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Phuket Gazette Sports: Must provoke things – Arsene Wenger

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Arsenal seek unlikely escape route in Munich
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

“Our mentality is to go there, not resigned, but ambitious and provoke things, not go there and think ‘we will not qualify anyway,” Wenger said yesterday before leaving for Bayern Munich.

PHUKET: Arsenal must stage one of the most unlikely Champions League comebacks if they are to advance at the expense of hosts Bayern Munich in their round of 16 second leg clash tomorrow night.

Bayern silenced the Gunners 3-1 in London last month (click here for match review), to put themselves in the driving seat for a spot in the quarter-finals for the third time in the last four seasons.

Only twice in the Champions League has a team lost the home leg of a knockout round match and survived by winning the away leg. Ajax Amsterdam did it in 1995-96 against Panathinaikos and Inter Milan did it in the last 16 in 2010-11 – coincidentally against Bayern.

The Germans won 1-0 in Milan in the first leg, before losing 3-2 at home and going out on the away goals rule.

Arsenal though have two goals to make up and must overcome the psychological disadvantage of having been completely outplayed by Bayern in north London – something coach Arsene Wenger was at pains to point out before the squad left for Germany.

“We’re chasing the game in a very difficult environment against a team that has no doubts at all,” he said.

“Our mentality is to go there, not resigned, but ambitious and provoke things, not go there and think ‘we will not qualify anyway’.

“No, not at all. We will go to Munich and have to go there and give ourselves a chance to qualify with everybody believing we can do it.”

Arsenal are likely to be without defender Bacary Sagna who is nursing a long-term leg injury though Germans Per Mertesacker and former Bayern player Lukas Podolski would love nothing more than a victory back in their homeland.

“We have to behave on the football pitch like a team who wants to do it. That will be the task in the preparation. How will we go into the game tactically? I haven’t decided yet. It will be with an ambitious plan, that is for sure.”

“There have been a few wins by Arsenal in the Champions League that we are all very proud of. We just have to convince ourselves that we can do it in Munich as well,” he said.

Probable teams:

Bayern Munich: 1-Manuel Neuer; 21-Philipp Lahm, 5-Daniel Van Buyten, 4-Dante, 27-David Alaba; 8-Javi Martinez, 30-Luiz Gustavo; 25-Thomas Mueller, 39-Toni Kroos, 10-Arjen Robben; 9-Mario Mandzukic

Arsenal: 1-Wojciech Szczesny; 25-Carl Jenkinson, 4-Per Mertesacker, 5-Thomas Vermaelen, 2-Abou Diaby; 14-Theo Walcott, 8-Mikel Arteta, 19-Santi Cazorla, 10-Jack Wilshere; 9-Lukas Podolski, 12-Oliver Giroud

Referee: Pavel Kralovec (Czech Republic)

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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