Charlie Nicholas says Arsenal can go “all the way” in the Champions League – but only if they sign two more players in the transfer window.
Arsene Wenger’s side have been drawn in Group D with Borussia Dortmund, Galatasaray and Anderlecht, but will have to play those six matches without their main centre-forward, Olivier Giroud, who has been ruled out until the New Year with an ankle injury.
Former Arsenal striker Nicholas says the tough nature of the group may prompt Arsene Wenger to go into the transfer market and sign another striker before Monday evening’s deadline.
And he says his former team can get to the final in Berlin on June 6 if they can also add a quality defensive midfielder.
He told Sky Sports News HQ: “Arsenal have been there for so long now that they tend to know how to take care of business, but the thing with Arsenal is they always seem to start the campaign well and never seem to finish strongly.
“You can’t have that again because Giroud is going to miss the entire six games. It will be interesting to see if he goes in for another centre-forward.
“Aaron Ramsey was suspended [against Besiktas] and will be back and Theo Walcott will be back fit in two or three weeks’ time so there is a lot of good news coming Arsenal’s way, but I still feel another holding midfielder and a striker would be absolutely perfect for Arsenal.
“Arsene Wenger’s got a big decision to make. He’s got two or three days before the deadline to decide whether to go into the market or not. He tends to trust people and with this group he should be strong enough to be second or probably top.
“I would love to say he will [go into the market], but with the way Arsene tends to do things and with what he said yesterday, it told me he would be trusting of the current crop he has.
“You need options in football. Arsenal have lots of pace now and lots of power, but they don’t have a natural link-up centre-forward with Giroud being out of the team. I think that’s the missing link to give them more variety, rather than just out-and-out pace.
“Defensively, Arsenal are still vulnerable. We know they’ve got a lot stronger, but I still feel if they add one or two by Monday then I would be very confident they would go all the way.”
Here's what our other experts had to say about the draw for the Premier League teams
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink on Group G - Chelsea, Schalke, Sporting Lisbon, Maribor
Jose Mourinho must be the luckiest out of the three other managers [of English teams], to have this group. Schalke, Sporting and Maribor are not the best teams in their country and also he doesn't have to fly five or six hours to Turkey or Russia. It’s a good group. Sporting have Nani but I don’t think that will make any difference. Sporting has not been champions for a number of years now. It’s a good club but it shouldn’t give Chelsea any problems. I think it will be comfortable for Chelsea. I can see Chelsea getting far – but you do need a little bit of luck with your knockout round draw and with injuries.
Didi Hamann on Group E - Bayern, Man City, CSKA Moscow, Roma
Out of the English teams, City got by far the worst draw. This is a tough, tough group and the icing on the cake is Roma. There are no gimmes in this group. I still think, with their squad, they’ve got the strength in depth to qualify out of this group but it could go to the wire. Sometimes you can qualify after four games but I don’t think that will be the case in this group. City have even got the chance to win the group, though. Last year they went to Bayern and beat them, that should give them tremendous confidence. Once you’ve qualified you want to make sure you win the group because it makes an awful amount of difference.
Alan McInally – Real Madrid, Basel, Liverpool, Ludogorets
Anfield has something about it on a European night and they’ve got it back again. Against Basel and Ludogorets at home, I’m expecting Liverpool to get six points, one win away from home gives you nine and a draw in another one is 10 points. I’d be disappointed for Liverpool if they don’t get 10 points, regardless of the Real Madrid game – and that will put them through. I hope Liverpool get out of the group and I’ll be disappointed for Liverpool fans if they don’t have a couple of great nights at Anfield again and progress behind Real Madrid.
Remember, Sky Sports 5 is your home of Champions League football this seaon with 129 live games still to come.