Tuesday, April 16, 2024

It’s Bayern again, but this time should be different

Morning all.

A quick Saturday round-up for you, starting with the Champions League draw that saw us paired with a familiar foe: Bayern Munich. We discuss it at length in the latest Arsecast, but some brief thoughts here.

I think it’s an exciting tie, for all kinds of reasons. Even if Bayern aren’t running away with the Bundesliga for once, it’s not as if they’re a terrible team all of a sudden. They’ve had some struggles, no doubt about it, but you also have to acknowledge that Bayer Leverkeusen are having an extraordinary campaign to sit 10 points clear at the top of the table, without having lost a game yet.

Still, Bayern Munich have scored 73 goals in their 25 games (10 more than Leverkusen), and when you take a moment to look through their squad, it is packed with players of the highest quality. And also Harry Kane. His presence will be a big part of the narrative around these ties, for obvious reasons, but it’s up to us to ensure that his first season in Germany ends in European disappointment before he goes on to pick up his trophy for top scorer in the Bundesliga which, as we all know by now, is – somewhat hilariously – a cannon.

This is not the same Bayern who beat us 5-1 twice in a row, but it’s also not the same Arsenal. We lack experience at this level, and that’s something we shouldn’t gloss over. I think it was evident in the Porto ties, and it’s part of the challenge we’ll face going into the two games here. This is where we want to be though, and pound for pound I think we’ve got the quality to give it a really good go. The ‘revenge’ aspect is something that I think we’ll experience as fans, but maybe not so much the players. They are distinct from those heavy defeats, but I think we’ll all be keen to make up for the way those games went.

The first leg is at home on April 9th, and Bayern fans are banned from attending by UEFA because of an incident with fireworks being thrown onto the pitch in their game against Lazio. That means the Emirates will be 100% Arsenal (beyond the inevitable corporate element and the occasional German interloper). The second leg in Munich takes place on April 17th, and our reward – should we make progress – is a semi-final against the winner of Real Madrid v Man City. Obviously I hope that’s Madrid, not because I think it’d be ‘easier’ but I can’t explain how much I hate facing English opposition in Europe – the scars of previous encounters just haven’t healed properly. Also, I want to see a Pep fuming after a scandalous refereeing decision is enough to see Real through and he comes to the realisation that there still are some things money can’t buy.

Going back to Bayern for a sec, I suspect that Mikel Arteta will be on the phone to his pal Xabi Alonso for some advice. Leverkusen drew 2-2 in Munich earlier in the season, and beat them 3-0 at home a few weeks ago. We are entering the era of Basque dominance, and hopefully this connection is a useful one for us in the build-up.

The European fixture list has also impacted the Premier League, as our game against Aston Villa which was due to take place on Saturday April 13th will now be played on Sunday 14th (Villa are in Europa League action on the Thursday). Arsenal have already said that it will be rescheduled for the 4.30pm kick off, but we await official confirmation of that. I think it’s fairly certain to be the case though, if you’re making travel plans etc.

Finally, it was a disappointing night last night for Arsenal Women, losing 3-1 to Chelsea, a result which is a big blow to the team’s WSL title chances. Tim has all the reaction etc over on Arseblog News.

Right, let’s leave it there for this morning. Have a great Saturday on an Arsenal free weekend. More tomorrow, until then.

Related articles

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast