It’s that time. Tonight (15th of February, 2017), Arsenal will go up against one of its most bitter rivals in the Champions League — the Bavarian titans, Bayern Munich.
All Arsenal fans are on edge, and for good reason. Arsenal are coming into this fixture a few days later after a surprisingly though win against Hull City at the Emirates. Had it not been for a clear handball goal from Alexis Sanchez and a calmly slotted away penalty from the #7 as well, Arsenal fans would have been disappointed once again. Bayern Munich, on the other hand, are coming off a streak of great results, bar a 1-1 draw against Schalke 04 at the Allianz Arena.
But, there is room for optimism in the eyes of Gunners fans. Carlo Ancelotti, Bayern Munich’s head manager, has confirmed that German international defender, Jerome Boateng will not be available for the match against Arsenal, which does hurt the Bavarians, but with the backup of Javi Martinez and Mats Hummels, there is little room for concern. Xabi Alonso has also been confirmed as to be fit to participate in tonight’s game, giving Ancelotti some choices as to who is to start at midfield for the Germans. In a recent press conference, Arsene Wenger has confirmed that veteran goalkeeper, Petr Cech, will be dropped in favor of Champions League regular, David Ospina for tonight’s match. In addition to that, Lucas Perez has also been ruled out for the fixture, forcing Arsene Wenger to perhaps start Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at the wing position, which is a shame due to his superb performances at the middle of the park as of late. Granit Xhaka is also available for selection for the French manager, but Wenger might be reluctant to start the Swiss midfielder due to his consistent disciplinary issues.
All-in-all, there isn’t much to look forward to for Arsenal fans. Fixtures against Bayern Munich have always proved to be a tough time (despite a very solid 2-0 victory for Arsenal, characteristically followed by a 5-1 bashing by Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena), and this fixture looks to be no different. The fact that Jerome Boateng is out will definitely be in favor of the Gunners, but even without the World Cup winner, Bayern Munich still look like the more solid team.