Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Gibbs, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Sagna, Flamini, Wilshere, Ozil, Cazorla, Rosicky, Giroud
Arsenal got their revenge on their 5-1 defeat to Liverpool with a tense 2-1 win that knocked the Merseysiders out of the FA Cup last weekend, which comes as a timely boost before they face Champions League holders Bayern Munich. The Gunners’ form has dipped of late, losing their grasp at the top of the Premier League table, but at times are mesmerizing on the ball and solid at the back. Arsene Wenger’s men will need two ‘perfect games’ to knock out the German giants in a two-legged tie. The Gunners’ biggest miss will be Mikel Arteta, who is suspended for this fixture but will be replaced by Jack Wilshere who had a rest during the weekend. It is also expected that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was the man of the match against Liverpool, will lose his place to Thomas Rosicky.
Bayern Munich (4-3-3): Neuer; Alaba, Dante, Martinez, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Tiago, Kroos, Muller, Robben, Mandzukic
Pep Guardiola’s men have just tied the record of 13 consecutive wins in the Bundesliga, and are at the moment considered -on par with Barcelona- the best team in the competition. The Bavarians have also met Arsenal twice in the Champions League before, knocking the Gunners out on both occasions. They will be expected to progress against their English counterparts but will have to be vary of Arsenal’s home form in the Champions League, in which they have only lost three games of their 18 knock-out fixtures at home. They are also without third place Ballon D’or nominee Franck Ribery, but have adequate replacements in the form of Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos. Mandzukic’s physical presence will be vital for the German side away at the Emirates and will be expected to lead the line over Mario Gotze.
Arsenal need to be perfect against Bayern
— niharika naidu (@naiduniharika06) February 18, 2014
Bayern are too solid defensively, too dangerous attancking, and waaaaaay better in possesion than arsenal. Lol — Ras (@iBeenSwank) February 18, 2014
Completely agree with Martinez, he’s spot on. Bayern know they’re facing a much better Arsenal side, who have added Ozil & Flamini — Stuart Jackson (@TheRunner87) February 18, 2014
Arsenal v Bayern tomorrow, honestly think there will be an upset
— Carl Hurmson (@Carl_Hurmson) February 18, 2014
Bayern Munich beat Arsenal at the Emirates last year on their way to becoming European Champions.
Bayern Munich will look to hit Arsenal on the break after disrupting the Gunner’s passing game, and Arjen Robben will be using his pace to get behind the defenders to lay off a pass or cut in and take a shot himself.
Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich: An Alternative Preview
This is the third time that Arsenal and Bayern Munich are meeting in the last 16 of the Champions League. The Bavarian club have progressed both times (2004/05 and 2012/13).
Arsenal have lost their last three home games against German clubs in the Champions League (v Schalke and Bayern Munich last season, v Borussia Dortmund this season).
Bayern Munich have won their last two away games against English teams in the Champions League, both with a 3-1 scoreline (against Arsenal and Manchester City).
Arsenal are the only team, alongside Real Madrid, to have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League in every season since the new format in 2003/04.
Arsenal have lost only three of their 18 Champions League knockout games at home (10 wins, 5 draws): against Chelsea in 2003/04 (quarter-finals), Manchester Utd in 2008/09 (semi-finals) and Bayern Munich in 2012/13 (last 16).
Bayern Munich have reached the final of the Champions League in three of the last four campaigns. They are the defending champions after last season’s win against Borussia Dortmund.
Arsenal are the last team to keep a clean sheet against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, when the Gunners won 2-0 at the Allianz Arena on 13 March 2013.
Bayern Munich have won their last five Champions League games in the knockout stages (13 goals for, 1 against).
The Bavarians have also won their last seven Champions League games played outside the Allianz Arena.
Arsenal have scored eight goals in the Champions League this season, all from open play and inside the box.
Bayern Munich have had the most shots on target in the Champions League this season: 54 (that’s 35 more than Arsenal with 19).
Arsenal’s last four Champions League home goals have been scored by Olivier Giroud (2) and Jack Wilshere (2).
Arjen Robben has scored six goals and delivered four assists in his last seven Champions League games.