How Arsenal should beat Bayern: tactics & ideal line-up


For those of you who don’t know this yet: Bayern Munich have spent every single day of the season at the top of the Bundesliga table. They currently have a record of 17 wins, 3 draws and 1 defeat; with 55 goals for and 7 against. They kept 19 clean sheets in 30 games in all competitions, and only once did they have less possession than their opponent (1-0 victory at Lille).

This season is certainly Bayern’s best in a very long time and it could become the best Bundesliga campaign ever.

So why are Bayern that good?

Key to their game is the last statistic I mentioned – possession. The man who runs the show in the middle of the park is Bastian Schweisteiger. In my opinion he  has established himself as Bayern’s most important player over the last couple of years. Despite earning a lot of criticism after missing the penalty against Chelsea, and playing a very bad Euro 2012, he got back to full fitness and form in this season. He is an exceptional passer of the ball and directs the play  to the wide areas most of the time. He also has a very good shot, and is never shy of joining the attack and appearing in the opponent’s box himself. He is simply perfect at running the show.

He also enjoys a good partnership with Toni Kroos, who plays directly in front of him. The young German has a very free role. He is a very good striker of the ball and will look for cut-backs or little one-twos and through balls, to set up chances for himself and the players around him. Both Schweinsteiger and Kroos move around a lot and they seem to be everywhere.

The most important aspect of Bayern’s style going forward is their wing-play. With Robben, Ribery, Müller and Shaqiri they have 4 wingers who have everything a winger needs: pace, trickery (Müller a little less), good crossing, good shooting from distance, and they all like to get into the box to score themselves.

Another key to their wing-play are their full-backs: David Alaba and Philipp Lahm. These two go on the attack whenever Bayern go forward and try to link-up with the winger ahead of them. They either create the space the winger needs or get a good cross, pass or shot away.

The man lurking for all those crosses and through-balls is their centre-forward. Mario Gomez played this role in the last two season scoring 80 goals in 97 games. This season Gomez’ faced a long injury break, and Bayern reacted before the season by bringing in Mario Mandzukic, who scored 16 in 24 games this season. Both of them score most of their goals from inside the box which is the final part of Bayern’s wing-play. These are two of the most prolific goal scorers from inside the box, and seem to be able to score out of every position with every part of their body.

All this going forward is only possible with a decent protection at the back. At this time last season Bayern had already conceded 14 goals and lost 5 games in the Bundesliga. The biggest change regarding this aspect has been the arrival of Javi Martinez. The Spaniard sits in front of the two CB’s and provides all the cover that Schweinsteiger and the full-backs need in order to go forward. On top of that he is very good on the ball himself and also has the ability to create chances with good build-up play from the middle of the park.

How to beat them

I think there are two teams we can learn a lesson from: Borussia Dortmund, who have beaten Bayern five times in a row before their draw in this Bundesliga season; and Chelsea, who of course won the Champions League Final against the German giants. Key to the successes over Bayern for both of them was their disciplined defending.

Their wingers had to work back more than they worked forward. They always doubled-up with their fullbacks to keep Bayern’s normally so effective wing-play to a minimum. This also left the opportunity to run counter attacks and this is exactly how we can hurt Bayern as well.

Our ideal line-up for the Bayern match:


I think that Arsenal should start against Bayern with  a 4-2-3-1 formation because I cannot see us winning with only one holding midfielder. So I would slot Wilshere in next to Arteta, to stop Kroos and Schweinsteiger from operating through the middle, but also to double-up on the wings. In addition, Wilshere will be able to apply a lot of pressure on Schweinsteiger as soon as he gets the ball. Especially at the Euros, he made a lot of mistakes when he wasn’t given any time on the ball and that might be a factor we could capitalize on. Wilshere will be able to win a lot of balls in this position and play or run the ball forward.

The most likely way for us to win this match is on the break, which is why Theo should play up front. His pace and goal scoring form will be exactly what we need. I want to see Ox on the right because of his commitment towards defense. He will track back against David Alaba a lot more than Theo would and with his pace he will be a great support to Theo on the break. Podolski has shown time and time again for Germany how reliable he is on the left wing, when it comes to defending duties. He should also play, because he knows really well how most of his opponents play.

Podolski and Santi are not the quickest players, but should be great support on the break. Santi should also play attacking midfielder to direct the play, when we manage to get stuck in Bayern’s half. He seems to always find the right pass to put Theo, or Ox, or Pod into scoring position, and is very deadly himself, of course.

I would love to keep Mertesacker out of the starting line-up because of the pace of Ribery, Müller, Robben and Shaqiri (last two could feature as subs), but now that the Verminator has to play left-back there is no other option than to play him. With Mandzukic, Martinez, Dante and Boateng Bayern have 4 real targets for set pieces, but I think with Mertesacker, Vermaelen and Koscielny we have good cover.
Yes I haven’t mentioned our in-form striker Olivier Giroud yet. I think he is at his best in games where we control the game and can put a lot of balls into the box, but I just can’t see that happen.

Santi Cazorla celebrates after scoring against Reading

I believe that Bayern will control the game and our main priority – even at home – should be counter attacking. Just like we did against Barcelona two season ago.

With the above formation and tactics we could beat Bayern, but I am really interested in hearing your views on whether, and how, we can beat them on Tuesday as well.

Come on You Gunners!

Finally, I want to thank the host of this blog for giving me the chance to express my opinion on our Champions League tie with Bayern Munich.

