As we know, Arsenal managed a shock 2-0 victory over Bayern last season. An early goal by Giroud was the benchmark, but looking back it was a bit of a lucky start as Bayern’s David Alaba slipped paving the way for Walcott to run clean through and shank a shot that went right into the path of the Frenchman.
Koscielny added a second in the 85th minute from a set piece.
However, Bayern never really looked troubled throughout that game despite having key players missing and being forced to run the ball into the corner flag for the last few minutes.
Of course, nobody expects a similar result tonight. You would imagine a team like Bayern will have learned from that, but players are human and the Germans might look back to last year’s defeat and get agitated. This gives Arsenal a psychological benefit that they need to take advantage of in the first 20 minutes – the key will be to press Bayern and stop them from playing.
Bayern’s form is exceptional, but they win every week in Germany and will have to prepare better than they did in the first leg. They were clearly not ready to face a Premier League team playing at a much higher pace and intensity than they’re used to, and I reckon Guardiola will have them better-prepared this time.
Arsenal fans should look to Cazorla and Oxlade Chamberlain for attacking impetus. The Ox plays without fear and wins penalties by running at players in the box at pace; he’s becoming a nightmare for defenders.
A big problem for Arsenal, however, is Thomas Vermaelen at left back. Not long back from injury, he was a bit of a donkey against Everton at the weekend and I can’t imagine he is looking forward to facing Arjen Robben.
In the first leg, Bayern targeted Arsenal’s left side with Robben and Rafinha running riot against Gibbs and Monreal. And let’s not forget the criticism Ozil received in that game for refusing to track back until he got reprimanded by Wilshere and Flamini.
Vermaelen could get ripped apart tonight and playing Ozil in front of him could be disastrous – surely Wenger has to learn from the first leg and not leave Vermaelen exposed?
Personally, I wouldn’t even play Vermaelen, I’d switch Sagna to left back and play Jenkinson on the right, instructing him to stay deep and focused on defending. I’d also have Flamini tight on Robben – he’s clearly their danger man. Still, let’s see what the tactical imbecile has planned.
Do Arsenal have a chance? In my opinion, no. In Arsenal’s press conference Wenger talked up Arsenal’s 5–1 win against Inter Milan, but that was 10 years ago!! Of course, anything can happen in football, but over the last decade Arsenal have only won 16 of 49 away games from the CL group stages onwards and few can remember any team overturning a 2-0 deficit away from home.
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