Bayern Munich – Arsenal: Match Preview, Predicted Line-up. CL Showdown or One to Survive?

In my opinion, there is only one answer here, although it is probably not the one Gooners will want to hear.   Arsenal travel to Munich tonight and the goal should be to return with our collective confidence–and our small but high quality collection of players–at least somewhat intact.

We have sowed some very bad seeds in our Champions League group play (by losing our two opening matches) but we did a very good thing beating Bayern two weeks ago, leaving us with a chance to get through.

Getting a result tonight would enhance those chances and be wonderful for our collective confidence.  It also seems a very difficult task.  Our team is down to bare bones and we have a very important league match–a North London Derby, no less–on Sunday, and, unfortunately, that is the match we must prioritize.

That’s not to say we should lay down like a lamb, nor make out an idea that Bayern are a pack of indomitable lions.  It’s just a reality check.  This is November, not May, and the match must be approached with an eye, not just to the night at hand, but to getting to that latter month in the best shape possible.   Ideally, at that time, we’ll be in with good shouts in any and all competitions in which we remain.

So, as much as many would take a draw if it were on offer, I’d go a step further and say I’d actually forfeit the points if we could skip this one entirely.  It’s a bit like the Capital One Cup match 8 nights ago.  Just like that one, we cannot skip it–and, in truth, I relish watching a collection of fine players, from both teams, taking on the relative challenges the match presents.   Still, it’s a very tough ask, when you consider ALL the factors.

So, what can we do?

First off, we have to be honest.  As much as our home victory over Bayern was wonderful it was also very much against the run of play.  We defended well, presented good threats on the break (Theo Walcott rather terrorized them with his pace) and eventually broke through on a set piece.  The second goal showed more pace, Hector Bellerin pouncing and getting around a defender, before crossing for Mesut Ozil’s goal.

Both Walcott and Bellerin are injured for this one so a different approach will be needed.  We’ll have to defend as well as we did in the home match but we’ll probably need to rely more on hold-up work with forwards Olivier Giroud and Joel Campbell being asked to retain possession with their touches.  Normally we want goals from those guys–and, of course, scoring would be the very best form of defense–but shortening the match in any way we can is really the main goal here.  Every thirty seconds of retained possession will be important as will any corners or fouls (set-pieces) those guys can secure.

They can do it, however.  Joel Campbell did just such work with Costa Rica in their surprise run at World Cup 2014 in Brazil and Giroud presents a physical challenge for any group of defenders.  Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin have to be equally circumspect on the ball and work as a group to get it forward to the hold up players.

That could be all the tougher as, surely, they will be pressed to play deep in our own half to help our back line against the very strong attack Bayern will bring.  And then there’s the defensive equivalent–the hard pressing ‘ronda’ game which Pep Guardiola made famous at Barcelona and has already outlined as a primary tactic for this one when they do lose the ball.  Expect tense moments in our half–both off and on the ball.  If the midfield group gets beaten, or lose possession in bad spots, our back line, which (I think) also picks itself, will also have to have near flawless games.

The greatest spotlight may shine on the player who has to fill in for Bellerin: Mathieu Debuchy.  Whereas some Gooners have all but given up on the Frenchman, we should remember that he was selected in Brazil ahead of Bacary Sagna and looked another good Wenger buy before a pair of injuries gave Bellerin his opportunity.   Clearly, Debuchy’s ability to get forward cannot match our young Spaniard’s.  Still, as a man to man defender, he might have what it takes.

