Podolski Redemption v Bayern – Time to unleash Lukas on weakened Munich back line and Rosicky must play

I was not in any mood to be creative today so I am delighted to have  regular guest writer @TAnglefootball, Younis Sultan ready in the wings with a well informed preview of Tuesday’s Champions League tie with the mighty Bayern Munich. Sultan watched the Bundesliga regularly so the insight as we would expect is valuable. I will add a few thoughts at the end but over to Younis…..


Podolski frustrated on bench at Bayern
Podolski frustrated on bench at Bayern

After a shaky start and the predictable doom and gloom hysteria at the Emirates, a very new Arsenal team seem to have finally stabilised. In the past, no matter what was going on in the league Arsenal have always looked different in Europe, now however with this new group of players this is their first real chance to show their European hand.  Bayern on the other hand are very firmly favourites and for good reason, in the league they’re flying and with 15 points and more than double the amount of goal difference between them and second place Dortmund the Bundesliga, bar a miracle, is going to Bavaria. Having witnessed their fiercest rivals win back to back titles and finish second place in every competition they entered last season including a home Champions League final, Bayern came back with few minor additions from the transfer market but with killer desire and ruthless attitude.

Evident by the start Bayern have made, rivalry, old scars and history are much more practical than in England which is why Lukas Podolski must start this game. Podolski was once one of the brightest talents in Europe and at the age of 21 secured a move to Bayern Munich. After getting off to a decent start injuries and moving down in the pecking order meant that Podolski had to leave Bayern after mustering a measly 15 league goals after 71 league games. He  eventually moved back to Koln and is even to this day much maligned in the media for his spell at Bayern, some even citing this as evidence he would flop at Arsenal. They branded Podolski a failure and suggested that he could never fit in at a big club. Whilst the man himself has played down the link and not commenting much on his time there, after starting on the bench for the last three games Podolski must be chomping at the bit for a game and it seems Wenger may have planned this one out perfectly.


The celebration we all ant to see again on Tues after Montpelier wonder goal
The celebration we all want to see again on Tues after Montpelier wonder goal

Despite our apparent problems at the back, Bayern’s list of viable centre back options is not very long either. It will be difficult for their coach Hynckes to finalise a strong back line.With Badstuber out for what seems to be the remainder of the season  2 of Boateng, Van Buyten and Dante have been playing in the League. Boateng however is suspended for the Arsenal game after receiving a straight red in the final game of the group stages, Hynckes may opt to play Javi Martinez at centre back and plug Luis Gustavo into midfield. Whatever Bayern decide to go with at the back it certainly won’t be totally familiar to them with 2 first choices missing. I think we all saw in the England v Brazil game that Dante is not the strongest and Van Buyten at 35 is certainly not the player he once was. The challenge for the Gunners is for whichever front 3 are selected to all be at their best from the first whistle and pace will be key.

Unlike at the back the options are there for Arsenal in attack, one of them would be to start Aaron Ramsey in place of Mikel Arteta. It’s a risk given the defensive stability Arteta has adds but there doesn’t seem to be much of that around at the Emirates anymore. Arteta’s focus and determination seems to be to his detriment, his focus on being in the right defensive position and less risky approach with the ball is sometimes a hindrance. Aaron Ramsey is more forward thinking and is an iron lungs type of player meaning he can contribute to the team in attack but also have the pace to get back and be in the correct defensive positions. This will be an important for Arsenal on Tuesday, Bayern are much more comfortable controlling the play and having more possession so it’s imperative that Arsenal attack Bayern from the off and ensure that they play a football that is uncomfortable to them and force them to try their counter.

Ramsey for Arteta. A brave decision but perhaps now is time for risks?
Ramsey for Arteta. A brave decision but perhaps now is time for risks?

Counter attacking is not one of Bayern’s strongest points they’re players are much more suited to having the ball and lots of it, in the League so far they have had 63.9% possession and have only scored 8 of their 57 goals on the counter. However if there’s anything we’ve learned about Arsenal in the past week however, it’s the fact that they are unpredictable. Seeing them knocked out in both other competitions by lower league opposite despite being comfortable favourites, it remains to be seen how they will handle the underdog tags.

Thanks Younis and make sure you follow on twitter @TAnglefootball. It sounds as if possession and pressing them high up the pitch is the order of the day. We are at home and the onus is on us to take the game to them, win the tie and take a lead to Germany in 3 weeks. Anything less after yesterday’s debacle is not acceptable.