Written by: Nik (A Gooner based in Germany).

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

93 Responses to How Arsenal should beat Bayern: tactics & ideal line-up

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Nik 🙂

    Fantastic maiden post. I love these sort of tactical posts, and you have given us a very clear insight of what to expect from Bayern on Tuesday.

    I like your thinking and line-up. Having seen Ox on Saturday, I reckon this game is a bit too big for him, but he could well start on Tuesday.

    I reckon Arsene will be tempted to play 4-4-2 against Bayern, with Ramsey added to the midfield to offer extra protection for Sagna and more solidity in the middle. I also reckon Arsene will play Giroud and Theo up-front in the ‘2’; possibly with Giroud playing slightly behind Theo a lot to help out in midfield.

    However, I would be very happy to go with your line-up, as it could work out well for us! 🙂

  2. James says:

    We won’t beat them because Wenger will send his team out to play exactly the same way as they did against Blackburn, Bradford or Man Utd. The word “tactics” does not apply to Wenger. Podolski does not track back, he is lazy and I don’t think Wenger even wants him to track back anyway, he would consider that an anathema.

    Arsenal will be sliced apart through the channels, and the centre back pairing will panic. There is no defensive midfielder in the squad, so runners from the box will not be picked up. Szczesny is an all round liability at present, can see him making some bad mistakes.

    Arsenal’s only chance is if Bayern simply don’t turn up, which is possible I suppose, but even then they will score an away goal and probably give us a hiding at their place.

  3. William says:

    The speed of attack is crucial to any team. Arsenal’s build up from defence is laborious and gives defenders time to get back in numbers to stifle the threat from the strikers.Until Wenger finds a way to speed up the attack they will be like in the Blackburn game. Of course for all you knowthe gunners could beat BM in the first leg and get eliminated.
    I have no confidence in the defence and the gk is a big worry. How many times have we seen the Polich gk palm the shot to another striker lurking to score off the rebound?Don’t be surprised it happens in the BM game.

  4. Pelumi says:

    I think arsene will play 4-5-1 and put wilshere ,santi ,rosicky,arteta and podilski and then giroud up front

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi James. thanks for cheering us all up with that sunny perspective.

    Podolski DOES track back a lot – I am sorry but you are wrong there.

    Agreed, I would like a classic defensive midfielder in our squad, but if we play both Jack and Arteta in the ‘2’ we will have enough defensive cover: both are fine, multi-skilled players.

    You are very harsh on Szczesny as well; have you already forgotten the Sunderland game? 🙂

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    William, agreed to some extent. Our defence is a worry, and I am hoping that Szczesny, Sagna, BFG, Koz and Vermaelen will have a really focused and professional performance on Tuesday. They might surprise us.

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Pelumi, 4-5-1 is a possibility, but I reckon Nik is right in thinking we will need Theo’s speed badly on the night…

  8. Highbury Harmony says:


    Excellent first post on BK! Your tactical suggestions on how to break down Bayern are spot on, as eliminating their wing play is the key to success. Vermaelen will certainly need the most help on the left, as he’ll have to defend Alaba and Muller so Podolski is definitely the right choice to start at LW. Bayern (and Bundesliga teams in general) love to attack so the game will be wide open, which definitely suits our style of play. I agree that Theo is a must start with his pace and ability to play off the shoulder of the last defender.

    We must attack as a team on Tuesday, not the compartmental crap we’ve seen the last few games. It can’t just be the front 4 attacking with everyone else sitting back; we’ve got to move forward and backwards like a cohesive unit.

    How can Giroud be considered in form though? He hasn’t scored in 3 matches…

    TA, I cannot see AW deviating from the 4-2-3-1. He’s just way too stubborn and it takes years for him to shift formations. He believes that his tactics will eventually prevail and in typical fashion, “beats a dead horse with a stick” with letting the players be “expressive”. When he gets it right, he looks like a genius, but far too often it’s ineffective and everyone is too stationary watching the play build up, opposed to moving into space for creative line-up play.

  9. James says:

    Hey TotalArsenal, unfortunately, Sunderland are not Bayern Munich.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi HH,

    We played effectively 4-4-2 before this season, notably against Man City away when Ramsey played on the ‘right wing’ during the first part of the game.

    I reckon our fomation could be:

    Sz, Sagna, Mert, Koz, TV
    Ramsey, Wilshere, Arteta, Caz

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    James, that is an undeniable fact haha 😛

  12. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, no Podolski? I reckon we’ll be screwed if we need to rely on Cazorla to help defend the left with Vermaelen…we’ll have 0 pace out wide!

  13. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, can we afford to be so narrow against a team like Bayern? Their wing play is their strength and we need to be on them like a fat boy on ice cream to take away their precious space. Even Ramsey’s not fast enough to cover Ribeiry and Lahm and will likely get destroyed out wide. However, he is committed to defending and has a good work rate, so he’ll at least put in a full effort and help Sagna out as best he can.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Ok good point re the Pod – he must play indeed.

    Ramsey – Wilshere – Arteta – Pod

    Or Maybe he will leave Artetatatatatata out…

    Cazorla – Ramsey – Wilshere – Pod

  15. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, I just reckon if Pod didn’t start against Blackburn, surely he’d be starting against Bayern. I think AW gave Giroud the start Saturday hoping that he would snag a goal and build some confidence going into Tuesday. At this point in time, I can see Giroud being used as a super sub if this set-up fails to produce:


    That’s how I see it anyway, with the alternative being Jack moving into Santi’s position and Santi being pushed wide right and Ramsey moving into a DM role. I guess there are a lot of options and AW will ensure that our wings are adequately covered

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed in principle HH. I just reckon, Arsene would like to add Giroud’s additional height to the team to deal with set-pieces, especially without Diaby playing…

  17. henrychan says:

    Morning all..
    Hi Nik.. A very nice post.. Good job bro..