Too many Gooners, in my opinion, too easily equate team results with individual attributes.  Debuchy’s last match, up in Sheffield in the throw-away League Cup match, was lost 3-nil.  Thus, to some, he cannot defend.  Bellerin has been part of many recent clean sheets, including the home match vs Bayern, so obviously, he is the better defender.  Did nobody else fail to see that he was utterly helpless trying to stop Douglas Costa and that his blushes were only spared due to Costa’s poor finishing on the night?  Frankly, I think Debuchy cannot do worse, and, since the forward game is less important this time around, Debuchy at right back is (perhaps) no loss at all.  Could Bellerin’s “small groin problem” actually be Wenger playing this idea–and resting Bells for the match where we really require the three points?  If so, our manager absolutely does not suffer from a “small groin problem” of his own…  Regardless, it’s a bright spotlight for Debuchy, but also a chance to impress, something he’s been very concerned about with France hosting the European Championships next summer and Mathieu desperate for a spot with the home team.

There’s some talk that we might try to protect Debuchy by moving Alexis to the right side (and then playing Kieran Gibbs ahead of Nacho Monreal) or even by playing Mathieu Flamini in that right sided, free-role, which suited Aaron Ramsey before he pulled up with a hamstring injury (in the home match vs Bayern, in fact).  I don’t think so with Joel Campbell’s aforementioned hold-up play being the main reason.  He also must be quite buoyed by finally netting for our club at Swansea this past weekend.  Here then is my predicted line-up, with the only change from that one being Debuchy for Bellerin.

Bench: Macey, Gabriel, Chambers, Gibbs, Flamini, Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide

As always, that’s just my best guess on the players and just my opinion about the significant narratives at play tonight.  To me it seems a very tough situation, made all the tougher by our injury depleted squad and the North London Derby so close on the horizon.  That said, I think the squad, playing it’s best and getting a bit of luck can get a result on the night, just as we did at home.  Bayern will be certainly be motivated (and it could be argued that they look even stronger with Arren Robben and Franck Ribery available this time) but still, you never know, and I have a LOT of faith in our boys.

So, go on then, you Gunners…

Gooners too.  What do you all think?…

by 17highburyterrace

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48 Responses to Bayern Munich – Arsenal: Match Preview, Predicted Line-up. CL Showdown or One to Survive?

  1. Le Coq Monster says:

    Thanks 17…………I really enjoy reading your Pre-Matchers !…..a bit more depth than some others I read ( not this site) who get lauded for a couple of paragraphs .
    As much as I want us to win every single game, I would bite your hand off for a real pasting and no injuries from The Munchies if you could guarantee we (s)mash the Spuds on Sunday !.
    I`ve asked the question elsewhere…..and with the usual response of being ignored…..on a devastation level of 1to10, where would losing to the Munchies compare to losing to the Spuds ?………………me personally, if we lose tonight I will still talk to my wife and not beat the dog !…………….lose to the Spuds and I will cry to the dog and beat the wife`s mother instead of the wife as the wife scares the shit out of me !.
    I wont even be watching the game as I am still building a Fort Knox style Sofa to hide behind for Sundays game !
    If I read it right, it seems most of us want to come out unscathed injury wise from this game rather than anything else.
    If we lose and Olympiakos beat Zagreb….which is a forgone conclusion if we take Admir`s advice….then it will all but be over as BM and Olympiakos could scratch each others backs with a convenient draw in the next game and which we would need to lose at home to Zagreb if we are not to suffer the indignity of playing on a Spursday !……..lots of permutations but I just want to beat the Spuds !…..right back to my Soffaring (suffering) of Sofa building !

  2. Thanks, Cockie… 🙂

    Yes, you’re right about it being out of our hands if we lose… I’m not sure that Bayern would want to sacrifice their pride just to keep us out, however…

    Additionally, Europa league football could be an interesting scenario, esp. if you’re one of those who loves the kids. We’ve got so many out on loan (only a portion of which are playing a lot at their loan clubs) so we could recall some of those, use some of that money we’ve got to buy a handful of up and comers and let them have at it in the far flung spots on the continent. Obviously, we cut it a bit too close in the past window, at least given the benefit of hindsight…