From my perspective having rested him for the last 2 league games, barring a 23 minute match winning cameo v Stoke there was no excuse for Wenger resting Lukas for the Blackburn game. He is undoubtedly the best finisher at the club and that combined with his history with Bayern makes him an essential starter. Sadly it is all too late but Tuesday has to be about restoring pride in the teams performance.

I don’t generally do match previews but having learned from Younis’s insight I am inclined to agree with him that Ramsey having been rested on Saturday should get the nod but as always after a shameful defeat I naturally look to committed hungry players to pull on the red and white.

Consequently here is my probably surprising and unpopular selection:


I doubt many will agree. Most would always have Santi in the team but for me Rosicky was our only driving force yesterday. He runs for 90 minutes never gives up on a lost cause and what those in stadium yesterday will have seen and those not may have missed was that he behaved like a captain. When Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho missed chances he ran to them, patted them on the back and gave words of encouragement. He is always looking for a forward pass and never frightened to try something out of the ordinary. When Santi did come on, he like Arteta and Diaby yesterday slowed us down. TR7 was our best player against Milan at home last season nearly driving a weakened side to an improbable comeback. He dropped to the ground having given his body and soul for 90 minutes and everyone in the stadium saw what it meant, just as they see it with Jack.

Nobody gave more at this stage last season than Rozza
Nobody gave more at this stage last season than Rozza

This could mean Santi wide left but Podolski must play there. The only other way to incorporate both Cazorla and Rosicky is to leave out Giroud and play Theo centrally. This is the one option I would accept but still feel if we can get beyond their full backs and whip crossed in Giroud will be a threat.

My logic for having Sagna at left back is his experience and the fact that Muller frequently cuts inside anyway and rarely look s to drive to the bye-line of the outside.

Please don’t take this as me writing off Cazorla by any means as he is a super player but for this game I want freshness, passion and constant forward momentum. This is what is required to get the Emirates rocking and to make the crowd the 12th man as we were that wonderful night against Barca and Rambo, Jack and TR7 will give us that.

Having said all this some one in the Tollington before the match yesterday did point out that if I could I would have Rosicky’s babies. Funny guy you should all follow him on twitter @Alanpickrell

Like what you read? Agree/disagree? Leave a comment below or follow me or comment on this blog on Twitter – http://twitter.com/goonerdave66



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  1. I pretty much agree with leaving Giroud out, not because I have anything against the him – I really like him. But, I’ll rather have super-quick trio in the final third (Santi, Theo, Poldi) seeing that we aren’t exactly delivering great crosses atm plus Olivier will provide a great option from the bed should the need arise – I hope not.

  2. I dont know which point to contradict first, but I think removing the mental image of Ribery against Jenko of ur lineup will be the first on my list. Sagna has not been brilliant uptill now, but looking at the fact that Jenko could not handle Johnson or Sessegnon against Sunderland, there is no chance Wenger will play him. Moreover Sagna jumping prowess is his most useful assest….which we missed most in the Blackburn game when Theo/Coquelin were outjumped in the build up to their goal.

    U urself say that Martinez will be shifted to the back 4, then why the heck shud Cazorla be left out. If Santi is good at 1 thing it is getting in between the lines, and his biggest threat here wud be Martinez playing at CDM. And any way Rosicky and Giroud have no coordination at all……Mozart puts in all the wrong passes for the Frenchman’s opposite movement.

    I expect Koscienly to deal with Gomez/Mandzukic and if Vermaelen deals with Muller, our only problem would be the superb Kroos screwing Arteta for nuts. Ramsey might possibly be better in that job….but the Welshman is way too naive in his positioning. Jack wud be too restricted in his forward surges if this be the case.

    1. Sagan has NOT been brilliant up to now. In fact he’s been our worst defender by a mile since coming into the team and only played one decent game, v Sunderland as a CB.

  3. why ramsey…why all this fuss abt the british core….hw many times is arteta disposesed? rosicky on the team the athors are full of running he drives the team….pliz dnt strt diaby

    1. Mate it is nothing to do with British core or I would not be calling for Rosicky. I have lauded Arteta on this site since before he signed when I suggested he should but yesterday he looked laboured and slow, whilst Ramsey is fresh is all

      1. agree, TR7 should play. The way he played against Blackburn showed it. HE PLAY WITH HEART FOR ARSENAL.

