Football is all about fine margins.
Take Arsenal Under-19s. They would not be in the Uefa Youth League if Arsenal’s first team hadn't qualified for the Champions League group stage with a skin-of-the-teeth 1-0 aggregate victory over Besiktas in August.
They did make it - just - and Frans de Kat is desperate to keep his and Steve Gatting’s young side in the junior competition for as long as possible.
"I hope the players believe in themselves because we believe in them"
The young Gunners sit second in their group, level on points with Galatasaray but ahead on goal difference. While the Turkish side travel to first-placed Anderlecht, Arsenal have a pivotal tie of their own, hosting Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.
“It will be difficult because they have to win to get through the group,” he told Arsenal.com. “We have to hope Anderlecht beat Galatasaray and we beat Dortmund. That’s the best way for us to get through.
“If we draw then we have to win the last game instead. Up until now Galatasaray have picked up two wins at home and they play on an artificial surface so I think Dortmund and Anderlecht have some problems over there.
“Winning in Dortmund and then beating Galatasaray after that gave us a lot of confidence, but then we lost the next two games against Anderlecht.
“We think we can beat [Dortmund], though, and we have to if we want to play more games at that level. I hope the players believe in themselves because we believe in them. We have a good squad so we should go for it.
“In possession we have very good players so we have to get the ball back quicker. If we defend a bit better then we’ll have the ball more often, which will allow us to get forward more and have more chances.
“Kaylen Hinds scored twice against them last time but he is injured so we’ll play with Stephy Mavididi. We have enough good players who are available, so without Kaylen we can beat them as well.”
Entrance to Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park is free of charge on Wednesday, and a video stream of the game will be available on Arsenal.com. Live updates will be on the @Arsenal Twitter feed from 1.55pm (UK time).
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.