It’s the fourth instance of our February royal rumble of matches’ where we have played Liverpool twice, United and now Bayern Munich. A loss, a draw and a win from the last 3 games have seen us remain in the running for the premier league title and into the quarter finals of the FA Cup. A quarter final place is what is up for grabs again as we host the German, European and World club champions, I guess we can all just fold our arms and concede defeat right? It’s like walking into a room for an interview and everyone there has all professional certifications you dream of obtaining and you have just your first degree, there is a huge tendency to start doubting your success rate immediately.
Wonder what the odds are on us getting anything out of this game, I am not a betting man so I’m not privy to that kind of information but I am pretty certain it would be very low. Bayern Munich can be described with any superlative footballing adjective known to man and after their successes last year you would think there is nothing they can improve on but the marriage with Pep which initially looked vulnerable has proven to be much better than initial indications showed.
Bayern’s Bundesliga and Champions League Stats this season
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Amazing stats, scoring 74 and conceding just 14, also scoring in every game they have played in this season is a hallmark of a Pep Guardiola side. Irrespective of what the stats say this is not a David vs Goliath encounter and Arsenal have shown since the last time we beat Bayern at the Allianz Arena that we are a very good side. The current team is a lot better than the team that got a result last year but the reality is also that this Bayern team looks better than the team that won the Cup last year. (Struggling to find positives here). Uli Hoeness was quoted to have said the toughest game Bayern have played this season was Bayern Team A vs Bayern Team B in training, can’t blame the man after stripping the whole of the German league of the talent that exists there.
There has been loads of talk back and forth from players and managers from both clubs usually with all the respect that you would expect before a game like this but for Arsenal to get anything from this it would have to be won in their minds. The last paragraph of the Wenger’s email to fans yesterday was
Everybody is saying that Bayern will win but I trust the spirit and the quality of my team to create a surprise. We are not the favourites but in football the favourite doesn’t always win. – Wenger
Wenger got his tactics completely right against Liverpool and he would have to pull a tactical performance of that magnitude to see us get out of this tie. You would expect that the manager would pick a side that would be going out to attack Bayern as that’s the only way Wenger knows how to set up a side. Arteta picked up a card at the Napoli game and is out of this encounter, if he wasn’t I’m pretty certain Wenger would have gone with Falmini and Arteta in the middle. Flamini would have to marshal that midfield alone and his industry is always required in games like this.
Ribery is out of the encounter but Robben is available for selection and would look to trouble Sagna or Gibbs wherever he decides to pop up. We might have to keep a straight line defence tomorrow and too many forward runs by any of our fullbacks might leave us exposed to the pace that the German side has in their counter attacks. We have already suffered once from Sagna venturing off against Dortmund at home and he did it again at Anfield, any runs behind our fullbacks would leave Per and Kos very exposed.
Its public knowledge that we don’t have the most potent attack in Giroud but we have someone who can work really hard and he showed that against Bayern at the Allianz Arena last year when he also got a goal and he would have to put a performance like that again. With one of my favourite players in World football in the holding position for Bayern, Phillip Lahm is very intelligent and we would have to draw rings round him to get the balls to Giroud, my take would be for Rosicky to start alongside Flamini and Ozil in the middle as Rosicky doesn’t only drive us forward he has a thing for going in for tackles and we might need that bite for us to come out on top of the midfield battle.
Most important players on the pitch for Arsenal tomorrow would definitely be Koscienly and Metetersacker and their record at the Emirates has been outstanding this season and they would have to pull another from the very top of the drawer to keep us in with a chance to travel to Germany in a healthy position. Pictures from the training ground before the game showed the Germans in high spirits and hopefully they will take that attitude to the game and kill off this German side.
Hope we get a good result today. Cheers friends.
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