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Even at full strength, Arsenal beating Bayern Munich is improbable

19 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Even at full strength, Arsenal beating Bayern Munich is improbable

The Gunners' results against the Bavarians - starting at the Emirates on Tuesday - will decide whether they reach the Champions League last 16

Arsene Wenger has confirmed Petr Cech will start against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

That the selection of the club’s first-choice goalkeeper for the crucial Group F clash required clarification reflects just how untidy Arsenal’s Champions League campaign has been so far.

The Frenchman will still believe he was justified to leave out Cech against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos, but the defeats suffered in both renders the decision an unnecessary risk.

How the Gunners perform in their two fixtures against the Germans – starting at the Emirates on Tuesday – will shape whether they reach the competition’s last 16 for the 16th successive season.

Having the world-class Cech between the posts, therefore, is obviously a boost to their chances.

So, too, is the presence of one of the game’s best forwards in Alexis Sanchez.

The 26-year-old notched twice for Chile last week before opening the scoring at Watford on Saturday.

That took him to 10 goals in his last six games and Sanchez is 15/2 to score any time in an Arsenal win.

Unfortunately for the home side, one of the few players in Europe who is in better form than Sanchez happens to play for Tuesday’s opponents.

A leading centre-forward for the last four years, Robert Lewandowski has now entered terrain previously inhabited exclusively by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 27-year-old Poland captain has scored 15 times in his last seven games for club and country – a return that ensured he finished as the 13-goal top scorer in Euro 2016 qualifying.

Lewandowski has scored 16 times in 12 club appearances and is 6/1 to score first in a Bayern win.

As indicated by their price of 10/11, a victory for the visitors is to be expected.

In beating Werder Bremen, Bayern became the first ever team in the Bundesliga to win their first nine matches.

They have six points from six in Europe – defeating their Greek and Croatian opponents 3-0 and 5-0 respectively – and that should become nine from nine considering their recent record at Arsenal.

The Bavarians have won on their previous two visits, most recently in 2013/14 when strikes from Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller secured a 2-0 victory.

And while Arsenal are playing their best football of the season after successive 3-0 victories in the Premier League, their home record in UEFA’s elite club competition remains inauspicious.

Following the 3-2 defeat to Olympiacos in September, the Gunners have now lost six of their last 12 games at the Emirates in the competition proper.

Hardly ideal preparation for facing one of best sides in the tournament, then.

The spirited triumph against Manchester United two weeks ago, however, demonstrated an impressive resolve that has not always been prevalent in Wenger’s post-Invincibles teams.

And that dynamism, aggression and sense of responsibility displayed by Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey then must be repeated – and improved upon – if they are to win.

At 11/4, such an outcome is possible, but improbable.

Not that it needed to be this way.

Because if Wenger’s side do not make it to the knockout stages, the matches against Bayern will not be the ones they look back on with regret.

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