Arsenal are looking to secure a spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first team since 2010 when they take on Bayern Munich on Wednesday evening.
The Champions League competition is starting to hot up and Arsenal will not want to drop out of the last 16 stage for the seventh successive season. Bayern Munich are one of the strongest teams in Europe though so it won’t be an easy task.
Arsenal have lacked form in the Premier League but they will go into the clash on the back of a hard-earned victory against Hull. Bayern are searching for their 11th victory in 12 games – having gone unbeaten since their 3-2 defeat against FC Rostov in the group stage of the Champions League at the end of November.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men lead the Bundesliga table by seven points and have looked commanding all season so will not be expecting to go crashing out of the competition.
The Allianz Arena will likely be in full flow and despite Bayern Munich not possessing the same quality they did a few years ago, there’s still plenty of names on the team sheet that will prove to be more than a match for Arsene Wenger’s men.
It’s a fixture which has popped up several times in the competition and Arsenal have failed to come out on top but the Gunners will be hoping to cause an upset this year.
Granit Xhaka will be in line for a return after he served his suspension following his sending off against Burnley in January.
Nacho Monreal is also likely to come back into the side after he was dropped from the starting XI for Arsenal’s clash against Hull in favour of Kieran Gibbs.
Hector Bellerin proved he has fully recovered from the head injury which he picked up against Chelsea after he completed 90 minutes on Saturday so he’s likely to start at right-back.
Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey remain sidelined but Wenger has plenty of attacking options available now Danny Welbeck and Lucas Perez are available for selection.
Arsenal will be boosted by the absence of key defender Jerome Boateng who remains sidelined with a shoulder injury for Bayern Munich.
Franck Ribery faces a race for fitness ahead of the clash but he could make a return from a hamstring injury which has kept him out of action since the 2-1 victory over Werder Bremen in January.
Captain Philipp Lahm will almost definitely start following the announcement of his retirement from football at the end of the campaign.
- It is the fourth time in five seasons Arsenal have been drawn against Bayern Munich in the Champions League
- In the most recent clash, Bayern thrashed Arsenal 5-1 at the Allianz Arena in November 2015
- Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud were both on the score-sheet as Arsenal defeated Bayern on home soil last season
- Arsenal have won just three of their 10 European battles while Bayern have taken away five victories.
Alexis Sanchez: The tricky Chilean has been Arsenal’s key player all season but his pace will be crucial if the Gunners hope to open up Bayern’s defence. It’s likely Arsenal will be chasing possession for large parts of the game and they may be pinned in their own half in order to mute Bayern’s talented attacking line-up. Sanchez could prove to be a vital outlet on the counter-attack and Arsenal will need him in top form if they hope to come away with something from the game.
Robert Lewandowski: Bayern have some huge names in their side and they pose plenty of threat going forward. Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller will all be a menace but Lewandoski could cause Arsenal more problems than most. His height will put Laurent Koscielny under pressure on set-pieces and he will likely test Petr Cech with his accurate and decisive shooting. He’s already scored 30 goals this season, including seven in each of his four World Cup qualification matches for Poland. Deadly…
There will be plenty of talent on show but the majority will be lining up for Bayern and Wenger’s side could be exploited heavily in defence. The German outfit have one of the deadliest attacking line-ups in Europe and it’s unlikely Arsenal will be able to keep them out. The Gunners have plenty of attacking threat of their own though so they may be able to cause a few problems but the experienced Mats Hummels will still be a brick wall at the heart of Bayern’s defence and he could prove to be too difficult to crack.
Arsenal 1-3 Bayern Munich