It’s time for the latest installment of Bayern v Arsenal. Unfortunately, I don’t think the outcome will be any different to the last few seasons when the two teams have faced each other in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Arsenal have won three of their last five games in the Premier League. However back-to-back defeats against Watford and Chelsea and a rather unconvincing 2-0 win over Hull City has dampened the mood in recent weeks.
As usual, Bayern Munich are top of the Bundesliga. There have been signs of frailty in some of their recent displays but they have still managed to win vital matches. The German side are seven points clear of second placed team RB Leipzig. In their last five matches, Bayern have won four times and drawn once, including a 3-0 win over nearest rivals RB Leipzig.
Granit Xhaka is available for contention after serving a four game ban for a red card against Burnley. Aaron Ramsey remains sidelined with a calf injury. Arsene Wenger believe Ramsey will be out for three weeks. Hector Bellerin suffered concussion in the recent game against Chelsea. Fortunately he returned against Hull and should retain his place when Arsenal face Bayern at the Allianz Arena.
Jerome Boateng is a long-term absentee at the back for Bayern and Franck Ribery is suffering with a hamstring problem. Carlo Ancelotti hopes Ribery will fit for the Champions League match against Arsenal but said: “it’s a difficult one. We won’t take any risks.”
Bayern are experts at beating Arsenal and Arsenal are experts at losing to Bayern. I can’t see that changing tomorrow or in the second leg at the Emirates where Arsenal have the home advantage. Arsenal don’t have the mental strength to compete with Bayern Munich. My prediction is Bayern Munich 3-1 Arsenal.