Does Ribery knock mean 'hope' for Arsenal?

Posted by Susie Schaaf

"Hope" is the word of the day in the English press as news of Franck Ribery's ankle injury made the European rounds. Richard Arrowsmith of Mirror Football article was titled "A New Hope?", while Massimo Marioni of Metro led with "Franck Ribery injury gives Arsenal Champions League hope".

- Mangan: About performance, not qualification
- Ribery ruled out for second leg in Munich

Arsenal does face a monumental task Wednesday; trying to overcome the 3-1 loss at home in the first leg in their Champions League tie with Bayern Munich. So perhaps it is apt Gunners support is latching on to Ribery's injury as well as Bastian Schweinsteiger's and Jerome Boateng's suspensions.

And I will admit the news of missing the left wing marauder gave me pause until I asked an important question: Did Arjen Robben complete training Monday?

Yes? Ah, OK then. Problem solved.

Robben replaced Ribery directly on the left in February's DFB Pokal encounter against Borussia Dortmund and scored the match's only goal -- a lovely volley out of nothing, a typical Robben strike.

Even if Jupp Heynckes decides not to use Robben on the left, it is crucial that he has some options available to him. Xherdan Shaqiri is a possibility in Ribery's place, and might impress a bit more in his natural position than he has lately -- used wrongly in the playmaker's role. This could also serve to give Robben a chance on the right in his natural position, resting an increasingly tired Thomas Mueller.

However, for Arsenal support, the real straw they should be grasping at is the news that Mario Gomez is doubtful for Wednesday: tz-online reporting that the striker suffered an ankle knock and took lengthy treatment on the practice pitch at the Saebener Strasse.

Mario Mandzukic, lately ineffective, last scored for Bayern Munich against the Gunners in London, but has since failed to find the back of the net -- in a full 90 against Dortmund, as a second-half sub at Hoffenheim, and a start against Duesseldorf.

Whatever the Startelf may be, Bayern still need to be wary. Last season Arsenal almost overcame a 4-0 loss to AC Milan, coming back to score 3-0 in the second leg of that tie. That fighting spirit may be the Gunners' greatest hope.

ESPN Conversations