This match is exactly what the football doctor ordered.
After our poor performance at Anfield in the weekend, falling out of the Champions League places and our star player reportedly rowing with the rest of the squad, the visit of German giants Bayern Munich is not the best opportunity for returning to some semblance of form.
The first leg of this Last16 tie saw hope quickly vanish for the Gunners once Laurent Koscielny went off through injury, as within nine minutes of the captain leaving the field, Bayern had scored three goals.
This tie is beyond any realistic hope of rescue, but a win over Ancelotti’s men could restore some pride and some momentum after recent results have ground the cannon to a halt.
Arsenal will more than likely play their strongest side, even if this game could be perceived as a dead rubber. Mesut Ozil has been ruled out again through illness, but what of Alexis Sanchez? Surely, even if the Chilean is at odds with some teammates, Sanchez must play?
Francis Coquelin and Granit Xhaka did not put up a good account of themselves against Liverpool, and with Aaron Ramsey now fit and raring to go, the Welshman must be a good shout for a start. With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also playing well, could we see a wholly different midfield combo?
Alex Iwobi has been indifferent of late, but with regular playmaker Ozil already confirmed as missing, the man known as ‘Big17’ will more than likely retain his place. Olivier Giroud returned to the side in our last match, but a lack of service did not help the Frenchman in his bid to hold down a spot. Will Arsene again opt for a direct approach?
Danny Welbeck and Lucas Perez have performed admirably in their last appearances, and the England striker and Spaniard must be hoping for a chance. They cannot do much more, although with Welbeck having played only three days ago, Wenger may opt to conserve his fitness.
On the face of things, with our squad so strong in numbers, the odds of rotation and to include hungry players is strong. Perhaps a shake up to remind some players their place isn’t guaranteed is exactly what is needed.
There are no signs Carlo Ancelotti is taking this tie lightly despite already having one foot in the Quarter-Finals. Mats Hummels, Franck Ribery, Xabi Alonso and Arjen Robben were all rested in the weekend and all are expected to feature.
Arsenal do possess a great record at The Emirates in the Champions League, but the majority of the losses they have incurred have been in the knockout stages. There is a sliver of hope though, as Bayern have won one of their last six away games in the Champions League.
Slim our hopes may be, but we have beaten them before, and we can do again. We will not progress, that chance was dropped in the first leg, but we can win and remind everyone – including our own players – that we are capable of so much more.
A protest is planned before the game and banners will apparently be displayed during the game. Whether we agree or not with the methods, we have all witnessed a lot of games where we have been sub-par. We are all at our limit, and some display their displeasure in different ways. As long as the team is supported during the game then that is all that matters.
I will be attending the game and you can expect a detailed match report after the match, and I can expect a hoarse voice the next day as I will do what I always do when I go to the game – I will sing and chant until my throat cannot take any more.
Predicted Lineup; Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Ramsey, Theo, Iwobi, Alexis, Giroud.
Predicted Scoreline – Call me crazy, but I’m going for a 2-0 win.
No harm in dreaming I suppose, but using the term ‘strongest side’ along with some of those names you mention doesn’t really gel.
At the start of the season many people, myself included, assessed the squad and thought “we could be in with a shout this time”. Unfortunately the whole thing crumbled when Santi Carzola was crocked and many of those squad members were found lacking, very lacking in some instances.
I’ve written and voiced my opinion about certain players over the past few seasons, so to see one of them named as a possible saviour is disappointing. Maybe by tomorrow morning (WA time) I may have to eat humble pie but I don’t think so.
I admire your positive spin which you will undoubtedly carry with you to the game, I wish you and the team all the best and sincerely hope we all have something to cheer at the final whistle, but as I said at the beginning – No harm in dreaming,
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So much negativity around, I’m opting for the opposite. It may be foolish, but what the hell!
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You have my support
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What time is Arsene Wenger leaving? 10-2 hopefully.