  4. Dante has been excellent this season. Van Buyten will also start.
    Bayern’s midfield will dominate Arsenal.

  5. I was so thrilled with Rosicky’s moves yesterday that I tweeted this: ”
    Rosicky is the epitomy of the sexy
    football #Arsenal stands for. Isn’t he
    sweet on the ball?”. Truth be told, I miss those days Rosicky and Cesc used to play to sweet passes together that left you in total bewilderment. But I don’t know if, despite my admiration for him, I would want to see Santi on the bench again – that’s what a loss like yesterday does to your reasoning.
    Podolski to me is a must and a win Tuesday night is a must. Beside that, my analytical mind is very wobbly right now.
    Thanks for the post guys.

  6. This is not happening to disappoint. Do you REALLY think Wenger will rest Cazorla, Wilshere, and Arteta, Wenger’s first choice midfield? Our attack should be this: Cazorla-Wilshere-Rosicky-Arteta-Podolski. Walcott upfront. This will give us the best chance to beat them.

    1. I have no real issue with you selection but I do feel Giroud will trouble them and Theo miles better as wide striker. He does not have instincts of a main striker in our formation. If we played old 442 that would be different

  7. The only way i can see us beating Bayern on tuesday (and rest assured if we dont its goodbye CL) is to hit them on the break. They will dominate possession against us. Wilshere is on Barca levels in terms of his ability to press the opposition. Agree with Theo up top but he has to be ready to work his socks off for 90 mins. Giroud shouldn’t be near the first 11. Off the bench, he could be useful as seen v City. Cant even get himself in the 6 yard box and he’s supposed to be a “classic CF”. Podolski is a must but he’s been missing in every big game barring Spurs. Hope that changes

    1. Why arteta amd not Cazorla and why not just blast it down the mildde like the cowards do. Arteta has been shit last 3 games.I’m sorry lads I love the side too but I’m so sick and distressed at our Arsenal.. I know what it is.noticed it years ago and it’s called luck.We have NONE! NEVER!.Fag Ushited have had it since iv followed football! Luck is something everyone should get a fair share of but man u never fail to have there luck and we NEVER EVER HAVE LUCK! Alwaysget a player injured every match.Never get the right decisions.We always have to score the perfect goal cuz u will never see a fluke goal for us.corners u need a bit of luck from..Thats why we don’t score em.i could go on n on.Also..look what team the lose balls always drop to.Never runs for us All you need is luck.. Dun du du.da dunn all u need is luck Luck is all you neeeed..to the beetles song is what we should be singing I’m sick. Bring in Eisfeld and I still can’t believe he let Song go!Wenger could have kept him!Arteta would have time on the ball a bit.more then and it adds that bulk. It all Sick of 1 8

  8. I think Vermaelen should slot in at left back.Play Sagna right as usual and Kos and Per centre. Plus wouldnt it be a good idea for Giroud to come on as a sub??

    1. I would not be against but don’t tend to blog suggesting as I like to be realistic. he has not played system once in 16 years so not likely to try it 1st time on Tuesday for me.

      1. Yeah agree with ya. But on big matches sometimes a change is wot you need and getting our best attacking players all on at same time would be good. Would like to see him try it next season. I’m taking them for the WIN. GUNNERS TIL I DIE.

  9. i’m not going to get too deep into it, but i think the worst thing that couldve happened us is Badstuber being missing,he is one of the worst international centre halves i have ever seen and i include Paul Mc Shane and Phillippe Mexes ahead of him…
    I love Ramsey,but at the Liverpool match, i dont think ive ever seen a man getting “pushed” (i use pushed sparingly,more like handed) off the ball, his passing no doubt might help, but dont think hes strong enough for that position in this game…
    I’d just throw caution to the wing, leave Poldi up top with Giroud, as Poldi not too keen on defensive part of the game anyway,and Giroud does that side of the game alot, but heh thats just my hungover head at work…

  10. Cazorla has to start.
    Rosicky’s goals/assist are pitiful. I think Cazorla has a better goals/assist in 6 months than Rosicky has in the last 5 seasons!

  11. Dave, how about playing three playmakers behind a striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Playing Rosicky,Cazorla and Wilshere (who all have eyes for goals) behind a player that can run into through balls and is equally clinical will certainly create problems for Bayern. Left to me, anyone of podolski or Walcott will do. Also, I think Arteta?s anticipation would come in handy for us hence I think he should partner Rambo in protecting the backline. However,this formation may leave out top players like Giroud,Diaby and one of Poldi or Walcott. Thought, anyone?

