Arsenal v Bayern Munich – Preview

Arsenal v Bayern
Bayern Munich are the team in form going into this one, but with Arsenal you just never know. It is a clash between two of the biggest clubs in Europe, with some of the biggest and best history in football. Don’t underestimate this match. Only the Man United v Real Madrid tie has outshone this one, leaving it with less attention than it deserves.

Arsenal go into the game on the back of an early FA Cup exit, being defeated by Blackburn. Bayern Munich on the other hand come in to the game after strolling to a 2-0 win against Wolfsburg.

Bayern Munich are having a sensational season domestically, leading the current Bundesliga Champions, Dortmund by 15 points, after just 22 games. They have scored 57 and conceded just 7 in the league all season.

Neuer is proving himself as one of the best goalkeeper’s in the world right now, if not the best, and is yet to concede in 2013. We may as well give this bragging right to Bayern for now, by 10pm Tuesday they won’t be able to use it any more.

On a positive note for us, Neuer is nursing a hand injury and is set to wear a four-finger glove in order to keep two fingers strapped together. It sounds like it could be beneficial to us, but I really don’t know if it’ll make a difference.

Martinez is a doubt, but could be involved with a late test. He’s a key player for Bayern and his role will be to break down our attacks, something he does well. Hopefully he won’t play or start at least.

The attacking threats they carry are pretty decent too. One of the best around with the likes of Gomez, whose prolific scoring record is second to only the likes of Messi and Ronaldo, not to forget the width they possess with Ribery, Robben and Muller. Which 2 of these 3 will start, I don’t know. If we’re unlucky, all 3 will. But I don’t think Bayern will play a risk like that, they’re more likely to keep it tight.

They have come on leaps and bounds this year defensively. It was the question mark that was over them in previous years, but they have certainly improved conceding just 7 goals in the league, and very few in all competitions too. Like I said, 0 this calendar year, largely down to Neuer too.

Defensive improvements is something Arsenal need to do, but by Tuesday evening? A bit too close I feel. A makeshift back-four looks set to play, which makes us Arsenal fans pretty anxious. More than normal. With Gibbs out, Monreal cup-tied, Santos out on loan (thankfully), we have no left-back.

It would have been okay, Koscielny would play centre-back with Mertesacker and we’d put Vermaelen out at left-back. This is what Wenger had planned when he bought Monreal, in full knowledge of his ineligibility. However, Wenger revealed on Monday in Press Conference  that Koscielny was now a doubt. This is VERY worrying. The only alternative I can think of is to play Sagna left-back, and then Jenkinson or Coquelin right-back. UNLESS, Wenger thinks Sagna can hold is own at centre-back like he did against Sunderland, meaning Vermaelen can play left-back and then Jenkinson or Coquelin at right-back with Sagna more available to help and support. That second one seems very unlikely, granted.

Lets pray that Koscielny will be fit, and life will be easier.

Wilshere and Cazorla are the two players you put on your starting 11 first at the moment. They will obviously play, without any unforeseen injury between now and then. Who will Wenger play in there with them? Probably Arteta, but after his performance on Saturday I don’t know. It was less than satisfactory. He is however the vice-captain, so I’d put my money on him starting rather than Ramsey, or Diaby, can never be definite with Wenger though.

Upfront, Giroud doesn’t deserve to play in my books after too many poor performances where he doesn’t contribute anything. I’d rather see Walcott through the middle, Podolski and someone else out wide. Not Gervinho. Chamberlain? He’s been poor too. Maybe Cazorla and then Ramsey in the middle? Selection dilemmas! Who doesn’t deserve to play more than someone else? It’s a hard one. But Wenger will play Giroud. I just don’t think he deserves it but then and again who do we have that’s better? Relying heavily on Theo and Lukas tomorrow!

Not to forget, Santi and Super Jack.

So all in all, it’s going to be a close fought game, and it really depends what Arsenal turns up. If we play to our best, which being tagged as underdogs may reduce the pressure and allow us to, we could end the night a few goals up. If we play poorly, and don’t take our chances, we could be a few goals down.

As Wenger said in his Press Conference, “It is vital [to keep a clean sheet].” Admitting that even a 0-0 wouldn’t be disastrous as it means a score-draw away would see Arsenal go through.

Both teams possess a great attacking threat so I think it’ll be end to end football, but both teams defence can be susceptible to mistakes, unfortunately Arsenal’s is the worse of the two and we’ll have a make-shift back-four, but hopefully the fans will sing and get behind the team and act as the 12th man and help us to keep that clean sheet.

I know I’ll be there, singing my bloody heart out, so if you’re going, you better do the same. Get behind the team. These are the nights that the players and the fans dream of. Lets make the best of it. COME ON YOU GOONERS.

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