"I think Arsenal are in the mix" - Thierry Henry rates Gunners' chances of winning the UEFA Champions League this season
Thierry Henry has backed Arsenal as a contender to win this season's UEFA Champions League amid their excellent showing in Europe thus far.
The Gunners have returned to Europe's elite club competition for the first time since 2017. They have shown no signs of rust thus far, winning Group B and booking their place in the last 16 with a game to spare.
Mikel Arteta's side ran riot with a 6-0 drubbing of Lens last night (November 29). They are becoming somewhat of a dark horse in this year's Champions League, winning four of five group games.
Henry opined that Arsenal haven't perhaps hit the heights of their impressive 2022-23 campaign thus far. But, he alluded to his former club sitting at the top of the Premier League (via Metro):
"Look I think that they are with what they’ve been showing recently in the league, the year before and this year they are top of the league. They are a bit less convincing than last year but they are still top of the league and you have to take that."
The Gunners' all-time record goalscorer pointed out that Napoli were in similar form last season. Gli Azzurri made it to the quarter-finals of the competition but won the Serie A title:
"Having said that if it was Napoli playing the same way and doing that last year, we were raving about it what they were doing, different group, I would understand that."
Henry insists Arteta's men are contenders and he's hopeful they can win their first-ever Champions League trophy come May:
"But yes I think Arsenal are in the mix not only to be contenders but go all the way, hopefully."
The Gunners are joined by the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Manchester City and Barcelona in the last 16. They will be drawn against a side that finishes second in their group.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta reacts to his side winning Group B with a mauling of Lens
Arteta was delighted with the way Arsenal booked their place in the last 16 as Group B winners. His side made light work of Lens who currently sit sixth in the Ligue 1 table. He said (via football.london):
"I didn't even dream like this! We had the chance to qualify today and be top of the group and I think we've done it in a really convincing way against a really good side."
Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard, and Jorginho (P) were among the goals for the Gunners. Arteta touched on his side's fast start which saw them head in at half-time 5-0 up:
"The team from the beginning showed a lot of aggression and determination to go for the game. Everything happened in the right way in the first 30 minutes. That was really helpful to win the game."
Arsenal next face PSV Eindhoven at Philips Stadion in the Champions League on December 12. They turn their attention to the league on Saturday (December 2) when they host Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Emirates.