    We still have this match to play (and two more in the group), however, so let’s not throw the towel in just yet. We need to play very, very well and we need a bit of luck. I still haven’t seen the Swansea match but reports suggest we weren’t at our best in that one yet still had the nerve when we needed it and came away 3-nil winners. This one, obviously, will be much tougher–and tougher still if the first goal were to go against us. Still, you’ve got to believe and, given the fact we’ve done it before (with worse teams, IMO…), we should have a good deal more belief than most who travel to the Allianz…

    We have to look at the whole thing as an opportunity and a bit of a nothing-to-lose match even if we certainly don’t want to go for all three points when the one would put qualification back into our own hands…

  3. Pony Eye. says:

    HT,

    I admire you are able to stay free of ” the tyranny of the moment”. As for me, I have come to the conclusion that I can’t bear to brace up for the pain of “today”. Instead let tomorrow take care of itself.

    We are bare to the bones, but we need to give today’s match our best shot. It is important for our collective confidence, that we know that we can rub shoulders with the very best. The coming derby is important, but in the final analysis it is again the same three precious points.

    Bayern is a most formidable team. But as long as we set out for a counter attacking game, we got a good chance against them. We have the players who can execute fast intelligent transitions. As I commented in the previous post, Giroud can serve as the take off platform for those fast transitions and follow up as a decoy runner or a finisher.

    For the controversial right wide vacancy am all for Flam, because his ability as a defender who knows how to materialize in the opponent’s box at critical moments, is tailor made for our game plan.

  4. Le Coq Monster says:

    17
    I`d have no problem with playing in the EL if it meant playing the youth players and would even climb out from behind the Sofa to watch, but….and this is where I`m going to upset the Wengerites….as much as we have a professor running our club, he does confirm something I have long thought to be true and that is ( and I`ve seen this so many times in my life ! )…so called highly intelligent people have no common sense !.
    If we ended up in the EL ……and looking at our current status squad wise of having NINE !!! experienced squad members out and only leaving us with only 15 experienced players left !…..Wenger would play regulars and muck up our best ( and only chance as we know Chavs will be stronger next year along with `pool and in transition Manshafter Std ) chance of winning the EPL in years and you know that if Mr Doom aka ME !… thinks we have a good chance then it must be so !. hahaha
    Common sense would be to play the youngsters and give them some experience and thus helping us ( the regular players) to have only one game per week, helping our already threadbare squad to cope !…………thing is, 1000`s of Arsenal supporters would be screaming for this common sense, but we have ONE highly intelligent Manager who will see it different….just like 1000`s of Supporters were screaming for a couple of outfield players in the Transfer Window and the ONE highly intelligent manager saw it differently !……yes I can say this with hindsight now we have half our squad missing, but am I ?…..given our recent history of topping the Injury League for the last 5 seasons it wasn`t hard to work out !……it was always going to happen !.
    Please Mr Wenger, if we do get EL…..use some common sense !……you know it makes sense !.

    PS……….The January TW will be interesting in two ways !……..1) if we still have half a squad injured and ………..2) If players come back and Wenger thinks it`s OK and then as the Window closes, we get more injuries !………………..safe to say, I want him to spend the fcuking money on both accounts !. hahaha

  5. Peter says:

    l would have prefer Wenger steps down our major players. Arsenal’s present formation to me can not win Champions league, therefore, let’s therefore focus on Premier league as well as FA. l submit.

  6. OK, just about out the door for my pre-match ski…

    PE, I don’t think you and I are disagreeing (at all…) except perhaps in terms of emphasis. (And maybe you like Flamini instead of Campbell as that right-hand MF guy…) Of course, I want our team to do its very best tonight. One at a time is how they all must be played…

    Likewise, I don’t think you and I are disagreeing either, Cockie… I just have a bit more faith in the manager to see that situation as clearly as you (and I) see it, if we should have to cross that bridge… Indeed, no core players on Thursdays would be my demand…

    Wenger, I think, is a little more optimistic (as am I)… And that starts tonight! It will be tough, but until we don’t, I will believe we can get a result out there… 😀

