Arsenal host Champions League holders Bayern Munich at The Emirates Stadium tonight in a replay of last year’s last 16 tie.
Bayern narrowly prevailed on away goals last time around but Arsene Wenger’s side go into tonight’s mid-week clash second in the table and fresh off a confidence boosting 2-1 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup at the weekend which saw them qualify for the quarter-finals.
Arsenal will be under no illusions of the size of the task they have in front of them tonight. The German side have set a new Champions League record after 10 successive wins in the competition. Guardiola’s side are also unbeaten in the Bundesliga under their new manager and are currently favourites to go through to the last eight.
Arsenal will be without Mikel Arteta through suspension and will be replaced by Tomas Rosicky, whilst Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Kieran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna and Olivier Giroud are all set to return to the starting XI after only making the bench for Saturday’s FA Cup game.
Bayern will be without Franck Ribery and Xherdan Shqiri but are boosted by Bastian Schweinsteiger’s return from an ankle injury and Daniel van Buyten is also fit.
This is the third time that Arsenal and Bayern Munich are meeting in the last 16 of the Champions League. The Bavarian club have progressed both times (2004/05 and 2012/13).
Arsenal have lost their last three home games against German clubs in the Champions League (v Schalke and Bayern Munich last season, v Borussia Dortmund this season).
Bayern Munich have won their last two away games against English teams in the Champions League, both with a 3-1 score-line (against Arsenal and Manchester City).
Arsenal are the only team, alongside Real Madrid, to have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League in every season since the new format in 2003/04.
Manchester City proved late last year that Bayern can be beaten and Arsenal have improved a lot since these two teams met and Bayern went through after a 3-3 aggregate win.
I think Arsenal will come through this at home, despite being definitive underdogs.
Arsenal 2-1 Bayern Munich