  12. Short n sweet from Younis. Well done Dave with adding that extra bit as often been the case at your blog. However, I don’t agree about droping Santi against bayern. As I discussed with you on twitter, I’d be happy to see Santi jack arteta rosicky behind poldi and theo. but since wenger won’t play 4-4-2 , I agree with campus gunner in the very first comment. And have super quick trio of poldi theo and Santi in front of jack, arteta/ramsey and rosicky. Hoping this one goes as per plan!

  13. Also, Sagan at right back and tv5 at lb. Kos n per in the centre will be better, just a thought though.

  14. our line up should be sczeney,saga,koscienly,mertasacker,vermaleen,arteta,Wilshire, rosicky,carzola,walcot with POLDOSKI as top striker. then we can think of victory

  15. I would be tempted to put Podolski up front and leave Giroud on the bench, but Wenger has said that the left is Poldi’s best position so he will surely play him there. Giroud seems to be the only CF that Wenger trusts to play as a CF, so he will probably start, too. Walcott, Cazorla, and Wishere must have been rested for Bayern so they will start. And if all that is true, there is no room for Rosicky.

    The reason I mention that is because I tend to agree with those who think TR7 has a place in the squad, but I am not sure where he would play unless Poldi or Walcott play the striker. Last season, Arsenal started some games Benayoun, Song, Rosicky, and Arteta, so maybe we would try to replicate that. The lineup for the Sunderland game reminded me of that. Poldi was on the bench, though, and I think he is too good to be left there.

    Given the personnel available, for me it comes down to Giroud or Rosicky. I like them both, but I think Rosicky is actually a little more dangerous right now because we seem to have trouble breaking down a defense (an extra creative, skillful midfielder should help), and our crossing is mostly awful (negating some of Giroud’s attributes). In that case, I would prefer a “false nine” rather than a true striker. let the players run into space as it becomes available. They should be good enough to break Bayern or anyone else down.

    PS I hope Jenko is on the bench, for sure.

  16. Sczes,tv,kos,mert,ramsey,arteta,cazorla,rosicky,jack,poldi,theo. Giroud shud come in 2nd half 4 poldi,D game must b based on technicality

  17. I do agree with the tactics to be used against Bayern; we must however show more composure and bite in front of goal. Giroud should sit on the bench a while, for me atm, he is more of a sub-striker than a main striker.

    Bayern has a good defence, let’s not forget that. the fact that they aren’t sharp on the counter doesn’t mean it’s going to be a free-for-all walloping. I wish our boys the best on Tuesday.

  18. u forgot to mention dat dis bayern side cost most damage from outside the box,so we need more bodies behind the ball.so i wouldnt b surprised 2c arteta n rambo starting.
    also, frm set pieces they r a treat,giroud wud help in tracking a few players,arsenal going forward wud need 2get 2 d byline n cut d ball bak for someone 2take a crack.
    if arsenal gets a draw we are lucky.

  19. Sagna at RB and Vermaelen at LB

    Arteta, Jack and Rosicky in the middle

    Walcott, Santi and Poldi up front.

    Has to be our strongest team on paper.

  20. I’m one of rosicky’s biggest fans, even when most arsenal fans had written him off to the glue factory.

    But there’s no way he’s starting this game.

    Santi simply has to start alongside jack. They’re developing a fantastic chemistry there and it is the heartbeat of the side.

    I could see the logic in dropping giroud for pod, but it’s a strange game to do that for the first time in a long time. At least Giroud will work hard and occupy the defenders so that theo and pod can use the spaces he creates. Whoever plays on the left will have a massive job, because there’s not only robben, but lahm too, who is in most games a massive part of bayern’s attack. I think Pod has the workrate and physical speed to support the LB, whoever that may be, which will be crucial in stopping them.

    I too keep a keen eye on the bundesliga, where bayern have bossed it totally, yet I’m feeling surprisingly confident about this one. We’ll be the first team Bayern have played in a long time who can keep possession as well as they can, who won’t just sit deep, let them have it and try to counter. If they try to play their normal game and push up the pitch they will be playing with fire, because with the likes of theo, jack, pod we can tear high lines apart. Let’s hope they believe the press and think it will be a relatively easy game. Then they might just be in for a bit of a surprise…

  21. Aaron Ramsey is more forward thinking? The same Aaron Ramsey who hasn’t scored in the PL for over a year or the same Aaron Ramsey who always dithers on the ball and plays it simple?

  22. Beautiful beautiful read! Couldn’t agree more! Hopefully Lé Prof will take a leap of faith and incorporate these changes.

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