    The alternative just doesn’t appeal to me… Being realistic (keeping the long-term in mind) but no sofa fortress for me. If hindsight is 20-20 your foresight for sky-is-falling darkness is just too bleak. And, no matter how much you buy, you can never buy enough to lighten that up… 😦

    In my opinion, of course… 😀

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    I win tonight over a win against Spuds for me, Cockster. We can always blame fatigue. Just imagine if we beat Die Lederhosen again what it would mean…

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for a great match preview, Seventeenho. Cockie is right, there are not many blogs who produce such fine previews as you do, and we are lucky to have you. Great stuff. 🙂

    Love the line up, even though I reckon either Campbell or Giroud will start on the bench to have another attacking option. I can see Flamini start, either on the right side ahead of DeButcher, or as a second DM with Cazorla moving to the wing. I also half expect Wenger to rest Mertesacker for this one.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    It is a real shame that we cannot play Hector Vector in front of Debuchy: it would have been such a weapon tonight. I have a good feeling about this game. Wenger has a good record against Guardiola – is there a manager with a better one to one record – and we have are unbeaten in Munich in recent matches. They were the better team two weeks ago but did they more shots on target…. Keep the faith! 🙂

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    10/11 17ho … 🙂

    No fam favourite… 😀

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Arsenal: Cech, Debuchy, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Mesut Özil, Campbell, Alexis, Giroud.

    Subs: Macey, Gibbs, Koscielny, Chambers, Flamini, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi.

  12. Back from the ridge, it’s barely a go, but it was lovely and not bad for 4 November… Last song on the radio driving up was “Hey Jude.” With that in my head it was an easy choice to ditch the ipod…

    😀

    Resting the Kos suggests AW might be seeing the partnerships as you do… for Nil-nil the extra pace isn’t the most pressing issue, perhaps…

    Interesting that Bayern choose to go without Vidal, Ribery and Robben. Who is this Coman fellow? They seem a bit spoiled for choice, I’d say…

    Kick off…

  13. 17highburyterrace says:

    Geez, Giroud, in space, needs to do better there… Seems quiet in the big stadium…

  14. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oh shit… Woeful defending, Gabriel not sticking with the line…As easy at it gets…

    But now it’s even… 😀 Nope, assistant takes it away…. Handball from Ozil… 😦

  15. ab says:

    Evening HT. This is all a bit of a nail biter! I’m only able to follow on radio and web, so can’t judge with my eyes. How was the hand-ball decision – fair, or have we been robbed? The stats for Bayern are pretty compelling at the moment; Cech is going to need to have another good night for us. I fear a red card given how things seem to be going…..

  16. ab says:

    game over I fear

  17. 2 nil… Mueller gets a deflected goal…

    Hey AB… We’ve actually looked alright going forward but 2 goals now is a mountain…

    IMO, the makeshift back 4 has struggled even though the pace is rather pedestrian. They give space to us going forward but it seems well controlled nonetheless. We now have Ozil and Campbell on yellows which is also not good.

    The handball call was probably right but just the sort that would’ve stood in the home stadium (like Giroud’s goal there, perhaps)… The back line mix-up plus the deflection plus having a behind the goal ref actually do something all adds up to trouble…

  18. ab says:

    Going to be a long night from here. Avoid injuries and red cards and see where the evening ends up. Chasing the game from here would not be smart; keep the discipline and if we get a goal well maybe we look again – but if we press we could be on for a confidence sapping beating.

    I presume Kos has an injury concern of some sort, enough to be precautionary at least; I don’t understand the selection otherwise. Cech still doing his stuff; but sounds like the rest of our defence is not all there today?

