FC BAYERN MUNICH
October 20 2015, Tuesday, 18:45 (GMT)
Emirates Stadium, London
Bayern Munich travel to London to take on Arsenal in the Champions League. Arsenal and Bayern Munich, in fact, are facing each other for the third time in the last four Champions League seasons.
The Bavarian giants are in emphatic form at the moment. Arsenal themselves have done well recently, but have struggled in the Champions League having lost both their matches to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos, and need to get a positive result on Tuesday night if they wish to progress in the league.
Team News & Tactics
Arsenal comes into the game after an impressive game against Watford where they convincingly won 3-0, a result that kept them in second place in the Premier League. Alexis Sanchez was the key in that result but there remains a doubt as to whether he will start a game in two days time, considering Wenger said after the game that he could rest Sanchez and Ozil against Bayern Munich. One can’t think that Arsenal will get a result in this game without their participation.
It does make sense for Wenger to want to make sure he doesn’t lose these key players. As it stands, Arsenal have a stronger chance of winning the Premier League than the Champions League. Therefore, despite there not being any fresh injury concerns, we might see some changes for Arsenal in this game. Olivier Giroud scored against Watford and might see himself starting the game. Not to forget, Bayern have tall centre-backs and Giroud might fare better than Walcott. Gabriel is also back and could start instead of Koscielny who might be rested.
Cecha s presence and performance will be vital on Tuesday if Arsenal are to pick up an unlikely point, given Bayern’s emphatic form, and qualify for the Champions League group stages.
While this may be an uphill task for Arsenal on paper, the side definitely has it in them to get the unexpected result at home. If they can somehow manage a start like the one against Manchester United earlier in this campaign, they can give themselves a shot at going further in the competition.
Pep Guardiola decided to keep Douglas Costa off the pitch for the Werder match, a decision that might have surprised few, but one that made perfect sense as Costa’s legs need to be fresh and fit for London. Costa’s importance to his new club was evident and Bayern really toiled for the win. However, with the Brazilian back in the side, transitioning from defending to attacking would be much more fluid against Arsenal.
Guardiola is still missing Franck Rib ry, Mario G tze, Sebastian Rode and Medhi Benatia. Newly-fit Javi Martinez could get the nod as centre-back over David Alaba, which would subsequently mean switching the Austrian to the left flank. Juan Bernat hasn’t been in the form he would like to be and would drop to the bench.
Bayern will need to deal with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, and if they can somehow keep the two of them quiet, their task will be made even easier. They would also need to handle Arsenal’s quick counter-attacks, but one doesn’t expect Pep Guardiola’s team to give the opponent that much freedom or space to do the same.
Predicted Line-up (4-3-3) : Neuer, Lahm, Martinez, Boateng, Alaba; Alcantara, Alonso, Vidal; MA?ller, Lewandowski, Costa
- The Gunners have lost their opening two games in the Champions League group stage for the first time in their history. The last team to qualify for the knockout stages despite such a start were Galatasaray in 2012/13.
- Arsenal have never lost three consecutive games in the Champions League.
- Bayern Munich have beaten Arsenal on their two trips to the Emirates in the Champions League (3-1 in February 2013, 2-0 in February 2014). Both were in the last-16 stage of the competition.
- Bayern Munich have won only one of their last five away games in the Champions League (D1 L3), that was against Olympiakos in the opening matchday of this season’s group stages.
Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich)
Arsenal were reportedly interested in the midfielder in the summer but he ended up joining Bayern Munich from Juventus. Xabi Alonso and Thiago Alcantara will be the two passing commanders for the Bavarians, leaving Vidal with free reign to roam. Coquelin and Cazorla or whoever Wenger decides to field in the midfield will have to deal with three great midfielders and Vidal could prove to be the trump card in attack.
Bayern Munich 3 Arsenal 1
Even though one could expect Arsenal to play like they have nothing to lose, and the Gunners by no means are pushovers, Bayern Munich are yet to drop a point this season and it would be a foolish task to place any bets against them at the moment. Expect the visitors to go back with all the points in the bag.