The time has come, my beloved Gooner fam and friends. The inevitable and ultimate underdog battle vs. European fútbol hegemony: Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich. No matter how much the odds are stacked against us, I always bet on an Arsenal victory in this fixture (I know you take solace in the 2-0 at the Allianz too). Always.
So despite a shocking, messy start to the 2015-16 Champions League campaign – with dreadful defeats to Dinamo Zagreb (2-1) and Olympiakos (2-3) – I think the Gunners can (and will) snag a home win vs. Bayern at the Emirates on Tuesday. Here’s why: we have Chilean superhuman Alexis Sánchez, and we have insane attacking potential from almost every position on the pitch. We need to attack? Check. We need to score the first goal? Check. We want to “make something special against Bayern Munich as it is the only way we can keep in the race“? Okay. Let’s do this.
Arsene Wenger has been quoted saying, “I could rest Ozil and Sanchez and we have of course to put pace into this game and play against a big team.” With Everton on the horizon, resting Alexis – who contributed a goal and 79 minutes in the Gunners’ 3-0 win over Watford after two hard-fought international games – might seem wise. But if we want a shot at the round of 16 and a treble-winning season (yes, a very real and achievable thing in my mind), then the Chilean crack needs to be on the field. Who better to jump start the attack with pace and creativity than the man who has 28 take-ons in EPL action this season, the second most of any player behind Riyad Mahrez? Just play him, Prof. Please.
This is not to say that Alexis is the only man capable of providing the attacking spark and quick goal fest we so desire. Santi Cazorla and Héctor Bellerín are two other jugadorazos whose importance may often go unnoticed, but who are equally as capable of producing offense from deeper positions.
My unequivocal and unmatched love and support for the little Spanish midfield maestro Santi Cazorla is no secret. He’s brilliant; his foot skills rival the very best of the best, and his extraordinary vision has led to him becoming the highest assist giver since arriving in the EPL in August 2012. If Arsenal aspires to score early and often against Bayern, Santi will need touches. Santi touches → dangerous attack → goals!
He’ll need to defend too, to be sure. For those of you who say that he’s incapable of doing so:
Héctor Bellerín could prove to be another key for the goonsquad. We want to attack, right? Well, we have the potential to do so, and it starts with our defensive line (lest we forget that the Spanish U-21 international joined as a winger from Barcelona). Perhaps we’ll see an assist from him that night?
Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina will be missing in action (unfortunately to the relief of Gooners everywhere at the moment), so Petr Cech will lead the squad between the posts. Will this be the day that Gunners get their UCL campaign back on track?