    @James and William.. COYG.. Muenchen is not blackburn.. They will not play a defensive game.. Very different type.. but unfortunately even stronger.. hehe.. The question is.. are We good enough to break them..

    I agree to Nik that We need speed.. but not to Walcott as a CF.. his speed is expected to overcome the Muenchen wall.. and cross a good ball to Giroud.. We need both Wingers that can cross well.. and Ox must learn more to be at Walcott stage of crossing..

    Podolski.. I have a doubt in his speed.. but he is a strong and total player.. I recommend to play him in second round to subs Gervinho.. cause We need Gervinho speed also.. Hope he can expand his crossing skill.. and learn from Podolski.. hehe.. Just wishing We have a good LW that have both combination of skill.. hehe.. But maybe the opposite way can also do.. Gervinho to subs Podolski.. with his speed in secondhalf.. will be an advantage..

    Let’s wish all the best to our players.. Wish them find their way of ‘winning spirit’ and make us proud..

    Go Gunners..

  18. afc says:

    I am not sure if the Ox will be able to perform in such a big game. We could try playing playing Cazorla on the wing with Rosicky playing CAM, he is more experienced than the Ox and played well against Blackburn. I would like to see Walcott playing up front, but would not like to see Ramsey playing on the wings, would have him as a sub for Arteta or Wilshere. That would be pointless and would be no better than playing the Ox there. Or even Gervinho he is unpredictable but can produce something on his day (not sure I would risk him unless I reallly had to) same with Giroud. Wenger might try to play Jenkinson with Sagna at CB or LB with Vermaelen at CB instead of Mertesacker to deal with the pacey wingers Bayern have. Cannot see it though Jenkinson is nowhere near experienced for Bayern. Mertesacker has played in the Bundesliga (against Bayern on many occasions) and for Germany countless times so should have the experience to deal with the German players Bayern have, pacey wingers Bayern have and the overall style Bayern play.

  19. Arsenal#1Fan says:

    Very nice article and good tactical insights. I’m sorry to be a little negative, but is there any evidence of AW changing tactics game to game based on opposition? The last time I can remember was when we beat Man U in the FA Cup final against Man U back in 2005, playing 4-5-1 (hmm…). The last time I had any hope of this sort of thing was a couple years back when we took a 2-1 advantage against Barcelona to the Nou Camp, but it didn’t happen.

    Anyway, to me I am happy to see certain Bayern players led by Robben being a bit cocky. There is no disputing our ability to hit a team on the counter-attack, esp. via. Theo, the only thing being how clinical we are, as you don’t normally expect many chances to come your way in this type of match.

  20. Len says:

    James, have you watched most of the PML Arsenal matches? Pod has always been the most hard working player and he tracks back in every match he played and contributed well in defence, To me other than goals scored Pod is better than RVP. Szczesny, is inconsistent he did well against Sunderland but he was at fault for our elimination out of FA Cup. Why did he parry instead of catching hold of the ball when Blackburn’s shot was chest level? Wilshere has to go up to attack and Cazorla cannot defend and he has no pace, but we need him so it would has to be 4-1-4-1. Arteta must cannot forget when we defend he is the fifth defender. Yes it would be ideal if Theo can play upfront but Alex is still not good enough and he is too individualistic. So we need Giroud. Theo does well playing on the right with Sagna and has scored more goals while assigned in that position. Arsenal needs a better goalie. Jenkinson is still far from desired and cannot be compared to Sagna who is most of the time very stable though he did make a few mistakes lately.

  21. aladin says:

    Hi Nik,
    I would put The Ox as the target man because he is stronger physically than Theo(I know what you’re gonna say) . Theo can cause more problems to the opposition than anybody else solely for his sheer speed. The Ox is also an opportunist who will take the slightest opportunity that comea his to strike at goal. What do you think….?

  22. JM says:

    I would line-up (Hybrid formation):

    (GK) Szczesny, (RB) Sagna, (CB) Mertesacker, (CB) Koscielny, (LB) Vermaelen, (DM/CM) Arteta, (CM/AM) Ramsey, (CM/AM) Wilshere, (RW/R-AM) Cazorla, (L-AM/CF) Podolski, (RW/LW/CF) Walcott

    Subs: Mannone, Rosicky, Giroud, AoC, Diaby, Coquelin, Jenkinson/Gervinho.
    Key performers:
    (1) Cazorla (7.63 avg rating in 31 games, 9 goals 6 assists, 2.9 shots/game, 86.9% pass success)

    Bayern Munich’s probable line-up:

    (GK) Neuer, (RB/RWB) Lahm, (CB) Dante, (CB/DM) Martinez, (LB/LWB) Alaba, (DM/CM) Gustavo, (CM/AM) Schweinsteiger, (CM/AM) Kroos, (RW/R-CF) Muller, (LW/L-AM) Ribery, (CF/R-CF) Mandzukic

