It is difficult to talk about this game without adding all the possible context. Bayern Munich are quite possibly the best team in European football at the moment (behind us obviously) and you would imagine that they won't be coming to the Emirates to sit behind the ball so it should make for an interesting game of attacking football.
But this isn't just a game against Bayern Munich is it? It is a game that contains the Zagreb and Olympiacos defeats, it is also a game that has the rest of our Premier League campaign firmly entwined.
In an ideal world we would take six points off Bayern Munich over these next two games, confidence would be flowing and we would go on a crazy winning run both domestically and abroad, no injuries and the quadruple in our sights but the reality is that we will not be able to play that many games at full pelt especially as we have three important squad players in Welbeck, Wilshere and Rosicky not being able to contribute to the first part of this season.
So basically I have written a whole bunch of words to say simply, I am pretty 'whatever' about the game tonight, and that is purely because I think we have a good chance of winning the Premier League, and to do so without midweek Champions League matches would boost our chances. That said, I always want us to win the games we are playing, especially in such a big game.
More importantly though, I wonder what Arsène Wenger is thinking about this fixture. He is usually the optimist and usually puts everything into the Champions League, especially in such a big game where so many eyes will be on our team from around the world.
I expect us to be at full strength and try and win the game but if that is not enough then perhaps our Champions League approach will be different in the remaining matches, we shall wait and see I guess.
Gabriel is back in the squad after minor surgery/illness depending on whom you believe and we have no injuries *scratches head* oh, apart from David Ospina who has a corner kick niggle or something.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
Gabriel is one of the few available players who can currently come into the team without there being a drop off in quality, mainly because he has had more game time under his belt rather than the others having a lack of quality, so I wonder if Arsène will use him. Perhaps allowing big Per to rest those long striding legs.
Two years ago we went at Bayern with great intensity and energy, that clearly shook them and we really should have taken the lead in that game. We should have done but Özil missed his spot kick and the game changed. This Arsenal team today is stronger and more efficient but it is unlikely that Bayern will be caught cold like that again now that they know what to expect. I imagine Bayern will approach the game similar to how Manchester United did two weeks ago but with far greater quality. Hopefully Alexis, Coquelin, Ramsey and co can pressure them when they have the ball and launch a quick, early attack. If we can score from our first few chances then it could be very interesting but if the game settles down then be prepared for long spells without the ball.
They are fully capable of making you look a little silly. Look at what they did to Manchester City two years ago. That bores some people, I personally think it is wonderful to watch and I suspect it is rather draining on the players who are tasked with chasing around after the ball.
We have nothing to lose here so hopefully the handbrake will be off and we can give the German champions a bit of a fright, lets play at a high tempo and impose our quality on them rather than them stroking the ball around like it's a walk in the park but please, nobody get injured because Everton is around the corner and stuff.
Anyway I hope we get an entertaining game, a game in which we play our best football and we will see what happens.