"It leaves us in a bad position but we are still in it." It may have been among the most despondent displays from Arsene Wenger during his 18 years in charge of Arsenal during his post-match press conference, following the harrowing defeat to Olympiakos in the Champions League, but at least his eternal optimism is not unfounded.
The Gunners' campaign in Europe's premier club competition stands on the precipice of ruin after successive defeats at the start of their campaign. However, though history is against them, it is not yet time for fans of the north London club to begin plotting trips to the darkest corners of Eastern Europe despite the Europa League looming large.
The bad news for Arsenal is of the previous 110 teams to lose their opening two Champions League group matches, just nine have progressed, a success rate of just 8%. Among them are Newcastle United, who lost their first three matches during the 2002/03 campaign before reaching the next stage. Galatasaray's effort in the 2012-13 season is an example of a more contemporary success.
Perhaps the most daunting aspect of the challenge facing Arsenal is not what has already occurred, but what follows. Bayern Munich, who have scored eight unanswered goals against Dinamo Moscow and Olympiakos in their two early victories and have the most potent striker in Europe in the form of Robert Lewandowski, represent their daunting opponents over the next month. To suggest victories in these back-to-back games could be routine for the Bundesliga champions.
Yet even if Arsenal lose their first four group matches, they could yet take their place in the first knock-out round, provided there are a set of extraordinary results elsewhere in the group. Should Wenger's side be defeated by Bayern in both matches, then they would require Olympiakos and Dinamo Zagreb to either exchange wins, or better still draw their two meetings that straddle the end of October.
Should the reigning Greek and Croatian champions be locked on five points after four matches, it would require Arsenal to win their last two games against both sides and hope Bayern go on to become the seventh side in Champions League history to finish the group phase with a 100% record. Should Olympiakos or Dinamo be level on six points, then the Emirates Stadium club would be required to better the result they lost by earlier in the competition [2-1 to Dinamo and 3-2 to Olympiakos].
Only one team in Champions League history have qualified for the last 16 having accumulated just six points, with Zenit St Petersburg progressing in the 2013-14 season with just a single group stage win and three draws. Arsenal's achievement would perhaps eclipse that of the Russia giants, with no team having qualified after losing four matches in the group.
Either way, Arsenal will still be in contention to progress whatever the result of their home clash with Bayern on 20 October, but their fate will be dictated by the fortunes of their group rivals as much as by their own results. Wenger side's destiny may be almost out by their own hands but where there is hope, there's life.