Five talking points as Arsenal take on Bayern Munich in last 16 of Champions League

Five talking points as Arsenal take on Bayern Munich in last 16 of Champions League

Arsenal face Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich tonight, looking to put themselves in a position to reach the last eight of the Champions League.

With patchy domestic form leading to pressure mounting on Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal boss will be hoping for a positive display in Germany.


The Gunners have crashed out of the Champions League at the round of 16 stage for the last six seasons and face another uphill battle to reach the quarter-finals this time around.

Wenger has admitted to feeling "guilty" in recent years when, having progressed into the knockout stages as group runners-up, they have come up against some of the biggest names in the competition.

This time Arsenal managed to secure top-spot in their group but still ended up being drawn against the five-time winners, who beat them at this stage in both 2013 and 2014.

Although a second leg at the Emirates Stadium follows in three weeks' time, a positive result in Munich tomorrow will go a long way to getting into the last eight.


Despite reported unrest in the Munich dressing room amid poor performances, Carlo Ancelotti's side remain top of the Bundesliga.

They have also won their last 15 Champions League home games and, although some of their big-name players may not be hitting the heights, Robert Lewandowski has scored 14 goals in his last 12 outings.

That kind of reading will be less than ideal for Arsenal, who have lost two of their last three and were hammered 5-1 at the Allianz in last season's group stages.


After another peripheral performance during Arsenal's 2-0 win over Hull on Saturday, Mesut Ozil's confidence came in for questioning by Wenger.

The German World Cup winner, and reported summer target for Bayern, has not scored since December 10 and has drifted in and out of games lately.

No-one can question the talent of Arsenal's club-record signing but his effectiveness when things are not going Arsenal's way is something that will be worrying to fans - and if the visitors find themselves on the back-foot in Munich, Ozil could once again fade into the background.

A BBC report today suggests that Theo Walcott will not start for the Gunners tonight, which would mean Ozil is likely to take his place in Wenger's XI:


Arsenal have been struggling in the middle of the park during recent games, with players injured or unavailable leading to Wenger having to shuffle his pack.

Francis Coquelin has been partnered by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the last two matches but, despite the England international looking comfortable there, it would be a bold move to stick with him against the might of Munich.

Wenger could draft Mohamed Elneny in after the Egypt international came off the bench against Hull following his return from the African Nations Cup, or turn to Granit Xhaka, who has been banned for the last four domestic matches.

Either way he has a decision to make, with Xhaka and Coquelin no doubt offering the grittiest combination, although Elneny did play and score in the defeat at Barcelona at this stage last season.


The Arsenal boss confirmed yesterday that Colombian keeper David Ospina, who started all six of the club's Champions League group games as the Gunners topped Group A, will begin in goal tonight.

Wenger has decided to keep faith in the Colombia international, opting to field him against Bayern rather than revert back to usual first-choice stopper Petr Cech, as he did at this stage last season against Barcelona.

"I have nothing to hide there, it will be Ospina because of the quality of his performances," he replied when asked which goalkeeper would start the game.

The 28-year-old has only played twice since Arsenal's last outing in Europe against Basel on December 6 - starting in goal against Preston and Southampton in the third and fourth rounds of the FA Cup.

It would only be natural for the stopper to be rusty, though Gunners fans will be hoping that Ospina can continue his good European form when their side kicks off against Bayern at the Allianz Arena at 7.45pm.

PA Sport