Arsenal will take on Bayern Munich in the last sixteen of the UEFA Champions League for the second year running. The Gunners narrowly lost the previous tie on the away goals rule, but no one can argue that Bayern were the better team, especially in the first leg, where they produced a dominant 3-1 win. The reigning champions return to the Emirates as clear favourites to qualify for the next round, and Arsenal will have to be at their very best to contain Pep Guardiola’s winning machine.
Arsene Wenger’s team comes after a vibrant FA Cup win over Liverpool, where several key players were rested, while Bayern prepared for the game with yet another convincing win, this time over the relegation strugglers Freiburg. Both teams will have some notable absentees. The Londoners will be without injured Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott, while Mikel Arteta is suspended. The Germans will miss Frank Ribery, Xherdan Shaqiri, Holger Badstuber and Daniel van Buyten, however the return of Bastian Schweinsteiger is a timely boost for the reminder of the season.
Football pundits and tipsters are not giving Arsenal many chances to advance, and who can blame them? Pep Guardiola inherited a winning team and made them even better. With a wealth of talent and options at his disposal the Spaniard is determined to bring more European glory. On the other hand, Arsenal, while enjoying a decent season so far, will enter the crucial period of the campaign with a thin squad and tired legs. Arsene Wenger’s inexplicable reluctance to add few players in January may cost him dearly. Arsenal will step as underdogs into this match, and an eventual defeat won’t let the fans down. The focus should be on the league and FA Cup, where there is a real chance to finally end the trophy draught.
In terms of how the Wednesday game will pan out, I don’t think we’ll see any tactical surprises form Wenger, while Guardiola will certainly have some tricks up his sleeve. The key for Arsenal is to not concede an early goal, and leave spaces for Bayern to exploit. This is easier said than done, but the Gunners must play a tight and precise game, if they want to go into the second leg with a chance to qualify. I’m expecting Bayern to take control of the game and impose themselves.
It would be practically impossible for Arsenal to keep a clean-sheet, however I fancy them to score as well. Going for a straight Bayern win may be a bit risky, but the goals market provides plenty of opportunities. Both teams to score is priced at 1.70 with Bet365, while over 2.5 goals at 1.66 with the same bookmaker. I will personally go with both teams to score and bet 7 units on this outcome.
Arsenal London: Team’s Formation
Bayern Munich: Team’s Formation
End prediction for the match:
Both teams to score at 1.70 with bet365