Match of the Day host Gary Lineker believes Arsenal’s match against Bayern in the Champions League Round of 16 will define Arsene Wenger’s career.
With less than year left on his contract, Wenger has been quiet about his future, and Lineker is quick to point out that the current division among fans will turn sour if the Gunners drop out of the biggest competition for yet another year.
“They were unlucky with the draw, as they have been consistently over the last few years, but they are not playing well.” Lineker said.
“It will be tough against Bayern, and they will be second favourites, but it could define their season in many ways.”
Arsenal drew the Bavarians for the fourth time in five years despite finishing top of the group. They have been eliminated by their now familiar foe on all occasions, but Lineker believes the stakes have never been so high.
“If they go out of the last 16 again, the fans will get restless because they are massively divided. It’s a bit like Brexit–there is no middle ground. I just fear that would be exacerbated by the defeat to Bayern Munich, especially if they stumble in the Premier League.
“But if they go through, it gives them a big boost–and if they can beat a side like Bayern Munich, I think you’d see their league form improve as well.”
Arsenal have dropped to fourth in the Premier League after losing two out of the last five games and are now trailing behind leaders Chelsea by 10 points with 13 games to go.
“They are still in three competitions, so they’ve got something to fight for on three fronts. Admittedly, I can’t see them catching Chelsea in the title race, but it’s important they stay in the tie at Allianz Arena because, statistically, it helps a bit to have the second leg at home.”
The battle begins tomorrow at 19:45 GMT.