Tonight Arsenal faces the formidable task of taking on Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich at the Emirates, for what is a must win match for the Gunners if they hope to make it out of the group stage of this seasons Champions League competition.
So far the German juggernaut has crushed all in its path scoring 37 goals in all competitions while only having conceded four goals against world class goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. And with an impressive striker force available to trainer Pep Guardiola that includes Robert Lewandowski it will take a very special performance from the Gunners to pull off a victory.
As Arsenal showed in their 3-0 demolition of Manchester United, they are capable of playing the quality of football needed to compete at the highest level, and it could very well take a bit of magic from the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil if they can pull a rabbit out of the hat tonight and come away with a win.
The main focus for the Gunners tonight must be to keep possession of the ball and not allow the Germans to attack with Lewandowski almost certain to target Per Mertesacker knowing that his speed can get the better on the lanky German defender.
The only real injury worry for Arsene Wenger is Gabriel, after the Brazilian missed last weekend’s win over Watford, but he should be available to compete with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny for a place in tonight’s line-up.
The Gunners are still without long-term injured Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Danny Welbeck, but striker Olivier Giroud is available for selection after having completed his one-match ban for the red card he received against Dianmo Zagreb in Croatia.
This is normally a position that does not require a lot of guess work, however in Arsenal’s case tonight Wenger has the choice of sticking to his promise of letting No.2 keeper David Ospina play in all cup games or bring in Petr Cech knowing that the former Chelsea man will intimidate the Germans following his match winning performance winning the Champions League with Chelsea at the Allianz Arsene back in 2012. As we see it Wenger only has one choice to make following Ospina’s blunder against Olympiacos, and that is to bring Cech back in the team even if it may mean the Colombian international looking for a new club to join next season.
Despite Gabriel being available Wenger will stick with the true and tested Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny at centre-half while Spaniard Hector Bellerin and compatriot Nacho Monreal remain out wide.
In front of the back four will of course be Francis Coquelin who every match has Arsenal fans fearing for his well-being knowing that the team would be in dire trouble should they lose him to injury, which is surely a situation Wenger must remedy come January.
Santi Cazorla will be called upon to run the midfield with Aaron Ramsey as both player look to get the ball to Mesut Ozil in the hope that one of his precision passes will find Alexis Sanchez or Theo Walcott.
It has to be Walcott starting up front for the Gunners, with Giroud available should the team finding itself needing a goal in the second-half while knowing that a draw is just not good enough if they are to have any chance of advancing to the latter stages of the competition.