Arsenal’s search for silverware looks set to roll on to another season following defeat to Blackburn in the FA Cup on Saturday. The loss followed on from their Capital One Cup exit to Bradford earlier this campaign and, unless they can go all the way in the Champions League, means that they will now be seven long seasons without silverware at the Emirates.
Such barren spells for Bayern Munich are unfathomable. Germany’s most successful club currently sit 15 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, looking certain to make it title number 23. And with Pep Guardiola’s impending arrival in the summer, these are good times to be a Bayern fan.
Since the winter break Jupp Heynckes side have won all five league matches without conceding a goal and scoring 13. Amazingly, Bayern Munich have only conceded one away goal in 11 Bundesliga away games this season.
Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen each overcame respective niggling injuries to play against Blackburn on Saturday and should therefore be okay for this one. Jack Wilshere came off the bench for the final 20 minutes and is also expected to be available here following a thigh injury picked up against Sunderland.
Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott also made appearances from the substitute’s bench at the weekend, but will slot straight back into the XI now. Kieran Gibbs is still a month or so away from making a return.
Arjen Robben has been restricted to a place on the bench since the winter break, but there could be a temptation to start him here given his impact against English clubs in the past. Mario Gomez also finds himself unable to break into the starting XI, such is the strength and depth of this Bayern side. Javi Martinez missed the weekend win over Wolfsburg, but he is expected to be back this Tuesday.
The two clubs last met at this very stage of the Champions League eight years ago. The first leg, played in Germany, finished 3-1 in favour of the hosts, then back at Highbury Thierry Henry’s second-half goal was all that the Gunners could muster in reply. Die Roten progressed to the quarter-finals with a 3-2 aggregate victory.
It’s a stark indication of just how far Arsenal’s stock has fallen in recent years that Bayern should come to North London and be made the odds-on favourites for the win. Not just to qualify, but odds of 20/21 to beat Arsene Wenger’s men on their home patch.
But despite losing to a Championship outfit here only days ago, I feel that is still a little too short, and certainly isn’t a price that I want to be backing. With Cazorla, Wilshere and Walcott back in the side the Gunners are a much more threatening proposition and so I’ll be looking at the 5/6 on Arsenal-Draw in the Double Chance market.
I also like the Evens available on Under 2.5 goals. As mentioned above, Bayern don’t concede many on their travels and are likely to come into this one with the intention of keeping things tight and putting themselves in the driving seat for the return leg.