    Subs: Starke, van Buyten, Robben, Shaqiri, Tymoshchuk, Gomez, Rafinha
    Key performers:
    (1) Ribery (8.01 avg rating in 23 games, 5 goals 8 assists, 2.1 shots/game, 86% pass success)
    (2) Muller (7.67 avg. rating in 26 games, 14 goals 9 assists, 2.5 shots/game, 78.3% pass success)
    (3) Mandzukic (7.42 avg. rating in 23 games, 16 goals 1 assist, 2.8 shots/game, 70.2% pass success)
    (4) Kroos (7.57 avg. rating in 28 games, 8 goals 7 assists, 2.3 shots/game, 88.7% pass success)

  23. Nik says:

    Wow, thanks for the reception…
    HH you are wrong with the wings – Alaba and Ribery on the left and Lahm and Müller on the right.
    James had you watched Germany at the Euros you would have seen how much Podolski tracks back when he has to.
    I’ve written the post before our failure against Blackburn. Now I think everyone on the bench (except Mannone) will start. That means only one of our 6 midfield and forward players from the BB game will still be in. My guess is Arteta.
    How exactly Wenger will line-up them up ahead of our back 4 only he knows.
    I think everyone is a little harsh on OX. Noone thought he’d be ready to face ManUnited last season, yet he was the best man on the pitch. He can certainly perform in big games. And he loves to take players on even when he’s outnumbered and that is something we definitely need against Bayern.
    JM – I cannot see Martinez starting at CB. Boateng was back on the bench for Bayern on Friday and I think he will start against us.

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning Nik 🙂

    Your maiden post has had a fantastic response with some excellent comments.

    Most of us still feel a bit wounded after the cup-exit but we cannot allow ourselves to indulgence in melancholy as Arshavin once said.

    You might be right re some of us being harsh on Ox. For me, he is a talent who needs to develop further, and I am not sure he will be ‘in the game’ enough if started. However, you are right, he does often perform well in the big games.

    Ramsey is a definite starter for me on Tuesday – he was clearly rested on Saturday – and it will be either for Ox on the wing – most likely – or instead of Arteta with Jack and him playing in the ‘2’.

  25. henrychan says:

    @VCC : How about the UMF league for FA Cup.. Who lead the scores..??

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Henry

    VCC has been unwell with a bad stomach over the weekend and hopes to publish the UMF results as soon as he feels a bit better again.

    Get well soon Zimmerdine! 🙂

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AFC

    Playing Ramsey on the right would not be pointless at all. The difference with Ox is Ramsey would offer good defensive cover and solidity in midfield. Of course, he is not a winger and we would suffer in that respect, but if we play effectively 4-4-2, then Theo can move into the right wing occasionaly, whilst Wilshere can move up and play closer to Giroud.

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Arsenal#1fan

    On paper, Arsene’s formation might mostly look the same, but he has been trying out various player combinations and ‘systems’. Ramsey on the right has been done a few times to add more bodies in midfield, for example. He is also still figuring out how to play Theo more centrally, and he will be ready to tweak our formation/system to get the best out of the team on Tuesday. Let’s what will happen tomorrow! 🙂

  29. henrychan says:

    @ TA.. Okay.. thanks for your info..

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Len

    Good comment, but I reckon you are harsh on Szczesny. The whole team lost against Blackburn. Maybe the Pole in goal should have done better, but if we want to get rid of our goallie everytime he makes a mistake, then we will go through many a season. Tomorrow night he can show us all how good he really is. He’ll come good.

    However, I would like an experienced back-up goallie in our squad…

  31. TotalArsenal says:


    I reckon you should wish him well in your own language: he likes that sort of thing! 🙂

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Aladin

    The Ox as a target man is an interesting thought: definitely one for the future! But not tomorrow night, I reckon.

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi JM

    I am pretty sure Robben will start on Tuesday: his prem league experience will be very handy for Bayern. Unfortunately, he is fit again and keen to play… 😦

  34. henrychan says:

    TA.. I wish Muller play instead of Robben.. Robben is more danger.. More speed, .more skill and also a good ‘cheater’.. hehehe.. A very dangerous man in penalty area..
    For Sagna will handle Ribbery.. I don’t think Vermaelen can handle Robben..
    Hope Koscielny will play his best game..

    @ VCC : Get well soon champion..

  35. Gerry says:

    Nik – Very good debut post. I have to admit, with no reference to Saturday, I was curious as to who could be so restrained – ha ha – Congrats on that!

    Now to the serious stuff. The one thing missing from this counter-attack idea is where do we press? High up the pitch? Or sit back, to draw them on to us, but at the same time leave more space in behind?

    Ponder on that a moment ..

    I guess we are all agreed on the back 5? Miguel could play if either Kos or TV5 have suffered any reaction, otherwise a bench spot?

