Damn those Germans. So good at optimising what they have. So good at organising themselves and controlling matches. Bayern München really are at the peak of a cycle right now. What’s more they have a fully fit squad going into the game. They have the Champions League in the bag and are going for another one. Back to back winners? Not if Arsenal can give a master class in München tonight.
It seems, of course, like a mission impossible. But it is also important to point out that Arsenal will not be under a huge amount of scrutiny going into the game. No one expects them to go to the European champions and win by two clear goals. And these sorts of games are when Arsenal seem to perform pretty well.
All of the pressure in this game is on Bayern München. But they will be unsure as to whether to stick or twist in the tie. An early goal for them will kill the match but they won’t want to be too cavalier in their approach. If Arsenal can put the fear into München early doors then we could have a game on our hands.
Rarely do you see teams going hell for leather in Europe – a chess like approach is usually adopted for large chunks of the two legged encounters – but this is exactly what we believe Arsenal need to do tonight. Conceding a goal wouldn’t be the end of the world because we think that Arsenal will have to score 3 goals tonight to go through anyway. But The Gunners need to be quick out of the blocks and take the game to the opposition. Play on the front foot from the start and get in opposition faces like an over-friendly Yorkshire terrier on heat. And attacking line up and an attacking mentality is the only way Arsenal can get through this game.
We would much prefer to see Arsenal go down fighting, and playing in the fantastic style that we know they can, rather than limping out of the tournament with a defensive performance which doesn’t yield enough goal threat.
So here is the Arsenal team that we would put out, fitness permitting, tonight. While it’s nominally 4 at the back we would like to see Sagna get forward at every opportunity while the other three defenders shuffle across to cover the Frenchman’s runs. Oxlade-Chamberlain should play wide left with Ozil and Cazorla supporting Giroud up top. Injuries have forced Wenger’s hand here but it’s still top line up.
Arsenal: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Sagna, Flamini, Arteta, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Giroud
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