When Arsene Wenger took his Arsenal team so Stamford Bridge to face the Premier League leaders Chelsea recently, he was roundly criticised for the way he set the side up. After losing 3-1 to Chelsea a lot of pundits were quick to slam the Frenchman and his tactics, which were too open and allowed the Blues to hit us on the counter way too easily.
That same sort of idea about the way Arsenal play was evident from the Germany international keeper Manuel Neuer this week, as the Daily Mail reported his pre-match comments ahead of the Gunners trip to face Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League knockout tie.
The Bayern stopper said, “Arsenal are a team that want to play.
“They are strong but you will get more free space to play. We are a team that likes to let the ball circulate and take advantage of this space. That is why it will be nice for the supporters to watch.”
He has a point, but if Bayern are expecting to face an open Arsenal tonight I think they are in for a surprise. After all, this home and away double header is a completely different prospect than the trip to Stamford Bridge. Because of the respective league positions a draw was not much use to us so the Gunners had to be gung-ho if there was to be any chance of the EPL title.
Tonight though, Wenger and Arsenal will de delighted to come away with a draw and I expect us to approach the game accordingly. Arsenal do have a strong defence and midfielders who can work hard and get stuck in to bolster the back line. We also have pace up front and are dangerous on the counter ourselves.
Hopefully Neuer and his teammates expect us to attack because they might not be ready for us and Arsenal could put one foot into the quarter-finals.