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Arsenal vs Bayern Munich Preview

Arsenal vs Bayern Munich Preview

Arsenal

Nothing beats the glamor of a Champions league clash between two top teams. Although we may not be at their level in terms of sheer strength and depth but stranger things have happened in Champions league football. Our biggest enemy is going to be pressure. If we go in with a negative attitude resigned to loose Bayern will run rings around us. Best thing what can happen to us would be if go in to the game without worrying about the result. If we play with free spirit, stay organized and do not concede early who knows  we may end up on the winning side.

As the recent games have demonstrated employing proper wide attacking players with pace has made a world of difference to our play. Ozil looks twice as effective when he has wide attackers making runs in to the box. Arteta is suspended which may turn to be a blessing in disguise as his legs may not exactly have coped with the rigors of a high tempo game after 3 days.

Flamini and Wilshere will be our most likely Central midfielders. Flamini needs to be disciplined but he needs to be careful as referees are less forgiving in Champions league.  Rosicky has been really sloppy with his passing off late and  i don’t think Wenger will be starting him. Podolski showed his effectiveness by scoring against Liverpool and he would be my pick on the left hand side  although Wenger may go with Cazorla as he was rested against Liverpool.

The defence picks itself so does the Goalie. If we keep things at stalemate at half time our chances of nicking a result will multiply imho.  We cannot afford to play a high line especially with the likes of Robben and Gotze up front for Bayern. We need to stay disciplined and try to hit them on the counter. Our Full backs need to be extra vigilant. The likes of Podolski and Chamberlain need to help their respective full backs in our own half as well.

Coming to our Achilles hell- the Striker’s position. Wenger’s gamble to not buy a quality  Striker  in the summer has not paid off. Giroud has clearly run out of steam while Bendtner is not exactly reliable. Saongo although showed good enthusiasm/athleticism/physicality /hold-up play against Liverpool he is still too young, too raw and too inexperienced to start a big game like this. I would be inclined to go with Bendtner but knowing Wenger’s lack of confidence in him it will most likely be Giroud leading the line for us. He will not get many opportunities against a side like Bayern and hence he should be much more attentive/vigilant and clinical with his finishing than he has been in the recent past.

Formation: 4-2-3-1

………………….Giroud/Bendtner……………..

Podolski……………..Ozil…………………….AOC

……………….Flamini…………….Wilshere……….

Gibbs……….Kos………..Merts……………Sagna

…………………………Szczesny………………………

Bayern Munich

Even the best of side are cautious away from especially against other top sides. Bayern may be the best side  in the world at the moment but they definitely do not consider us as pushovers.  They have top quality players in pretty much every position and Ribery will be a miss but they have quality back-up so they will be able to cope comfortably.

The back four and the GK pick themselves while Lahm operates as the midfield sweeper in front of the back four.  Thiago and Kroos will be their double midfield enforcers supported by Robben and Gotze in the wide areas. Mandzukic is probably the only  chink in their armor up front. As i said at the start of my post i would be surprised if they start in all out attack mode from the outset. They also employ a possession game but the major difference from us being that their passing is much more purposeful and quicker plus they have wingers and midfielders making impromptu runs which are hard to pick. They have so much talent at their disposal that invariably they are going to score.  They know we an hurt them with the 2-0 loss at the Allianz arena at the back of their mind.

Formation: 4-1-4-1

——————————Neuer————————-

Rafinha——-Boateng———Dante———-Alaba

—————————–Lahm————————–

——————–Kroos———Thiago—————-

Robben——————————————Götze

————————-Mandzukic———————-

I think this is going to be more of a tactical game than an end to end stuff. If we soak in the pressure, stay organized, hit them on the break and take our chances we may get a result.

