Bayern Munich vs Arsenal: Champions League Preview, Team News

With the Bundesliga title chase over, Bayern Munich turn their attention to the Champions League second-leg tie against Arsenal.
Arsenal FC v FC Bayern München: Quarter-final First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Arsenal FC v FC Bayern München: Quarter-final First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Catherine Ivill - AMA/GettyImages
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Arsenal FC v FC Bayern München: Quarter-final First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Arsenal travels to Allianz Arena for the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday. / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Arsenal Team News

With the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final at the Emirates Stadium, surely Mikel
Arteta would have hoped to take something to Munich. While he travels to the Allianz Arena all square, he knows he will need to improve on the last two Arsenal performances. Following the 2-2 draw to Bayern Munich, Arsenal suffered a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa at home. The 2-0 defeat certainly puts a dent in Arsenal's quest for a premier league title and leaves the squad with questions as they approach the second leg.

David Raya will continue in goal for Arsenal and should have William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes in front of him. Ben While will start on the right and look to get forward to overload Bayern's left flank. Similarly to Bayern, I think Arsenal will have some selection issues at left-back. Polish left-back Jakub Kiwior got the start in London for the first leg but was victim to Sane's fantastic solo run leading to Harry Kane's penalty. Oleksandr Zinchenko came in at halftime to provide a possession outlet while playing out from the back but he was poor over the weekend in Arsenal's 2-0 loss to Villa. Depending on how Arteta wants to play in this game will largely depend on who gets the start. I'm going to say Zinchenko but this is a toss-up because I don't think either can contain Sane.

Martin Odegaard, Jorginho, and Declan Rice all started centrally for Arsenal in London, and I don't expect a change. I could see Kai Havertz dropping into the midfield for Jorginho, allowing Gabriel Jesus to get the start centrally, but I think Arteta sticks with the same midfield three for the game in Munich.

Bukayo Saka was excellent in the first leg and should continue to give the Bayern defense issues on the right. Gabriel Martinelli started in London but was subbed off for Leandro Trossard who would equalize for Arsenal. I think Trossard gets the start in Munich. Kai Havertz will start on his return to Germany, but Jesus' ability to give the Bayern Munich defense a different look could entice Arteta to start him as the number 9.

Expected Arsenal Starting XI: Raya - White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko- Odegaard, Jorginho, Rice - Saka, Havertz, Trossard

Score Prediction: Bayern Munich 2-1 Arsenal (4-3 Agg)

I honestly have no idea how this match is going to go. Porto laid a blueprint for how to manage Arsenal, and much of it requires you to not have the ball and force play wide to deal with their wide overloads. Tuchel and company executed this superbly in the first leg. Aston Villa set up similarly and dealt with Arsenal over the weekend. Now coming to Munich, Tuchel will be expected to dominate play, something Bayern has struggled to do when asked to control the game. Will Tuchel sit off a bit more and concede possession in the Allianz? I can't see it, which leads me to really fear the space given to Arsenal's midfield. My hope is the squad sees this as the last opportunity for success this season and finds the balance of defense and attack required to knock Arsenal out of Europe again.