Wenger wants Arsenal to play with freedom against Bayern Munich
As if a trip to the Allianz Arena wasn’t daunting enough, the Gunners have to score at least three times to have any chance of progressing to the quarter-finals, having been thumped 3-1 in the first-leg.
No side has managed that all season against the Bavarians but that’s not stopping Wenger from claiming his team could make history.
“It is not mission impossible,” the manager said. “It can be done, but first of all you need 100 per cent commitment, attitude and things to go your way. But usually football goes your way when you have the right attitude.
“There is a kind of feeling of ‘let’s really play with freedom’. Let’s start strong. We have to create doubt in their mind and you only do that if you have a real go.
“The chance you have is to make insecure the certainty Bayern have at the moment. That you can only do if you perform at your best.”
It goes without saying that Arsenal need to strike early, however, Wenger believes the key for his side is keeping their composure.
“We can have a real go without being silly,” he added.
“We can’t think that the game lasts 30 minutes and throw everything forward from the first minute on. We want to be positive but also intelligent.”
Making matters worse for Wenger, though, is that he’ll have to pull off the miracle without talisman Jack Wilshere.
The 21-year-old has been struck down by an ankle injury that will keep on the sidelines for the next three weeks. Fortunately for Wilshere, it’s not the same ankle that kept him out the whole of last season.
And Wenger believes that time without him will serve Arsenal well tonight, saying: “He was out for 17 months and we had to deal with it, we must be able to deal with it for two or three games.”
Bayern have squad concerns of their own with Franck Ribery out injured while Bastian Schweinsteiger and Jerome Boateng are both suspended.
But despite missing such firepower, Thomas Muller insists there’s no chance of his side sitting on their lead.
“We are not going to sit back and crowd the defense,” Mueller said. “They have nothing to lose, they can attack all the way. We have to be careful.”
THE BIG MATCH
Before the game there was a sense of inevitability that Bayern would beat Arsenal. But the manner in which they bullied the North Londoners three weeks ago still shocked.
The Gunners were blown off the park and could have easily been more than 2-0 down at half-time, such was the dominance of the Germans. Having conceded three away goals it will take more than a miracle for Arsenal to go through.
We don’t expect that to happen, but we’re looking forward to having another look at Bayern who could well end up as European champions come May.
The Bavarian giants were superb in the first-leg. From the first kick they dominated and looked powerful in every department. Even without the suspended Bastian Schweinsteiger the midfield is world-class. Toni Kroos (R) and Thomas Muller would walk into most teams in the world and will once again dictate play tonight.
Bayern may be dominant going forward but the game plan will be built on solidity at the back and they’ll be looking to shut out the visitors to the Allianz Arena.
Even with Jack Wilshere they would have faced a mountain to climb. Without their midfield maestro, and only spark in the first-leg, the chances of them reaching the summit are next to nil. They have to attack and throw caution to the wind.
That will inevitably leave Arsenal’s backline exposed, which, considering Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen (L) aren’t playing well, all adds up to a European exit.