Arsenal will be at home at the Emirates Stadium in London, England on Tues. Feb. 19 when the English Premier League team hosts German Bundesliga club Bayern Munich in their first leg of the Champions League round-of-16 tie. This is a crucial tie for Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger as the club hopes to break a seven-year trophy drought. The last time Arsenal managed to hoist a football cup was back in 2005 with a narrow win over Manchester United in the English FA Cup.
WilliamHill.com has the latest odds of an Arsenal win at 5/2 with a Munich victory at 11/10 and a draw at 23/10.
Wenger and his crew don’t really have any chance of winning the Premier League this season and the team has already been knocked out of both the League and FA Cups by lower-division teams. Bradford, which sits in the fourth-tier of professional football in England, sent Arsenal reeling from the League Cup earlier in the season while Championship League club embarrassed them 1-0 at home in the FA Cup on Saturday. This means the only chance the Gunners have of winning anything this year is to take the Champions League by storm.
Of course, this isn’t going to be an easy feat as they have to get past Bayern Munich first. Bayern made it all the way to the final last season only to be beaten at home on penalties to England’s Chelsea. Manager Jupp Heynckes knows that his team has to be careful though since Arsenal could be dangerous since this is their last chance at glory this season. Bayern has been the best team in Germany this season and are running away with the Bundesliga with an enormous 15-point lead over their nearest rivals.
Heynckes said Arsenal may not be as strong as they once were because they have a habit of selling their best players such as Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie. He admitted that Arsenal plays attractive football and the club has a lot of history and tradition, so it’s not going to be easy for his squad even though they’re fifth in the Premier League and have been knocked out of both cup competitions.
Wenger said his team needs to concentrate on their strengths and not worry about Bayern. He said the team has to play their regular style of game to be successful and shouldn’t change their tactics. They’ll have to do it without the services of Spanish international left-back Nacho Monreal though as he’s cup-tied since he has already played in the Champions League tournament earlier in the season with La Liga side Malaga. Wenger brought him to the Emirates during the recent January transfer window. The manager said the players also need to realize that this is a 180-minute game over two legs and they shouldn’t try to rush things.
It’s important that Arsenal gets off to a good start in this tie at home since they’re not a good road team in the Champions League. He wants his team to try and score instead of playing for a 0-0 draw. Arsenal will welcome back defender Carl Jenkinson after sitting out a one-game ban and Wenger is hoping defender Laurent Koscielny will be healthy. Left-back Kieran Gibbs will miss the game due to injury though.
Arsenal v Bayern Munich Predictions
Javi Martinez should be able to play for Bayern, but Claudio Pizarro and Holger Badstuber will likely miss the match and Jerome Boateng will be out with a suspension. The two teams have met four previous times with Arsenal winning just once. If they stick to their game plan though they should at least earn a draw at home.