Thanks for all of your comments and questions. Rafa has signed off. Here are some football pickings for your entertainment this morning:
• Which day of the year could field the best team of players born that day?
• Lionel Messi’s influence puts Barcelona strife in the shadows
Enjoy the match tonight.
If Arsenal somehow manage to overcome Bayern over 180 minutes, do you think Guardiola will still be in Munich next year considering that the domestic doule is almost done?
If Mario Götze outshines Mesut Özil tonight, will Özil be in serious danger of losing his place in Germany’s starting eleven at the World Cup to him? Or is Özil protected by the Lex Klose, i.e. the fact that Joachim Löw never benches one of his favourites?
I know success breeds confidence (as if this Bayern squad need any more!) and Guardiola will drum it into them not to be but is there even a slight possibility that their complete dominance domestically might lead to them underestimating an Arsenal team who seem to be displaying a bit more bite than last year - Surely Arsenal will give them a sterner test than they have been routinely facing each week?
A worried and slightly deluded Arsenal fan (I think we’ll win 2-0!)
Despite Wenger’s reluctance to use Podolski, (any insight on why that might be Rafa?) I genuinely believe that he could do a job tonight for Arsenal. A front four of Ozil, Rosicky, Podolski and Giroud would give Bayern a lot to think about as they all offer something different going forward. Thoughts?
As a thought experiment, which would be the stronger side if the managers are switched to work the different group of players?
How do you think Pep would react if Arsenal took the lead in the first few minutes and sat back to defend deep?
Arsenal seemed to struggle against Liverpool’s pressing style recently. How different is Bayern’s style of pressing and will Arsenal be able to deal with it?
Do you think Guardiola’s management style is sustainable? His intensity is ferocious and makes me wonder how long he can keep that up for – it seemed that he ran himself into the ground at Barça. Wenger is obviously a workaholic also, but seems to have found a rhythm he can maintain year after year while keeping standards extremely high.
Hi Rafa. Mandžukić to Arsenal – is this a more realistic option for the summer rather than Draxler?
Do Wenger and Guardiola represent two extremes in management style: Wenger letting his players decide the tempo/pace of the match vs. Guardiola who micromanages each and every aspect of the team’s play?
Doesn’t Guardiola just inherit already brilliant teams – i.e. from Barcelona to Bayern Munich?
Do you think Lahm will be in the holding role tonight, or will Pep be more conservative, and stick him back on the right, perhaps with Thiago in the middle? What do you think is the best option against the Arsenal midfield? And any chance Schweinsteiger will be fit enough to make a cameo?
Rafa is online
Morning Rafa. What do you make of the contract situation with Toni Kroos? Do you think he wants to stay? If he doesn’t, is Manchester his likely destination and will he be easily replaced, perhaps internally?
Rafa will be here from 10.30am GMT
Good morning. Rafa will be here from 10.30am, but in the meantime here are some of our previews for tonight’s match:
Perhaps there is some encouragement to be drawn for Arsenal from the fact that last time they played Bayern Munich, they won. Perhaps there is some encouragement to be drawn from the thought that, last season, Bayern only beat them on away goals, that no side came as close to eliminating Bayern from the Champions League as they did. But then you think back to the first leg, to Bayern’s 3-1 win at the Emirates, and the gulf between the sides becomes obvious. Arsenal have improved since then, but so too have Bayern and, under Pep Guardiola, they are as tactically flexible as any side in Europe. Contine reading
1) He keeps his opponents guessing
2) Continuous innovation through micro-management
3) Shows no fear when mixing-up play
4) Has reshaped the attack to offer three options
5) Makes the most out of weaknesses
It’s a little hard to tell from his tone of voice but the words suggest that Philipp Lahm is excited. “We go into the game with tremendous anticipation,” says the Bayern Munich captain of Wednesday’s Champions League meeting at Arsenal. He naturally recalls “happy memories” from their past two trips to London – a 3-1 win at the Emirates in the Champions League at the same last 16 stage exactly a year ago and the Wembley triumph against Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in May – but the real thrill comes courtesy of a relevance and sense of occasion that has been all but missing in the treble-winner’s season so far. Continue reading
Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker believes Bayern Munich are “untouchable” but is still hoping the Gunners can spring an upset when they meet in the Champions League on Wednesday night: “Bayern are untouchable at the moment, both in the Bundesliga and in Europe. The only thing that makes me positive is that we beat them in Munich last year. That allows us to go into the game with a certain degree of faith. We’re going to give it our best.” Continue reading
Drop your questions in the comments sections below. Enjoy the webchat.