Two defeats from two matches have left Arsenal’s chances of qualifying for the knock-out stages of this season’s competition hanging by a thread. The Gunners now go into their double-header with German giants Bayern Munich knowing they need a win in Tuesday night’s crunch game at the Emirates Stadium.
EXIT DOOR BECKONS IF ARSENAL FAIL AGAINST BAYERN
A poor performance in Croatia against Dinamo Zagreb on matchday one, followed by a shock home defeat to Olympiacos has left Arsenal on the brink of elimination from Europe’s premier club competition. The one team that coach Arsène Wenger would not want to face at this critical time would be the seemingly unstoppable Bayern Munich; but that’s exactly who is heading to the English capital on Tuesday night as the North London side search for their first win in this season’s competition. The Gunners’ 18th consecutive group stage campaign could in theory, be over before Christmas, unless they can produce one of the stand-out performances of the season. Their league form is good; Saturday’s 3-0 success at Watford leaves Wenger’s side second in the current Premier League standings. The best online sports betting sites are not confident about Arsenal’s chances of progressing from Group F, currently pricing them as third favourites at *3.50. The North London side have the ability to beat any side on their day; unfortunately this Bayern Munich team are not like any other side.
DOMESTIC RECORDS TUMBLE IN BAVARIA
Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola continues to break records; the latest one coming on Saturday as the Bavarian giants clocked up their ninth straight Bundesliga win against Werder Bremen. The coach had the luxury of resting some of his big players ahead of the trip to London and with the domestic title seemingly a foregone conclusion, the Catalonian tactician can fully focus on reclaiming Europe’s top club prize. In their opening two Champions’ League group games, the German side have scored eight goals without reply and of course, have Europe’s most in-form striker leading their line with Robert Lewandowski smashing in 16 goals in his last 12 appearances (The betting exchanges price him at *4.75 to score at least two more at the Emirates).
The first big decision Wenger has to make is whether to bring back summer signing Petr Čech to goalkeeping duties. Spanish shot-stopper David Ospina has been the first choice for cup competitions, but after a forgettable night last time out against Olympiacos, the Frenchman could revert to his number one choice. Having missed his sides 3-0 win at Watford at the weekend, Brazilian defender Gabriel should return to the starting XI on Tuesday and big French striker Olivier Giroud is also available for selection after serving a one match ban.
For the visitors, Dutch play-maker Arjen Robben has not recovered from injury in time for the trip to London along with Frenchman Franck Ribery. World Cup Final goalscorerMario Götze is out for around three months after picking up a groin injury whilst on international duty, with defenders Holger Badstuber and MedhiBenatia also on the treatment table.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’S
Arsenal (4-2-3-1) Čech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Ramsey, Özil, Sánchez; Walcott
Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1) Neuer; Martinez, Alaba, Boateng, Lahm; Xabi Alonso, Thiago; Vidal, Müller, Costa; Lewandowski
HEAD TO HEAD
The Bavarian’s have happy memories of North London; with their previous two visits to the capital both ending in victory. Arsenal have won just one of their last four meetings against Bayern and have a poor recent record against German teams, last season’s 2-0 win against Borussia Dortmund ending a run of four consecutive home defeats.
Arsenal 4.00 Draw 4.00 Bayern Munich 1.90
*odds courtesy of Bet365
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)