In an ideal world this game would have been a battle deciding which team would finish at the top of the table. But Arsenal’s world is not ideal, far from it. After having lost their opening two games to inferior opposition, the Gunners find themselves with the near impossible task of defeating a Bayern team that has won their opening 9 games in the Bundesliga and are on a roll. A draw wouldn’t be a bad result but it would force the Gunners to rely on results elsewhere.
Arsene Wenger has revealed that his team will be taking the game to the opposition and stressed the importance of the opening goal in these games. Pep Guardiola in his pre-match presser said that the Gunners will be fighting for their lives and has called upon his team to subdue the atmosphere and the electric start that the home side are expected to make.
Arsenal are on the verge of not qualifying from the group stage for the first time this millennium. Lose to Bayern, and we kiss any slender hopes goodbye although we could still mathematically progress. The big news is Petr Cech will make his Champions League debut for Arsenal today. He wasn’t selected for the Olympiakos game and we all know what happened. Damn you Ospina.
Gabriel is available after missing the Watford game and there are no fresh injuries. Although Bayern are the favorites, I believe we can get a result. If Arsenal make a fast start and finish ruthlessly as they did against United, who knows we may even nick it. On the break with the pace we have, the first goal would go a long way towards deciding the result.
The Bavarians have won in their last two visits to the Emirates and will be approaching the game with confidence. The German side coasted in their opening game against Olympiakos as well as in the game against Dinamo; and if they win today it will all but confirm their progress to the next round.
Bayern have a few injuries to contend with, however. Arjen Robben Ribery, Gotze, Benatia and Badstuber are out for sure. Bayern have scored 37 goals in 11 games and it will require Herculean levels of effort from Arsenal to keep a clean sheet tonight. And there is the small matter of keeping Robert Lewandowski at bay.
Arsenal are in real danger of getting eliminated but as long as it’s done and decided there will be hope. Football never ceases to amaze.