Far from being a grievous injury to Arsenal’s chances of Champions League knockout round qualification the 2-0 reverse they suffered in Dortmund may actually aid their chances of going deep in the tournament.
The negative result has seen Arsene Wenger’s men drift to 47/20 win Group D, with their conquerors now as short as 9/20 to end the mini league in pole position.
Yet, given the Gunners’ Champions League predilection for blasting from the blocks like a speeding bullet only to suffer from the kind of complacency more often associated with hares racing tortoises, their loss may provide the perfect basis for winning their section.
On five of the last seven occasions in which Arsenal have qualified for the knockout stages they have done so by finishing second.
Each time they won their first two outings at the very least.
That the north London outfit have failed to win their group on so many occasions has much to do with a consistent inability to convert a good start into victory.
Last season they did so despite winning four of their first five games, meaning all they needed to do was to avoid defeat to Napoli in the final game to top the standings – the Azzurri won.
A year earlier they once again started with a brace of victories and even after extracting just one point from two meetings with Schalke they would still have booked themselves a second round tie against a runner-up from another group had they not lost their final game at home to Olympiakos.
On both occasions the rather unfortunate result was that, having taken their eyes off the group stage ball, their second-place finishes earned them a date with European superheavyweights Bayern Munchen.
As a result the Gunners’ first opening night defeat since 2003/04, when they were downed 3-0 by Inter Milan at Highbury, can prove a positive, providing them an uphill battle for qualification in which there’s no room left for complacency.
After all, that very campaign saw Wenger’s men secure top-spot and a favourable knockout draw despite failing to win any of their first three outings in the competition.