    Whatever the criticisms are about Arteta, and I believe largely unjustified given the role he is given – (extra defender, keeper of possession, feeder through to attacking midfielders)? I bracketed the the whole group together, rather than question individual bits of it. – Arteta must play, barring injury.
    Clearly Jack was intended to be fully rested, so he will play. Add Pod, Santi and Theo, for the same reason.
    So that leaves two attacking players to make the 11, or just 1 and another B2B?(I’m picking up on these abreviations).
    So is Giroud, or not Giroud, that is the question? Not having scored in the last couple of games, whilst not desirable is understandable, given he has hardly had a decent assist for his main asset .. heading?
    That said, I do think he will be benched today. Which makes the the two remaining places a bit easier?
    I will go with Nik on this, the Ox for his pace. Yes, we know what we saw, but do you think AW will not be pointing that out to him? He will not be given a free role this time. Stick to the right flank, support and link with Sagna. Simples!
    If I have my sums right*, I will suggest Ramsey, also rested after a had and well played game 10 days back (from this match).
    Now for the reasons I am about to explain, I will differ from submissions so far given as to the formation, which is this 4-4-2:
    Sagna – Mert – Kos – Verm
    Ox – Arteta – Ramsey – Wilshere
    Walcott – Podolski

    Now this may look strange, but what I am suggesting is we do not play with a ‘centre’ forward, but rather have Theo and Pod coming in fro wider positions?
    If nothing else, it will either draw their CB’s out of position? Or draw their FB’s in,leaving room on the outside for, particularly the Ox/Sagna partnership space to exploit?
    I also worry that TV5 will not be able to, or perhaps, should not, venture too far forwards else he will allow their counter to work? For that reason I would play Wilshere deep, and let Ramsey be in the free Cam role.
    * Sums wrong, so – Yes, it was a choice between him and Santi, but the latter’s lack of pace for the quick drive forwards counts against him in this game. If this plan works, I can see Ramsey driving straight down the middle and getting some good scoring opportunities, at least one should find the net? Oh, and Santi will be a great sub for a last 30 mins sub?

    That is the case for the prosecution, it is now up to the jury to decide?

  36. Red Arse says:

    Good Morning, fellow BKers, 🙂 and Hi Chief Clogmeister! LD

  37. Gerry says:

    Jim- Apologies, I’ve just scrolled up and saw your suggestion and mine are very similar. I missed it when I went through them. Subtle difference in layout though?

  38. Gerry says:

    VCC – I hope it wasn’t my UMF suggestions that gave you indigestion? Get well soon, eh?

  39. Len says:

    Total Ars,

    I didn’t mean to get rid of the Pole. He made fatal errors recently, against Chelsea, etc. He was exceptional in last season. Wenger was right to rotate players, especially when the next match is difficult and important but he had always been too conservative and inflexible. Sometimes he seemed to select starting 11 based on seriority and not previous performance. When the players who start are not effective, though you may have a lot of possession, eg, in the Blackburn match, you have to either change your game plan or players, soon enough. But not always in the last 20 min. If Theo, Wil, amd Cazorla were put in earlier, say at least at the 60th, I have very strong believe that Arsnal would have scored and at least get a replay! Also subs like Rosicky, Gevinho, Ox, are not playing well with others as a team. Gevinho is far cry from what he was last season. The only subs who blend well are Diaby and Ramsey but I wouldn’t pick them as first 11. Review again the last 2 matches, don’t you thinks we missed Podolski when he was not playing?

  40. Red Arse says:

    Hi Nik, 🙂

    A really excellently thought thru’ and presented Post. It is so complete in its explanations, and strategic thinking that it leaves me with little to say, apart from – I agree!! 😀

    When I read thru’ the subsequent comments, I was, as usual, taken with the erudite and knowledgeable fans who blog on here in a civilized and intelligent way. Well done all.

    One detailed comment that caught the eye was from JM, (which is not surprising) 🙂 and, although it is possible to agree or disagree with a minor point here or there, your Post and his comment form such a wonderful smörgåsbord of footballing choices, I am going to re-read both of them again just for the pleasure of absorbing the views expressed.

    Thank you! (and you, too, JM) 😀

  41. JM says:

    @Nik February 18, 2013 08:08

    I believed in that Boateng is serving a 2 match suspension (for his straight red card against BATE in Bayern’s last group match) in the CL (which means both ties against us).

    Also, Badstuber is out for the season with CLR – Cruciate Ligament Rupture.

    Which means Bayern’s CB pairing would be among Dante, Martinez, van Buyten & probably Tymoshchuk on an emergency case. Depending on whether Bayern will deploy their backline on mobility or strength, either Martinez (for mobility – e.g. against Walcott, Podolski etc) or van Buyten (for strength, e.g. against Giroud etc) will start alongside Dante.

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Redders 🙂

    You are damn right with your praise for Nik, and it is hard to imagine that English is not his mother tongue!

  43. Nik says:

    of course you’re spot-on, I completely forgot about Boateng’s red card
    for us I hope van Buyten will play, as he will have more problems with Walcott’s pace than Martinez and Tymoschchuk.

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    HI Len

    Yes we missed Podolski but also Gibbs. Nacho will come good but needs time to form partnerships with the LW’s. Let’s hope Podolski will be at his best tomorrow! 🙂

  45. JM says:

    @ TotalArsenal February 18, 2013 08:24

    Probable scenario:

    Sagna (RB) vs Ribery (LW)
    Mertesacker & Koscielny (CBs) vs Mandzukic (CF)
    Vermaelen (LB) vs Muller (RW)

    Arteta (CM) vs Schweinsteiger (CM)
    Ramsey (CM) vs Kroos (CM)
    Wilshere (CM) vs Gustavo (CM)
    * All CMs as the midfielders can interchange their positions from DM, CM, AM.

    Podolski (LW) vs Lahm (RB)
    Walcott (CF) vs Dante & Martinez (CBs)
    Cazorla (RW) vs Alaba (LB)

    If Ramsey is starting, I would have preferred to use his energy in the centre of midfield supporting Arteta & Wilshere. His job would be to track down Kroos and negate the latter’s influence. Arteta to have a battle royale against Bayern’s own metro-dome, Schweinsteiger. Lastly, get Wilshere to run against Gustavo to draw fouls close enough to have a crack at goal from direct free kicks.

