stages, but dependent on Schalke dropping points against Montpellier if they’re to progress top.
Reflecting on the situation, the Ivorian, who is one first team player likely to be included in an expected weakened travelling party, said it won’t be the end of the world if they end up runners-up.
“Whether you finish first or second, there will always be some big teams in the next round,” said the winger.
“If a team has qualified for the last 16, it’s because there is a lot quality in it, so the further you go in the competition, the tougher it gets.
“Our objective is to finish top of the group, but if we finish second, it won’t be the end of the world either. Look at Real Madrid, they are sure to finish second, so if you win your group, you could still face them in the last 16.
“The most important thing is to be in great form before playing in the knockout stages.”
Interestingly, in a set of different quotes in the Daily Star he seems a little more bullish about going for top spot suggesting Olivier Giroud calls his former teammates at Montpellier and asks them to do us a favour.
Meanwhile, after Saturday’s home defeat to Swansea and the ensuing discontent voiced by the Emirates crowd, Mikel Arteta has accepted that until the team start producing the goods they can hardly expect the full backing of supporters.
“We know that results will bring everyone together. When they don’t come people will be criticised – the manager, players and staff. It is our fault if we haven’t done it [right] and they have every right [to react].
“They have been outstanding so far. We can’t ask them to be behind us if we don’t give them back what they deserve. It is up to us. We will get criticised [if we don’t win]. It is part of our jobs. The main thing is that everyone give 100 per cent now.”