A Massive Massive Game—Arsenal vs Liverpool Preview

This is probably the only realistic chance of us ending our trophy drought of eight years. Nobody would have predicted a 5-1 thrashing at Anfield last week after we had won the reverse fixture in November pretty comfortably by 2 goals keeping a clean sheet in the process and controlling the game from start to finish. Football is a game of confidence. Before the 5-1 drubbing almost every gooner had put this one as a game we should be winning comfortably. Before the 5-1 thrashing Liverpool considered Arsenal to be their bogey team. The 5-1 thrashing dented our confidence so much that Wenger played for a draw from the outset at home against an out of sorts, out of form and out of ideas, United team. The players looked extremely nervous and flat on the ball barring the last 15-20 minutes when they decided that there was a football match going on and they were supposed to score a goal to win the game.

This game against Liverpool is arguably the most important fixture remaining  we have in that this fixture will most likely decided whether this season ends differently than how the last ones have ended in the last 8 years. Although it is tough the first thing we need to do is put the result at Anfield in back-burner. Liverpool without any distraction of Europe will be fielding a full strength side. They will be going with their usual 4-3-3 with Sturridge, Suarez and Sterling leading the line for them.  It will be interesting to see the team Wenger picks in light of the mid-week Champions league fixture against Bayern Munich. Unless a miracle happens it is highly likely that Bayern will beat us over two legs and with Chelsea and City looking really strong in the premier league with a relatively easier run-in we should be going all out to win the game against Liverpool tomorrow. I know its easier said than done but at-least we can take solace from the fact that we are playing at home. We should be looking to win this tie at the Emirates itself as any replay will not only  put immense pressure on our already congested fixture list but also it will be a gargantuan task to beat Liverpool in the replay at Anfield.

Wenger should pick the the strongest possible line-up in my honest opinion. With Walcott’s season ending injury and Ramsey not expected back until march we need goal scorers and which is exactly why the likes of Podolski and Chamberlain should get a look in. Giroud looks totally shot with next to no confidence and Bendtner should be the man leading the line. This where the contrast is. Liverpool have two top Strikers, one world class in top form  scoring goals for fun while we are banking on Bendtner who was out of favor with Wenger and was nearly sold in the summer to do the job for us up front. We need pace and goal threat from  wide areas which is exactly what Chamberlain and Podolski provide. Ozil was simply superb against United and should continue to be our hub. Cazorla only woke up after 70 minutes against united while Rosicky had a really poor games killing our attacks with wayward passes and hence him and Cazorla should be on the bench. There is also the rumor that Cazorla may not be available due to illness. Wilshere had a decent outing against United and him and Flamini/Arteta should be our central midfield pairing although i prefer Flamini over Arteta as his energy/fitness/stamina/lung-capacity is going to be a major asset in a game which is likely to be played at a high tempo. The defence picks it self  and Szczesny had an outstanding performance by making a world class save in the second half.

More than the selection i want us to have a clear plan to tackle Liverpool. Going gung ho and conceding early like we did last week is going to be not a wise idea imho. We need to stay organized and with Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling leading the front line for Liverpool we cannot afford to employ a high line. Our Full backs need to stay extremely disciplined and not bomb forward exposing the back-line. The manager and the players need to be up for this cos Liverpool have their tails up. It is weird to see that we are team under pressure and not the favorites to win despite playing at Emirates. We do not have the firepower up front to beat them with an all out attacking game hence i would suggest a clever tactical game where we stay organized and attack them on the counter. Liverpool would not mind a draw as they will back themselves to put us away at Anfield while as i suggested earlier a replay is not a good option for us. The players must be mentally scarred after being booed off the pitch after an insipid/listless/flat display against United. We have the team to beat them but do we possess the zeal/passion/hunger/desire/commitment/ambition to them? Cup games are known for the fact that the form book goes out of the window.

If we loose this game tomorrow the pressure on the manager and team for the rest of the season is going to be nearly unbearable. This game is not just important cos it is probably our only chance of ending our trophy drought but also cos a loss can seriously leave us mentally scarred which can take a toll on our premier league challenge. Wenger needs to motivate the players to play this one like their lives depend on it. Cups games are known to be decided not just by the strength but also as to who wants it more?

Goonersworld