Anything but a big defeat for Arsenal tonight at the Allianz Arena would keep the hopes of a Champions League quarter-final alive, but in reality the Gunners will be hoping to come away from Germany with nothing worse than a draw against the Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
Easier said than done, of course, even though Bayern have lost their midfield general Xabi Alonso to an injury. We have come up against the Germans a fair few times in recent years and despite a couple of good results we have never got the best of them in terms of winning a group or knocking them out. Some punters think they have more chance of winning a casino jackpot than beating the German giants!
Having said that I think that this current version of Bayern is more vulnerable, as long as the Gunners are on the ball of course. But with Arsene Wenger possibly coming to the end of his time as manager, he has extra reason to want to do well this season and you can tell that from his pre-match comments reported in the Daily Mail, especially after he was reminded about our record against our opponents.
Wenger said, ‘Thank you for reminding me of our bad history [in this competition].
‘But let’s focus on the future. Listening to you, it’s clear that we are not favourites. But let’s watch the performance.’
Sounds to me like the boss is fired up for this, and if that is the case then the players should be too. We should also remember that it was Arsenal and not Bayern that won their group this season. A look at their recent results should offer us hope as well because the games they have won have been close and they were held to a draw at home by Schalke the weekend before last.
Can Wenger’s passion inspire Arsenal to the right result in Munich tonight?