So the big night is upon us, and the future of Arsenal’s Champions League participation is at stake tonight in Munich. I am sure it is going to be a close run thing, and Arsene Wenger thinks our hopes rest on the form of the Assist King Mesut Ozil, who has been in awesome form in this campaign.
“I think he’s developed himself well and has won a lot of self-belief,” Le Prof said. “The World Cup probably helped him too.
“Now he’s being recognised in England. Even in Germany, there was always a bit of doubt. For me he’s a super player, a big player and he has positively developed. He’s very intelligent and has worked really hard.
“I think he’s at the best age now, where you know the job, know what’s expected. I think between 27 and 32 is the best age for a player.
“What we want is for Ozil just to be on the continuity of the performances he’s made until now.”
It would certainly help his reputation in Germany if he is critical to our chances this evening, and we also need Alexis and Cazorla to be on top form, not to mention our defenders!
Arsenal gave 3/4 of the possession to Munich at the Emirates, and Wenger is not expecting too much to change tonight. “We are used to having possession in England,” he said. “On the night, Bayern had more possession than us. After, I decided to accept that, make it difficult for them to score and try to get them on the break.
“I knew that we had two different options going forward. One was with the pace of Walcott and Alexis, and the other was with a more direct game with Giroud.
“On the night, when we went more direct, it worked. Certainly the work of Walcott helped. Sometimes to give the opponent a contrasting problem can be efficient as well.
“I believe it will be a similar battle again. What I mean by that is that at Bayern, they may have the possession so we will have to defend well as a unit. Our opportunities to be dangerous could come on counter-attacks or on direct play or set-pieces.”
Arsenal have been doing these tactics very well this season, so we can only hope they pay off again tonight. Bayern’s main man is Robert Lewandowski, but the Pole has not scored in his last two games and will be dying to change that, but Wenger thinks the whole Bayern team are dangerous. “Bayern always have an extremely convincing team,” Wenger continued. “At the moment they have a lot of self-belief and that’s why it’s always difficult to win in Munich. But I think we can achieve it.
“In terms of the players that played well against us, there was Lewandowski, Alaba, Boateng and Xabi Alonso. But every Bayern player is very good and can make a difference. That’s why we need to be organised as a team and not just focus on one player.
“Douglas Costa, Thomas Muller, all players can make a difference. And that’s why it’s important for us to concentrate on giving an excellent performance.”
And so say all of us Arsene! It doesn’t matter how good the opposition is, we just have to play better… So, on to the team. With Bellerin joining the ranks of short-term injuries, the team yet again picks itself, so I won’t take much credit for getting this one right.
Sanchez Ozil Campbell
Monreal Koscielny Mertesacker Debuchy
I can’t see anyone arguing with that team right now, as it is our strongest available line-up. So I will go straight onto the score prediction. This is probably the one game that will depend on the smallest things to give either side an advantage, but I’m going for a BIG thing to give us the edge, and that thing is Petr Cech.
Another clean sheet and 1-0 to the Gunners!