They don’t come much bigger than this. When we played our German friends last year, I didn’t expect anything other than a swift exit. Our form at the time was pretty abysmal and we ended up getting a bit of a trouncing on our own turf. This year there’s that relentless spark of hope and expectation brewing inside me. Arsenal are a better team this time around and a more cohesive one.
I believe we can get a result.
It certainly isn’t an easy proposition. We face daunting opponents filled to capacity with pace, guile and strength. The diminutive Barcelona side we faced in previous competitions always looked susceptible to an intense pressuring game, Bayern do not. Their midfield is brutally effective. Looking across their potential line-up, even with its notable absentees, finding a weakness or point of attack isn’t particularly easy.
Yet, when I cast my eyes over a potential Arsenal team to start the game, I see the ability to hurt them. We have the vision and creativity of Ozil and Cazorla – two players capable of breaching even the sternest of defences. Mertesacker and Koscielny, horrific Anfield debacle aside, have proven a formidable barrier, especially at The Emirates. Producing a victory tonight won’t be easy, but it is by no means an impossibility.
Bayern’s status as overwhelming favourites takes the pressure off. We are not expected to win, at that comes with an element of freedom for the players. The folks at RedActionAFC have planned something to help boost the atmosphere for the game and the ground should be buzzing. Kudos to them, and it’s moments like these I wish travelling to see The Arsenal wasn’t such a monumental pain in the backside for me. I might be a self-confessed ‘armchair’ fan, but nothing comes close to the buzz of being in a stadium on a big match day. I would gladly trade vital parts of my anatomy to be there.
The only change from Sunday’s victory against Liverpool is the suspension of Mikel Arteta. The Flame will take the holding role and hopefully he’ll have the bit between his teeth. The rest of the side should see the likes of Sagna, Gibbs, Szczesny and Giroud retain their places – hopefully the latter has stopped tweeting about his recent social faux pas. There has been some talk of Sanogo keeping his place, but I genuinely can’t see that happening. Given his enthusiastic display in the FA Cup, the young Frenchman might make for a useful substitute.
There is some hope Thomas Vermaelen will return to the squad also, and given our paucity of options at the back, his influence will bring a needed boost and I can rest easier knowing we have good cover in reserve. Theo Walcott remains out whilst Abou Diaby is currently embroiled in a breakdancing battle with some of the local children of Islington. He’s isn’t expected to feature tonight.
My guess at the team would be:
As you may already be aware, I tend to get a little nervy before games. Oddly enough, it hasn’t started yet and I don’t think it’s going to. The fact Arsenal aren’t expected to win means we can only exceed expectation. Truthfully, I almost at the point of zen-like calm. It should be a great game of football played between two sides with attacking verve. The players are going to be up for it, as will the fans. I’m looking forward to it and I’m unable to think or concentration on anything else.
When you have a look at Champions League betting, Bayern are clear favourites to not only progress in the tie, but eventually win the competition as a whole. Arsenal retain modest odds, but an upset of some description tonight could change that and do wonders for the team’s believe as we edge toward the business end of the season. Now’s the time for Arsenal to start putting in some really good performances and with a little luck, we might see something silver and shiny being held aloft come May.
Up the Arsenal!
That’s all for today, folks. It’s time for breakfast and the monotony of chores. The comments await you below and I hope you’ll take a moment to discuss the team and your prediction for the game. Do you think either Rosicky or Podolski deserve a start tonight? Can we beat Bayern? Let me know what you think. Tomorrow I’ll be back to discuss the game in full.
As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.