Arsenal will be aiming to repeat their recent home success over Bayern Munich and bring themselves right back into contention in Champions League Group F as they head to the Allianz Arena for the return fixture.
Having lost their first two group matches amid a catalogue of errors, that 2-0 win over the German champions has breathed new life into the Gunners’ European campaign, but there is still a considerable amount of work to be done. It is important that they avoid defeat here, as should they lose and Olympiakos get the better of Dinamo Zagreb, Arsene Wenger’s side would be six points off the pace with just two matches remaining.
Despite their lack of possession in the home meeting with Bayern, it was Arsenal who created most of the goalscoring chances and so deserved their victory. After being denied by Manuel Neuer on a couple of occasions, the world’s leading goalkeeper was perhaps slightly at fault for Olivier Giroud’s opening goal, before Mesut Ozil sealed it following a fine counter-attack, and it is clear that Londoners have taken great confidence from that result.
With the exception of the Capital One Cup exit at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday, the visitors could not be in much better form coming into this one, sweeping some strong teams aside in winning four consecutive Premier League games, a run which has them behind leaders Manchester City only on goal difference and with many believing that there is a real possibility of them ending their long wait to win the title.
And it is the men who punished Bayern, Giroud and Ozil, who are starring most prominently at present. Giroud netted yet again away to Swansea City on Saturday as Arsenal ruthlessly stormed to another victory with three second half goals, while Ozil was the chief creator once again and is in the midst of his best run of performances since making the move to North London over two years ago.
This will be an enormous test, and if it is one that can be overcome, then Arsenal should be seen as very much a force to be reckoned with, and the belief will flow through a team which lives for every confidence boost. Francis Coquelin will surely be given his biggest test so far in the holding midfield role, while the back four must work to give nothing away, especially against a side with such a magnificent forward line.
That game at the Emirates Stadium showed that Arsenal are capable of keeping out the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Douglas Costa and all the rest, and Bayern were frustrated again as recently as Friday as they were held to a draw by Eintracht Frankfurt; a stalemate which ended their winning start to the Bundesliga season. Despite that minor setback, that they will win the league title already looks a foregone conclusion.
Arsene Wenger is still without a number of players for this clash, with Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, Tomas Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere all sidelined.