For all the hype that Arsenal have brought upon them, especially after the 3-0 victory over Manchester United, expectations have to be sky high. The team were absolutely brilliant in that win, but they have been dire in the Champions League this season.
In a group which features Bayern Munich, Arsenal have somehow contrived to lose against the two supposedly weaker teams, Olympiakos and Dinamo Zagreb, thus leaving them sitting at the bottom of the table, or in the fourth position if you want to look at things positively.
The problem though for the Gunners is that they now face two crunch ties against German champions Bayern Munich, first at the Emirates in midweek and then at the Allianz Arena and with Bayern starting the league season by winning every Bundesliga game so far, the task to qualify for the next stage certainly is a tough ask for the team from London.
The man who will have to lead the charge against Bayern would be Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean has been in scintillating form this season and almost all the aces held up Arsenal’s sleeves bank on another inspired performance by the attacker.
While Sanchez would be one of the key men, it is also a requirement for Arsenal to play with Theo Walcott up front, as his pace could provide a lot of problems to the Munich defence. It isn’t just his pace but his movement as well which will help Arsenal more than playing with Olivier Giroud as the only striker.
The attacking quartet is one of the keys for the Gunners, but that isn’t the only thing that Wenger must put into place when facing Guardiola’s men. This crunch tie for Arsenal could decide their Champions League fate and that is something which could have massive ramifications for Arsenal later on.
Play Petr Cech
Arsenal made this mistake once and hopefully they won’t repeat it again. David Ospina was played against Olympiakos and it did cost the team big time. While Ospina hasn’t featured for the Gunners in the league, the rotation policy between the goalkeepers must be chucked out for the moment.
Keeping Petr Cech on the bench last time around didn’t work out and Arsene Wenger should not be taking chances in such an important game. Cech was brought into the team to help them out in these big matches and playing him does provide the Gunners more authority and leadership, especially in defence.
The team should start with aggression
Manchester United didn’t know what hit them for the first twenty minutes against Arsenal and that should be the way the Gunners player when they face Bayern Munich. Arsenal haven’t always played with the same aggression and intensity this season in the Premier League, but when they do there really is no better team in terms of attacking movement and ability than the Gunners in England, well maybe we can make a case for Manchester City as well.
Arsenal have one good chance of making it through to the next round, but they will have to play out of their skin if they are to beat the might of the Bavarian giants. Anything less than three points at home against Munich and Arsenal can kiss goodbye to any chances of them making it to the knockout round, let alone dream about winning the Champions League for the very first time.