There is no doubt whatsoever that Arsenal’s chances in the home leg against Bayern Munich were destroyed by the referee. Whether he was right or wrong to send off Wojciech Szczesny, when Robben seemed to have tipped the ball quite far away from goal, is not the dicussion here. The fact is that it ruined the rest of the game for the neutrals and completely turned the tide against the Gunners.
Everyone is entitle to their opinion, of course and on close calls you normally have at least two of the three pundits disagreeing. Except when it comes to Arsenal it seems. We all know about how biased Michael Owen is, especially towards Liverpool and against Arsenal, but it seems the contagion is spreading to Sky Sports.
Arsene Wenger has been portrayed as a whinger because he suggested that Robben made a lot of the contact (which he did) and for suggesting that the Szczesny red card was harsh. If you had gone by the three Sky pundits, Jamie Redknapp, Michael Ballack and Jamie Carragher you would think the Arsenal boss had lost his marbles, because all three said it was a nailed on penalty.
Juan Cuadrado has been linked with a possible move to Arsenal increasingly frequently this season, and the talented and versatile Colombian international has begun to attract interest from a number of top clubs with his excellent performances this season.
In fact, it is now being reported on Talksport, that sources from Serie A have some bad news for the Gunners. One of the very biggest clubs in Europe, and the current Champions League holders, Bayern Munich, have apparently edged ahead of Arsenal in the race to sign the 25-year old.
Arsenal have a mountain to climb in the Allianz Arena tonight, but reports earlier suggesting that Arsene Wenger was going to rest Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla have proved to be wrong. Whether Wenger changed his mind after hearing the negative comments or was playing mind games is not important, what is important is that the team gives everything tonight.
Not many Arsenal fans are really expecting to overturn the 3-1 deficit from the first leg at the Emirates, but we need to see a fully committed performance. The Arsenal captain is not in the starting line up, so Koscielny will partner Mertesacker in central defence, and Gibbs will start.
Bayern Munich vs Arsenal preview, match line up and score line prediction. by KJ
The sad truth is that this tie is all but lost. Our inability to defend in the first leg has created a monumental task for our players in Germany. We have to go to the Allianz and beat arguably the best side in Europe 3 – 0 at least to qualify for the next round. That’s an extremely difficult task for the likes of Barcelona and Madrid, let alone Arsenal.
Arsenal will need every advantage they can get to produce a famous victory in Munich and progress to the Champions League quarter-finals at the expense of Bayern. There is some good news for the Gunners today, though, as it appears that Franck Ribery will definitely miss Wednesday’s clash at the Allianz Arena while Arjen Robben is a real doubt.
Bayern will already have to do without their midfield general Bastian Schweinsteiger and defender Jerome Boateng because they are suspended. Bayern still have plenty of good players available, but they will definitely be weakened by the absence of these players.
I am sure that Many Arsenal fans, and the coaching staff as well, watched the German cup match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich last night, hoping for some sign of weakness or some tips on how best to go about overturning the 3-1 home defeat when we travel to the Allianz Arena on March 13th to try to salvage our Champions League dreams.
There was precious little reason for optimism, however, as the runaway leaders of the Bundesliga never looked in danger from the team in second place. Dortmund had beat them to the German title and demolished them in last year’s cup final, but they hardly got a sniff last night. The only real positive was that Bayern’s performance dropped off in the second half and they only scored one goal.
The main surprise in the Arsenal line up to face Bayern Munich is the omission of Olivier Giroud and the inclusion of Aaron Ramsey from the starting 11. If Arsene Wenger intends to play his usual 4-3-3 formation then the front three will be Cazorla and Podolski on either side of Theo Walcott.
Koscielny is fit and will partner Mertesacker at the back with Vermaelem filling in on the left. Ramsey will play alongside Arteta as the holding midfielders, giving the Gunners a more solid look. What it will do is free Jack Wilshere to get forward more. The England international has the talent to really trouble Munich, so we need a great game from him tonight.
Nobody can accuse the Arsenal number one Wojciech Szczesny of having a problem with his self confidence, and the 22-year old stopper has declared that he has no fear of tonight’s German opposition Bayern Munich. The Polish international is well aware of their record this season, but he has faith in himself and his Arsenal team mates, and he seems to be expecting to surprise a few people tonight.
Arsene Wenger is well aware that Arsenal have a tough task on their hands in the Champions league. Bayern Munich were last year’s finalists and probably should have won the trophy, but Chelsea held on with some last ditch defending and won the penalty shoot out. Bayern are storming along in the German Bundesliga, so it is no real surprise that they are favourites to progress to the next round at the expense of the Gunners.
The only member of the Arsenal team who has started more Premier league games this season than the captain Thomas Vermaelen is Santi Cazorla, The Belgian defender also started all six of the group games in the Champions league, outlining his experience and importance to Arsene Wenger. It could be a disaster for the Gunners if he misses the next European game, in a week’s time against the runaway leaders of the German Bundesliga, Bayern Munich.
Who will play Left Back against Bayern? by KJ
The game against Bayern Munich draws inexorably closer and there’s a growing worry that we’ll be extremely short in the left back position against one of the best teams in Europe. There are really only two options for the left back position against Munich – Sagna and Vermaelen. Fortunately, Santos won’t be an option after securing a loan move to Gremio today.