Gunners Need Bayern Win To Keep Faint CL Hopes Alive
Match Preview – Arsenal vs Bayern Munich – Champions League – 20.10.15
Arsenal picked up exactly where they left off in the league when they played Watford yesterday. It took 60 minutes to break the deadlock but the result was never really in doubt. The Gunners limited Watford’s chances for the majority of the match and it always seemed like a case of when Arsenal would score rather than if. The Hornets defended excellently and it was no wonder they were sharing the moniker of best defence in the league with their closest neighbours in Arsenal and Tottenham.
It should not be forgotten that Watford are a promoted team stepping into a league that is hard to keep clean sheets in even for the strongest of teams – see City and the floundering Champions for examples. Their defence record is therefore sensational and you’d be mad not to use some Premier League free bets on them staying up, or even Arsenal winning the whole thing. It may seem incongruous to suggest Arsenal are one of the favourites having beaten a team they are expected to beat but the performance showed everything Arsenal have been accused of not possessing.
Adding almost 50% to a defensively solid team’s against column is no mean feat and to do it with the clinical nature Arsenal did is even harder. They ended the match with a 50% conversion rate for shots on target and despite dominating possession still managed to take the game from the counter. Patience was key for Arsenal in this match as well as grit, determination, physicality, defensive solidity and calmness. Each of these things has undone Arsenal in the past and cited as reasons they cannot win the title. They’ve been showing all of that in spades this season and to do so straight after an international break says something about this team.
With some really solid league form behind them they turn their attention to the Champions League and a last ditch attempt at staying in it. The first hurdle? Only the best team in Europe. The Gunners seem to have this knack of getting themselves out of trouble so them crashing out at the hands of their Bavarian foe should not be consider a foregone conclusion. Arsenal have proven they have what it takes to beat Bayern so a William Hill joining bonus put on Wenger’s men could pay for a few midweek distractions when Arsenal crash out on match day six.
As much as I fancy Arsenal to give it a real good go and even do the double over Bayern the overall ask is just that little bit too much. Arsenal are well-versed in attempting to overcome monumental obstacles, usually self-erected, only to drop out in a blaze of glorious failure. It would be a comeback for the ages if the Gunners make it out of this group and I don’t want to get my hopes up only to have them cruelly dashed in the last few minutes of the final match.
There are no new injury worries for Arsenal but Gabriel could still start in defence. Alexis is on a fine scoring run and we’ll be relying on his superhuman energy levels to see him through another match so quickly after returning from international duty.
Arsenal from; Cech, Ospina, Bellerin, Chambers, Debuchy, Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Monreal, Cazorla, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Özil, Ramsey, Campbell, Giroud, Alexis, Walcott
Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Özil, Alexis, Ramsey, Walcott
I expect to see substitute appearances from Ox, Giroud and Arteta.
“We want to make something special against Bayern Munich as it is the only way we can keep in the race” – Arsène Wenger
Last 3 Meetings
- Bayern 1-1 Arsenal (11.03.2014)
- Arsenal 0-2 Bayern (19.02.2014)
- Bayern 0-2 Arsenal (13.03.2013)
Arsenal Last 5
Bayern Last 5
Bayern are the best team in Europe with probably the best manager. Please, not in the face (thanks to @rob_parritt for that).
- Arsenal have only beaten Bayern twice in eight matches
- Bayern are yet to drop any points this season at all
- No team has ever qualified from the group stages having lost their opening two matches
- This is the 5th time these sides have met in three seasons
0-1 to Arsenal. Flamini goal.
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