Arsenal vs Bayern Munich - Match preview and team news
Wednesday 19 February 2014
For the second season in succession, Arsenal play Bayern Munich at the last 16 stage of the Champions League, but this time the Gunners will be hoping to compete better in the first leg.
Arsene Wenger believes that his side are mentally stronger than they were 12 months ago when Bayern wiped the floor with Arsenal in triumphing 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium. The hosts also proved their European potential by coming through what was arguably the toughest group, a run which included a fine win away to Borussia Dortmund.
In terms of the Premier League, things are a lot healthier than they were when the two teams last met. Rather than facing a battle on their hands to make the top four and thus qualify for this competition, they are very much in the hunt for the title, and lie just a point behind leaders Chelsea. They have also not conceded at home in the league since December.
Their fine defensive record in North London is certain to be put under threat by the European champions, who are in fearsome form under ex-Barcelona boss Josep Guardiola. Still unbeaten in the Bundesliga, which they lead by a massive 13 points after 21 games, they come into this having won 31 of their last 35 games in all competitions.
Arsenal will continue to be without Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott, but Wenger is set to make changes from the side which beat Liverpool in the FA Cup on Sunday.
The visitors are unable to call upon Franck Ribery for this first leg, after the Frenchman underwent surgery. Xheridan Shaqiri is also absent after limping off during the recent 4-0 victory over Freiburg.
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