Former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has written off Arsenal’s hopes of progressing past the Champions League group stages this season.
Arsenal head into their third Champions League group game against Bayern Munich on Tuesday on the back of consecutive defeats to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos, leaving their qualification prospects in serious doubt.
With zero points from two games the Gunners now face German giants Bayern Munich home and away, and will almost certainly need results in both games to boost their chances of progression.
However Ancelotti, who has won the Champions League three times during his career as a manager, says Arsene Wenger’s side are already “practically out”, but he insists this does not represent a disappointment for the club.
“Arsenal are practically out because they must now face Bayern twice,” the Italian coach told Goal.
“I see Bayern as favourites,” the 56-year-old admitted. “Arsenal need to pick up points against Bayern but it will be very hard.
“You can never take the ball away from Bayern because, by now, it’s in their DNA. But where you can hurt them is on the counter-attack. And, as seen against United, Arsenal’s speed on the break can give them an advantage.
“I saw impressive pace up front with Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil. It’s this weapon that can upset Bayern.
“I don’t agree with those that say that Arsenal have consistently disappointed in Europe, because they have been present in the Champions League for so many years. I just believe that the problem was the first game.
“The Gunners underestimated Dinamo Zagreb. Because of Dinamo’s CV, Arsenal miscalculated the challenge facing them.
“Dinamo had not won in the Champions League for many years and this affected Arsenal’s concentration. I believe that Dinamo were underestimated not only by the coach but also by the players.”
Despite this, Ancelotti believes that Wenger, who came in for significant criticism earlier in the season before a number of positive results turned the tide, is in no danger of being axed as Arsenal manager.
“There’s still the FA Cup, and they’re well placed in the league,” the former Chelsea boss argued. “As a result, I don’t think that Wenger’s job is at risk.”