For the first time in as long as I can remember, Arsene Wenger has taken his Arsenal team into a UEFA Champions League campaign without a confident declaration of belief that his team can win the trophy. Words like “it’s too early to speak about winning it” and “we have to form a team in the next two months” do not befit the ever-confident Frenchman. But they are a fair barometer of the level of struggle, upheaval and criticism the man has been confronted with all summer.
Arsenal commence their campaign tonight in Germany against defending Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund. The fact that the German champions found themselves in "Pot 4" of the Champions League draw was in itself a shocker, and to that extent, Arsenal were unfortunate to draw such a pedigreed team.
Dortmund, managed by Jurgen Klopp, are well organized, as all top German teams are. They additionally boast of an array of attacking talent, the shining star being the 19-year-old German international Mario Gotze. Arsenal may well be stronger on paper and favorites to get all three points, but if the team doesn't bring its "A" game to the Westfalenstadion tonight, they may well be in for a shock.
Here are five critical success factors for the Gunners tonight.