Arsenal vs Bayern Munich: Gunners on the brink of last 16 elimination again

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Arsenal in crisis as they prepare for mission impossible

No club has progressed in a Champions League knockout tie after losing the first leg by four or more goals. That’s the seemingly impossible challenge facing a beleaguered Arsenal side short of confidence, form and squad harmony.

All of the buildup has revolved around two men; manager Arsène Wenger and star player Alexis Sánchez. The Chilean attacker, Arsenal’s most prolific goal-scorer and assist-maker this season, was left out of the side that lost to Liverpool on Saturday amid rumours of a series of disagreements between the players. Bayern, meanwhile, sit atop the Bundesliga with a comfortable lead of 7 points over Red Bull Leipzig and should be in a confident mood arriving in London with a 5-1 aggregate lead.

There are increasing calls for Wenger to resign from his post at Arsenal and not even a second leg win against Bayern Munich will make them go away.

Team News

Arsenal

Ruled out: Cazorla, Elneny, Özil

Likely starting XI: Ospina; Bellerín, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Xhaka, Ramsey; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Sánchez; Walcott

Bayern Munich

Doubtful: Boateng, Costa, Sanches

Suspended: Lahm

Likely starting XI: Neuer; Rafinha, Martínez, Hummels, Bernat; Alcântara, Alonso, Kimmich; Robben, Lewandowski, Müller

Key Players

One Arsenal player has dominated newspaper headlines recently. Chilean Alexis Sánchez was controversially omitted from the team that lost against Liverpool in the Premier League in wake of an alleged training ground bust-up. The club’s top scorer should be restored to the side tonight but Wenger is apparently still making the final call. Laurent Koscielny got injured in the second half of the 1st leg in Munich with the score still 1 apiece. After the Frenchman left the pitch, it’s no exaggeration to say that Arsenal fell to pieces and a 5-1 final score reinforces the centre back’s immense importance to the team’s defensive patterns.

Bayern’s central midfield combination dominated the first leg with Thiago Alcântara grabbing two goals and Xabi Alonso dictating the tempo throughout. Either Arturo Vidal or Joshua Kimmich will complete the trio and that luxury of selection highlights the embarrassment of riches at Carlo Ancelotti’s disposal.

Key Match Stats

  • No club has progressed in a Champions League knockout tie after losing the first leg by 4 or more goals.
  • Arsenal’s last 14 goals in the Champions League have all come from inside the box.
  • There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Arsenal’s last 5 Champions League matches.
  • Bayern Munich knocked Arsenal out of the Champions League at this stage in the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 seasons.
  • Bayern Munich have won only 1 of their last 6 away matches in the Champions League.
  • Bayern Munich have won 14, drawn 6 and lost 3 matches in their history against English sides.

Picks

Bayern Munich are almost guaranteed to progress to the quarterfinals at the expense of out-of-form Arsenal. ClickaBet odds of 3.84 on a draw in the 2nd leg could provide some outside value as Arsenal look to save some face at home.

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