THE DYNAMICS OF THE GROUP OF DEATH

When the draws for the UEFA Champions League was made, there was no doubt that Napoli, Dortmund, Marseille and Arsenal were put in the group of Death. Arsenal’s opponents finished second in their respective leagues that meant that we would be in for a show and the group has not disappointed.

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Last match day, Arsenal did the unexpected and won at the Signal Iduna Park thanks to a 62 minute header from Rambo and has put Arsenal qualification in their hands. However, the dynamics of this group is that even if the gooners beat Marseille, which would give the gooners 12 points, we still stand the risk of not qualifying from the group. There is every likelihood that Arsenal, Napoli and Dortmund all finish on 12 points and would mean that for the first time, a team on 12 points might not make the knockout stage. Gooner of Steel decided to explore the different scenarios that might unfold in this peculiar group

  1. If Arsenal and Napoli win today. They would be both on 12 points and would qualify. The last game would be to determine who tops the group, Dortmund would be out.
  2. If Dortmund win and Arsenal win; Napoli and Dortmund would be on 9 points, the gooners on 12. It gets tricky if Napoli beats Arsenal on match day 6 and Dortmund win at Marseille. The three teams would be on 12 points each. This scenario would favour Dortmund as the Germans have the Head to Head advantage over Arsenal (2-2 away goal win) and definitely over Napoli.
  3. Para ventures Arsenal were to draw with Marseille and Dortmund and Napoli also draw. The Italians and the gooners would be on 10 points each and Dortmund on 7. In the final game, all Dortmund would need to do is to beat Marseille and hope that Napoli beats Arsenal. The Germans would qualify.
  4. If Arsenal loses to Marseille (GOD forbid) and Napoli and Dortmund draw. It means that Arsenal would have to win in Naples while Dortmund would need to win in France and require Arsenal to  at most draw with Napoli; we would be on the same points with Dortmund(10) and the Signal Iduna landlords would qualify on head to head.

I could continue on the different permutations that could occur. The group is far from done. There is everything to play for. Marseille would not want to lose all 6 games. Dortmund would want to recover from 3 consecutive defeats, Napoli and Arsenal would want to seize their chance and qualify from this group.

In Biochemistry, there is what we call the rate limiting step of a metabolic pathway. It is the step that determines how fast the pathway goes. For this group, the rate limiting step would surely be the game between Dortmund and Napoli. Whatever the result is in Germany would go a long way in determining who qualifies.

For the gooners, Europe has been good to us this year. Fernabache, Marseille, Napoli and Dortmund have fallen and there is real belief in the side, but we must not rest. Victory over Marseille would put us in a strong position and a subsequent draw in the last game would be enough to secure first place and avoid the big boys of Europe in the round of 16.

Would Marseille fall and get whipped? Definitely not. They might have lost 4 games in Europe and not doing very well in the league but they are still a potent force. Valbuena and co could prove a handful.

Good to see Walcott back in the side, I feel we have missed the outlet he gave us on the right. Happy that Flamini is back. Podolski trained with the squad but Wenger is not in a hurry to rush him into action so quickly.

Winning the Champions League is never going to be easy, but we have to believe. Belief comes from confidence and that confidence comes from winning games. Arsene and his James Bond looking gooners must take Marseille by the jugular and kill every belief that they might have. #wecandoitineurope #COYG

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