  19. ab says:

    Aye aye aye. Will have to listen to the rest of this as a penance I fear……

  20. Indeed… Very tough giving up the early goal and now they’re picking us apart…

    Replay shows the our goal should have stood. Ozil turned his back and it went in off a shoulder-blade. Very tough stuff there, given that we were always gonna need a break or two (or three)… So, in retrospect, it was a very good response, cruelly denied by the officials…

    As it is, we need to get out of Dodge (as we say over here…) and Gooners might be better served putting their energy behind Dinamo Zagreb who are winning in Greece…

    Not a happy night for us so end-of-the-world scenarios will (surely) have to be explored (if that’s your thing, of course…)

    2nd period on…

  21. ab says:

    No shame losing to a Bayern team playing on song, esp with a makeshift team and with the luck of decisions against us. The concerns will be about confidence and fatigue come the weekend; not many options on the bench. Coq putting in a shift by the sounds of it; hope he can do it again at the weekend.

  22. ab says:

    Zagreb score intriguing; I confess – oh bollocks! 4 down

  23. Well, we looked a bit better for a few moments… but now the bald guy, with his first touch makes it 4…

  24. ab says:

    Time to rest some key players I think

  25. Gorgeous 1-2 by Santi and Ollie but Neuer blocks… Everything going against us, I fear…

    Campbell hurt they’re saying…He goes out, Gibbs comes in…

  26. ab says:

    Campbell injured? That would be some shit icing on the cake for sure. Coq off please. A consolation goal would be lovely – but not worth risking any of our players for the point of pride. I guess if you’ve travelled to the game you would see that differently though.

  27. ab says:

    Olympiakos have equalised now too. Joy

  28. Arsenal away section singing some “oles” 😀

    Le Coq just went down with a bit of theatre, but came up quickly…

    It’s a cruel game (at times) so better to laugh than cry, I say…

  29. ab says:

    Always better to laugh HT. And no complaints about our efforts for the season as a whole thus far.

    consolation secured. Now rest Coq please!

  30. allezkev says:

    Listening to the radio, it doesn’t make for good listening….

    Giroud… 😃

    Come on let’s get 3 more.

  31. Campbell didn’t look so bad coming off so hard to tell about any injury…

    We have scored! Giroud… Very well taken chest to left footed thumper!

  32. ab says:

    We have had our scoring chances this evening. But we’ve not managed to take them. Could have been very different if the Ozil decision had not gone against us

  33. Wow, nice from Le Coq in their box, Santi woeful when Giroud had a sitter if he’d dummied it…

    At least both teams are playing in a good spirit so unlikely they’ll hurt one another… Touch wood, of course…

  34. Hey, Debuchy does a Bellerin while Robben does a Gomis… Hard to claim your keeper has had a good match with 4 conceded but I think he has…

    Iwobi coming on…

  35. allezkev says:

    Zagreb down to 10 men

  36. ab says:

    Zagreb the only thing keeping the evening out of total gloom AK ……

  37. allezkev says:

    AB Olympiarkos are winning

  38. ab says:

    And now that’s gone too. Time for me to dip out – more penance than its worth.. Cheers HT and AK

    OGAAT and lets move on to the next…

  39. allezkev says:

    That just about caps a lousy evening mate

  40. allezkev says:

    Night AB

  41. Oooh… 5-1 Costa through the middle and Mueller doesn’t make a mistake… Gabby has had a tough outing tonight…

    The play started at the other end when Ozil had given up on an attack so that he wasn’t ready for the one-touch from Chambers… Hopefully he learns from that…

    Full time…

    There will be wounds to lick but there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to come back from this in the Derby. Totts play tomorrow night, somewhere, don’t they?…

    Ooooh more trouble as Olympiakos get the points at the end… F**K, even Chavs pull it out vs a different Dinamo (Kiev)…

  42. allezkev says:

    From the BBC, tonight was Arsenals worst defeat in Europe…

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    Very disappointing first half and start of second half, it looked like we were stuck between two strategies with disastrous consequences. More tomorrow. 😱😁

  44. njk84sg says:

    Next up the sh** team is getting some sh** from us this weekend.

