By Richard Clarke
Johan Djourou admits it will be “a disaster” if Arsenal fail to qualify for the Knockout Stages of the Champions League.
After their 2-0 defeat at Braga on Tuesday night, Arsène Wenger’s side know that only a win over Partizan Belgrade on the final night of Group H will guarantee safe passage for the 11th straight season.
The articulate Swiss centre back is not unduly concerned by Arsenal’s chances of going through but he did suggest that missing out on the last 16 is simply inconceivable.
“If Arsenal do not go to the next stage of the Champions League then it is a disaster,” he said. “That should not happen. I won’t even think that is not going to happen. We have to think positively. The Braga game was a negative but we have to think we’ll qualify.
“I don’t think we are in trouble because we have Partizan at home but we know it is going to be a tough game and we have a job to do.”
Arsenal looked in control for most of the match at Braga. Although they rarely troubled keeper Felipe, they dominated possession. The home side’s tactics were to get men behind the ball and catch the visitors on the break. Unfortunately it worked twice in the final seven minutes.
“They were silly goals and we should have avoided them,” said Djourou. “We could have killed the game before.
“Still there are some positives. We kept our team shape well and we did not do things too quickly because they were behind the ball waiting for us. We played the Arsenal way but it did not pay this time.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 24 Nov 2010