    And Cazorla on our RW, piling up from team pressure against Bayern’s left flank. (Sagna, Cazorla & Walcott – drifting right against Alaba & Ribery). This also helps relieve pressure on one of our flanks. (Although, Vermaelen could be having a titanic one-vs-one battle against Muller on our left flank. He needs to be disciplined in defending)

    Podolski could move into CF position when applicable and Wilshere & our other midfielders support him with runs from deep.

  46. glic says:

    Morning Cumakazi`s 😆

    Thank you Nik, an excellant detailed report and after telling us how good they are with stats etc`, I`m now going to top myself…..we`re doomed !. hahaha

    Two thing`s that jump out at me….1) Key to their play is possession….well it just so happens we like a bit of possession aswell, so if they lack oossession on the night they shouldn`t do too much damage !.
    2) Disciplined defending is needed…………Trouble is we dont do much of that……the only disciplined defending Arsene does is having a flat back four with three holding midfielders defending his rectum against an attack by Giroud`s Hampton in the showers !.
    So it could be a case of digging some trenches and keeping the ball with Pigsteiger playing piggy in the middle !. No wonder I`m looked upon as a tactical genius by BKer`s ! . hahaha

    Get well soon Zimmerdine, next time spit, dont swallow !. hahaha

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow Gerry, great comment and food for thought indeed. Really like the idea of Pod and Theo being free agents causing massive mayhem in the German ranks. But no Jack or Santi in the middle to drive things for us, hmmmm, not sure amigo, not sure. I would be tempted to replace Arteta with Jack and Jack with Cazorla in your formation.

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning nutbum 🙂

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers JM, still am convinced Robben will torment our left back tomorrow. Vermaelen v Robben = recipy for trouble.

  50. Nik says:

    I’m convinced that Müller will start on the right and Arjen Robben will sit on the bench.
    Müller has 11 goals and 11 assists in the Bundesliga and only in 4 of his 20 games he did not produce a goal or assist. I guess that’s called prolific.
    While Robben hasn’t played a lot and you never know what you gonna get from him. He hates defending and as Bayern play away from home Heynckes wants a certain stability.
    On top its the perfect time to show Robben that he’s not bigger than the club and he cannot force his way into the starting line-up by expressing that he’s unhappy with sitting on the bench.


    Thanks Nikos, great stuff and a fascinating insight into our German opponents.

    I knew about Chelsea but now you mention Dortmund and how the only option is disciplined defending then we might as well not bother turning up.hahaha

    I hope your right about Robben not playing (though Muller will probably score a hat trick hahaha). Ive noticed Verm dosnt like playing against bald forwards.

    We are of course under dogs but i think we have enough quality to give them a decent game and with a bit of luck might just edge it. cand see us doing it the Chelsea way. Its not our philosophy and we aint got the players to try that anyway.

    Lets play Ramsey in the middle and push Santi a bit wide so at least we have numbers in the centre. And then start praying. hahaha

  52. glic says:

    Stretchie baby, how was Rome ?. Did you do the ” When in Rome ” bit ?, a bit of murder ,rape and pillaging or play with a Centurians staff !.

    Pssst, by the way, did you get next week`s Serie A results ?.

  53. Red Arse says:

    What has happened to VCC? Is he pregnant, or what? 🙂

    Glic, I have spoken to Mario, the boss of the Serie A referees, and he has given me all next week’s scores already!! 😀


    Yeah, it was great Cornwall. i spoilt it a bit when doing a tour of the collesium. Was in the bit underneath where they used to keep slaves and that before bringing them up to get buchered by a 20 stone Roman or eaten by lions.

    Saw some bloke who looked like Phil from east enders and had a crazy urge to drag him upstairs to get eaten by Lions. I got him in a headlock half way up the stairs before his wife started beating me with her handbag. Then the Italian Policia came along and after giving me a bit of a beating, took me to some cell where this doctor type appeared and gave me an injection of something up the arse.

    They let me go after that, but for some strange reason i spent the remaining part of the break with my eyeballs like stalks, hadly mutteing a word apart from the odd “who am i”? or “does any one know Liam Brady, i would like to talk to him”? hahaha

  55. glic says:

    Redders, I think he`s having some new free colonic irrigation technique trial done !. Well thats what the two clip board shirtlifters said it was !, but we all know he is being arse-raped in South Ockendon by two Poles !. hahaha

  56. Gerry says:

    TA @10.03 – My spacings did not carry through, I was thinking more of Arteta and Wilshere being the main DM pairing, but with Jack dropping a shoulder here and there to bring the ball forwards .. as far as he can really.
    Ramsey to play ahead of them but to drop back if possession is lost high up, and Jack stranded.
    The Ox is the spare player on the right to be available for Sagna at all times. Sagna will most likely be the outlet ball if Szcz kicks it long.
    Pod and Theo staying more or less as wide inside forwards, as both like to come in from wide. this is where my extra spaces went misssing, keeping them far apart but there for the incisive pass?
    With Santi playing it would not work so well because he likes to come inside from either wing, but if we are talking of quick transfer back to front, then I think, on recent form Ramsey is the better option?
    The triangles between Wilshere, Ramsey and Podolski on the left, and Arteta, Ox and Walcott on the right, plus the occasional Sagna overlap, who will also carry the ball forward quickly to leave Arteta deep most of the time.?
    Of course, Ramsey would be free to link with the right group as well, so his role will be key if he is able to get in the box to pass and/or shoot. Unlike Pod and Theo, he will be coming from deeper.

