Özil hoping for his 3rd goal against Bayern
Match Preview – Bayern Munich vs Arsenal – Champions League – 4.11.15
Losing two players to injury, adding to the extensive list of absentees, against Sheffield Wednesday meant Arsenal faced a run of three tricky fixtures before the relative respite of the international break and with it an opportunity to get key players back to fitness.
The Gunners passed the first test of this run with flying colours notching a 3-0 win over Swansea. Tonight they face Bayern Munich ahead of the North London Derby and will do so without Bellerin who injured his groin against Swansea last Saturday.
Arsenal have the chance to throw this group wide open with a win tonight but it might be worth sacrificing this match in favour of keeping pace in the Premier League. The win over Bayern gave Arsenal a chance to qualify with victories over Olympiakos and Dinamo Zagreb so it is not necessary for Arsenal to overexert themselves going for three points tonight, a draw will suffice and even a loss is not the end of the world.
The key for Arsenal now is to emerge from the Spurs match with three vital points and no fresh injuries. The international break is a chance to convalesce and attack the league afresh starting with West Brom where we will hopefully have Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott back in the squad or days away.
Joel Campbell, so far, has demonstrated the depth in the squad and proven himself a reliable figure. Something I freely admit I did not think him capable of. Joel and Alex jostling for position until the return of Ramsey can only benefit the team and also gives us options to rest Alexis Sanchez in some of our so called easier fixtures before our showdown with City on the 21st December. If Arsenal can keep pace going into the January transfer window there is no reason they cannot strengthen the squad further and go on to win their first title since 2004. There’s already plenty of Arsenal transfer news suggesting the Gunners are looking at January solutions and they also hope to welcome back Welbeck and Wilshere who could prove invaluable in the run in. The league has to be the primary focus for Arsenal and that means not over-stretching ourselves tonight.
Bayern will be looking for revenge, Arsenal having ended their perfect start to the season, and they have home advantage as well the fortune of being able to welcome back Arjen Robben. It’s going to be an incredibly difficult task for Arsenal and without many of our first-teamers it will be even harder but that is not to say we cannot get a result.
Debuchy will get the nod at right back and Bellerin’s match squad replacement will be exciting French winger Jeff Reine-Adelaide who I really hope gets an opportunity to play tonight.
Restricted playing time, due to the stratospheric rise of Hector Bellerin, has made Debuchy extremely rusty and a bit of a liability. Campbell’s defensive work should give him some protection so it’s likely the Costa Rican will start again. Alternatively, it is rumoured Alexis may even start on the right with Gibbs playing as a defensive winger ahead of Monreal. I’m not a fan of this idea as I think that would keep Alexis busier than usual and we cannot afford to wear him down before the NLD.
My preference would be to rest our big guns like Özil, Alexis and Coquelin but I do not see that happening. My only wish for this match is to come away with as many fit players as we started it. Anything else is a bonus.
Arsenal from; Cech, Macey, Chambers, Debuchy, Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Monreal, Cazorla, Coquelin, Flamini, Reine-Adelaide, Özil, Ramsey, Campbell, Giroud, Alexis, Iwobi
Cech, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Özil, Alexis, Gibbs, Giroud
I expect to see substitute appearances from Flamini, Reine-Adelaide and Campbell.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for us to show that we’ve moved forward and are up to the test we face tomorrow. We have shown that in the first game.” – Arsène Wenger
Last 3 Meetings
- Arsenal 2-0 Bayern (20.10.2015)
- Bayern 1-1 Arsenal (11.03.2014)
- Arsenal 0-2 Bayern (19.02.2014)
Arsenal Last 5
Bayern Last 5
Pep Guardiola may choose to make changes from the 4-3-3 system he used against Arsenal at the Emirates and revert to the 3-3-1-3 he’s used for most of the season to counter-act the deep defensive block he’ll expect to face again. If he does that could work in Arsenal’s favour as the counter-attacking system deployed by Wenger in that match is unlikely to be used again based on the huge changes in personnel. Walcott is injured and Giroud doesn’t have the pace to play that kind of counter-attacking system so we could see Arsenal pushing perilously high.
Bayern’s biggest threat is down the wings with Douglas Costa and Arjen Robben likely to start. Costa almost had the measure of Bellerin and could cause untold problem’s for Debuchy if he can’t shake off the rust.
The Bavarian’s have lost a solitary game all season and that was against Arsenal. It was the only time they failed to score before drawing 0-0 at the weekend with Eintracht. It’s highly doubtful that will be the case again and Cech is likely to be a very busy boy again.
- No team has ever qualified from the group stages having lost their opening two matches
- This is the 6th time these sides have met in three seasons
- Mesut Özil has scored twice against Bayern Munich – the only team he has scored against more than once in the UCL
- Arsenal have only lost once in their last seven away games to German opposition
- Bayern have won their last seven home games in the UCL
- Arsenal have lost their last two UCL Wednesday fixtures, they’ve never lost three UCL Wednesday games in a row
- Arsenal have scored the highest total of goals in the last fifteen minutes in the UCL this season (3)
- Bayern have scored on average over 5 goals per home game in their last 4 European home matches
1-1. Özil and Lewandowski.
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