Franck Ribery is a major withdrawal for Bayern Munich. Image courtesy of uefa.com
The last two seasons Arsenal has seen its UEFA Champions League hopes dashed at this stage of the tournament thanks to heavy away losses at the hands of AC Milan and FC Barcelona. This season it looks like a substantial home defeat will spell the end of the Gunners’ campaign after going down 3-1 to Bayern Munich at Emirates Stadium in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.
The Munich outfit has quite simply dominated the Bundesliga this season, and recently went four-and-a-half hours without their opposition having shot on target. It shows the club’s back four is every bit as good as its attack, which has its strings pulled by the likes of Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller. Arsenal has an intimidating record against teams from the continent travelling to north London, but Bayern played with great command in the opening leg and only conceded thanks to a momentary lapse from ‘keeper Manuel Neuer. In good news for the Gunners, Ribery will miss the match with an ankle injury, while Schewinsteiger and Jerome Boateng are out due to suspensions.
Arsenal’s defence has been guilty of plenty of those brain fades all season, and it was no surprise to see the German powerhouse put three past Wojciech Szczesny. Bayern went through the group stage with a 12-3 for and against tally at home, so the Gunners have a massive job in overcoming the first leg deficit at Allianz Arena. Arsene Wenger’s team drew 2-2 in Germany against FC Schalke 04 earlier in the tournament, but that won’t be anywhere near good enough if the Londoners are to end their eight-year title drought. Their last start in the Premier League was a 2-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane at the start of this month.
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