    Quick pass and move stuff is what we need … and what we can be good at sometimes?

  57. glic says:

    Glad to see the boys getting ready for tomorrow night`s onslaught !.

  58. glic says:

    Stevie Bould putting the defence through it`s routines !.

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice pics Glic 🙂

    Gerry, I like the idea of your triangles – in fact, it all sounds quite sexy. But, I cannot see us start with Ox instead of Santi. Santi surely must play on Tuesday….?

  60. TotalArsenal says:

    Welcome back Terry 🙂

  61. glic says:

    The new 9-1-1 formation looks on as Jack feeds Theo to make it 10-0 !.

  62. GoonABayern says:

    A very interesting thread, enjoyed reading it, thank u.

    Unfortunately i believe, that Bayern is that strong this season, that only Bayern (okay… or maybe Barca) can stop Bayern. True, i’ve only seen a couple of encounters by Arsenal this season… but none of them i thought were very convincing, and forgive me when i say… being runner-up behind Schalke in group-stage, is not very impressive.
    But who knows… If Arsenal manages somehow a clean sheet in the first leg, they could prevail by parking the “mighty blue” bus^^ in the Allianz Arena, just like last May. I think that could really enervate Bayern… but i doubt that Arsenal can play that destructive and unfootballish.

  63. glic says:

    “Dummkopf Hans, I told you to land it in ze autoparken not on ze pitch !….Kuntzenstein !!.

  64. Nik says:

    copied from the Arsenal website:
    ** TEAM NEWS: Mertesacker is back, Koscielny ‘uncertain’
    sitting at work so I cannot listen to the full pressconference on Arsenal player

  65. Highbury Harmony says:


    The issue with our counter attack is it often only includes 3-4 players, which is not sufficient enough, especially against Bayern. The only benefit we have tomorrow is that Bayern likes to attack as much as Arsenal and we won’t be confused by the PTB strategy. We’ll have to capitalize on our ball possession because Bayern retain as much possession, but are much more dangerous in attack.

    Also, you still haven’t answered how Giroud’s still considered “on form”.

    You mention that you don’t want Mertesacker to play because of Bayern’s pace, yet you state you want Podolski to start because of his familiarity with Bayern’s game. Mertesacker also plays with the German national team and spent 9 years in the Bundesliga, so he should be just as “familiar” with their tactics and style of play. I think he’s a must-start for AW because of his experience against Bayern in the Bundesliga, not just out of necessity.

  66. Gerry says:

    So it is Miguel at LB then?

    TA – I think you may be right on who actually plays. I just don’t think Santi is the player to make quick runs into the box, and we could get more of that irritating ‘pussy- footing’ (ask glic about that?) on the edge of the box?

    I just want us to go into the game believing we have a team that can win, hoping that they play well enough to gives us that win … at worst, play well enough that we don’t have a repeat of all that naval gazing? (Another one for glic, he might know a thing or two about sailors?)

    Like it or not, if you support Arsenal, this is the team we have until the end of the season.

    How’s the back, glic?

    Must go and feed the dogs …

  67. Nik says:

    I wrote the article before Saturday and Giroud hadn’t scored for 2 games, but did a good job in those two (Stoke & Sunderland), in my opinion and he scored 5 in the 3 games before that. That’s why I called him in form.

    The way I saw Bayern play in the last couple of weeks, we won’t be able to play our possession style that’s why I think our best chance is by counter-attacking with pacy players like Theo and Ox with Wilshire, Santi and Pod in support. If we do that quick enough we can certainly create 3 on 3 situations or maybe even outnumber them.

    Yes Mertesacker definitely has experience against Bayern and knows most of the players, no doubt about that. But I’d rather have Koz or the Verminator defending one-on-one with e.g. Ribery.

  68. Highbury Harmony says:

    Giroud was pretty poor offensively in both the Stoke and Sunderland games. He was great defensively vs. Sunderland, but I would hardly class that as “in-form”. He was definitely hitting a streak of sorts before that though.

    I agree that possession will be more or less split. We cannot play our typical knock the ball around forever strategy without creating any real scoring opportunities. A team like Bayern will punish us. We have to be proactive and move our attack forward with purpose or else we’ll see a similar result as this past Saturday.

    The way I see it is that Per is playing CB and a last resort that comes over to help defend Ribeiry. It’ll mainly be Sagna’s, and likely Theo’s, responsibility to cover Ribeiry and Alaba on the right side. Per organizes our back line very well and his positioning often allows his lack of pace to not be exposed.

  69. Highbury Harmony says:

    And yes, I made a typo earlier and said Alaba and Ribeiry when I meant to say Lahm and Ribeiry.

  70. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi GoonABayern,

    Bayern are the favourites and that is mainly because our team is in transition and has yet to play a fantastic game against a top team this season (although drawing against Man City away was not bad at the time).

    However, I say this: this team is capable of performing really well against a top team and we have to hope that this will happen tomorrow. And there is good reason to believe that tomorrow is the day. Bu that is for tomorrow’s post! 😛

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Gerry,

    What do you think Cazorla’s best position is?