    I predict a massive fightback from our lads..

    Actually we played well. Debuchy is no Bells and we need Bells back sooner. Here i go again.. drop Debuchy? And drop the third kit?

    Cheers,
    JK

  45. Morning folks… Not a lot of post match commentary here…Uh, none, actually…

    IMO, Two responses are possible…Throw your toys around the pram, have a fit, etc., etc. or accept what’s what and move forward. Is it too early to do the latter?… Maybe I should figure out if all this money I pay for my satellite television covers Europa League football… 😦

    It does (!) and tonight Totts host Anderlecht, a team we struggled against (at home) a year ago. Maybe I’ll give it a glance just to see if they’re using players I recognize… Soon enough, after all, I’ll have to write a preview…if there’s interest… If nobody gives a poo, let me know, eh…

    Back to last night’s match… TA, where are the positives? Also, maybe those who couldn’t be arsed to think about our Center-back pairings knew something. We went with Gabby and the BFG–to save Kos for the derby? (we hope and pray…) and it backfired in fairly spectacular fashion. For whatever reason, the Arsenal off-side trap (made famous in the movie, “The Full Monty”) was not ready for prime-time. Once it gifted them the first goal (and the quick equalizer was ruled off) we were in real trouble…

    I stand behind my comment (last post) that we should have a measure of respect for our players and the writers here. Critique is fine, but name-calling, IMO, seems out of place. Likewise, I don’t understand the urge towards simple solutions which don’t have a chance (in hell) of happening, i.e., buying up players in the very highest price brackets…or trying to lure them from the biggest clubs where they’re on huge money). Note that last night we were weakened (if not crippled) by the loss of a guy bought from the French 2nd division (Koscielny) and another who didn’t make the grade in the Barcelona youth set-up (Bellerin). Year upon year we fish for players in bigger and bigger pools, but we’re not quite (yet) swimming with the sharks…

    So, regroup (lick our wounds), and get ready for the derby, I say. We can still get through in the CL though there could be positives to a Europa League campaign too (see the back and forth with Cockie, above)… 5-1 is bad (very bad) and very disappointing because Bayern definitely allow some chances for their opponents. The end of the world, however, might wait until (after) the next match…

    Maybe?…

  46. allezkev says:

    17, I think we have to stop caning Gabriel about the first goal, I know you haven’t but he’s getting stick elsewhere.
    Gabriel was only centermetres out and you have to credit Lewandowski for timing his run, that guy is top quality…
    Bayerns 2nd goal took a lucky deflection and on another day Ozil’s chested goal or shouldered goal, might have stood…

    It just wasn’t our day…

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    I agree AK… Gabby, I think, is gonna be a great player at Arsenal. To me, he exudes a great balance of commitment (toughness, fearlessness) and desire to learn from mistakes. (Some players, IMO, are either too confident and cannot learn quickly while others lose their confidence too easily when they do make a mistake.) He’s on a steep learning curve at the moment. If he has to play vs Spurs, however, I would expect a great performance…

    Personally, I was shocked at how slowly the match began and the space both teams gave the other when they didn’t have the ball. From the kickoff we waltzed into their half and Giroud had time to make himself a real chance rather than trying to volley from the top of the box… Neither team sacrificed shape to challenge the player on the ball is what I’m saying… Given no attacking subs and the (more important) match on Sunday we really needed to keep it level (or re-level things quickly) so we were always up against it…

    Plus, Bayern are stacked. A few of our players (including a few injured ones) would fit into their squad but almost any of theirs would walk into our first 11… I’m not saying I’m happy with that fact just that it is one… They can rest and rotate while our league is much tougher. On the plus side, I don’t see them letting the Greeks off with a gentleman’s draw…

    Anyhow, I’m hopeful TA (and others) might have a bit more to say before we move forward…

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    I am not feeling too great with a bursting headache…. but still managed to produce a match analysis and eight positives….

    New Post New Post.. 🙂

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