A lot of Arsenal supporters are already in mourning for their club’s season. They are out of both domestic cups and have slipped seven points behind Tottenham in the race for Champions League qualification. However, they still have the faintest chance of progressing to the Quarter Finals of the UEFA Champions League in this heated match against Bayern Munich.
After Bayern’s comprehensive 3 -1 victory in the first leg, many pundits declared the tie over. One man who won’t agree, though, is Arsene Wenger. Publicly, he will insist a comeback remains unlikely, but there is no risk of him fielding a weakened team or conceding defeat. He will know that if Arsenal can start well, even a side as accomplished as Bayern could become nervous.
Even if the possibility of Arsenal progressing seems remote, this remains an important match for both teams. Arsenal need a positive result to restore some confidence to an ailing side; Bayern will simply be keen to maintain their positive momentum and see the tie out in a professional manner.
Since the First Leg: Bayern Munich
Bayern’s domestic form continues to be relentless. They immediately followed up their victory at the Emirates Stadium by thrashing Werder Bremen, before similarly impressive victories over Hoffenheim and Dusseldorf.
The German title is all but theirs. They are absolutely now emerging as one of the favorites for the Champions League.
Since the First Leg: Arsenal
However, they then lost the North London derby against the Spurs, leaving their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League severely dented.
Key Match-Up: Theo Walcott vs. David Alaba
If Arsenal are to have any chance whatsoever of qualifying for the next round, they need to hurt Bayern early on. The man most likely to do that is Theo Walcott.
Since signing his new contract with Arsenal in January, Walcott’s form has noticeably dipped. This would be a perfect time for him to produce the kind of blistering display he was regularly giving before Christmas.
In the first leg, Walcott was played through the middle. This time I expect him to be in his more familiar role on the wing where he can test the pace of the equally sprightly David Alaba.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 2-1 Arsenal
Written by Pierre Sanz