  72. Red Arse says:

    Here’s one Glic, and if I am quick VCC won’t be able to pinch it until tomorrow at the earliest!! 🙂

    — “In a trial, in a small Mississippi town the prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a very elderly grandmother to the stand.
    He asked her, “Mrs Jones, do you know me?” She replied, “Oh yes, I know you Mr Williams, since you were a boy. And frankly, you have been a big disappointment to me. You lie and cheat on your wife, as well as manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you are a big shot and do not have the brains to realize you will never amount to anything more than a two bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you!”

    The lawyer was stunned and did not know what to do, so he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs Jones do you know the defense attorney?”

    She again replied, “Yes, I do. I have known Mr Bradley since he was a boy, too. He is lazy, bigoted, and he has a drink problem. He cannot build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is the worst in the whole State. Not to mention he has also cheated on his wife, with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him alright.”

    The defense attorney nearly died on the spot.

    The Judge asked both counsellors to approach the bench and said in a very quiet voice, “If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I’ll send both of you to the electric chair!”

  73. glic says:

    Thanks Gerry, backs fine, will be working tomorrow !………………hold on a sec`…….Gerry is a nick name for Germans…………..we have a spy in the BK ranks !. hahaha

    Will AW buy big ?.

  74. Red Arse says:

    Will AW buy a big what, Glic?

  75. glic says:

    Hahaha Redders. Although I gave a reason for Vicy`s absence earlier, it may also be the case that he is too embarrassed to come back for constantly nicking your jokes……now if you all of a sudden disappear aswell, it may be because someone is after you for nicking their jokes !. hahaha

  76. glic says:

    A big telescope to see Uranus !

    How many times have I used the Uranus joke ?. It is my favourite !. hahaha

  77. glic says:

    hahaha I was right Redders, you nicked that joke from that other Red chap on AA !. He`ll be coming for you !.

  78. glic says:

    Totes. I think Mrs Cazorla will know Santi`s best position, why you asking Gerry ?……what… is he a f**king spy ? hahaha

  79. Red Arse says:

    You are incorrigible, Glic!

    Poor VCC will be distraught to learn that he is one of a long line of joke nickers.

    Perhaps you can lend him yours — you know the one with the hole in the bottom, like that leaky bucket you use to water your Mrs’ horses!

    Are you an eccentric multi millionaire, or just a gigolo? 🙂

  80. Red Arse says:


    Don’t disturb TA, he is busy wearing his bib and apron and making a meal of kibbeling to be followed by Zeeuwse bolus and butter, for the family and Henry the hound!! 😀

  81. Gerry says:

    TA – Cazorla Is best as the free CAM. The very role I am proposing for Ramsey. It is just in this game I think the emphasis will be on defending well as a team, with midfielders keeping tabs on their late runners, but then being able to switch play quickly in the other direction. If you don’t play Giroud to hold it up, that means the ball has to be brought forwards at speed.
    Certainly, with quick one two’s I can see it getting to Walcott via Ox/Sagna and Ramsey on the right, and to Podolski via Wilshere and Ramsey on the left. Perhaps Miguel may get forwards occasionally, if TV5 is back in the middle? If Santi plays, first half particularly, then he will stay higher up the pitch. With Ramsey, if he can repeat his last two showings, he will be an extra defender, as well as the energy going forwards.

    You have to realise, when I start writing I haven’t much clue where I am going with it. The ‘muse’ takes over and I run with it. If I just wrote to a pre-planned idea, I may well have stuck with the team that finished on Saturday, plus Sagna? Nik planted the seed with reference to pace, so what evolved was players who had the best pace in suitable positions. Which I think rules out Cazorla on the wing?

    I am not saying this about every game, and I do think after an hour, Santi will be able to find more space, and Rosicky for the Ox will keep that pace going. But AW will have his own ideas. One will probably have Walcott doing a bit of defending, and keep Giroud? Who knows? But whatever happens, it would be nice to take some goal difference in our favour, for the second leg, eh.

  82. glic says:

    In my mind, I`m both, I own AFC and I rodger all the players WAG`s !. hahaha

    I just clicked onto Red Arse Posts at the top and there was nothing !, only my handsome face !.

  83. Gerry says:

    glic – You know what they say, ‘It takes one to know one?’ glic … or should that be Herr Glicenspiel???

  84. glic says:

    richie hasn`t been about for a bit either !. He was last heard of asking Stretch about some chloroform. I wonder if he has kidnapped Isco and has him on his yacht moored somewhere near Malaga ?.

  85. Red Arse says:

    It seems I have not written any Posts, Glicster, so get your hound dawg face out of my page!! 😀 heheheheh

  86. Gerry says:

    glic – You may remember that a ‘Gerry’ was another name for a ‘guzunder(the bed)’, so I am definitely one who will know what Santi’s best position is?

    Oh no! I just received a ‘Bawdy humour alert’,. I must close down this page immediiately.

  87. Gerry. Now that`s taking the piss !. hahaha

  88. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry at 5.41 all agreed, all agreed. 🙂

  89. GoonABayern says:

    Hi TotalArsenal,

    hmm… the shock after the Chelski bus-parking event last May had a really huge impact on Bayern. I hardly believe they will fail a second time, especially in a game (actually 2 games) where they are again considered as “high(?)” favorites. Great paceful counter-attacking alone will not be enough. But again… everything can happen at this stage of the competition.

    So… good luck for you and all gooners worldwide.

    and cheerz from


  90. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers GoonABayern, there is a lot of pride in this club and the first team is full of quality. Tonight our honour is at stake, that is when Arsenal are at their best. 🙂

    Please can you re-post the comment in today’s post (including the video)?

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