The Champions League is back and what a corking Round of 16 it has served up. Tucked in amongst PSG vs Barcelona and Real Madrid vs Napoli we find this little gem: Arsenal’s trip to Germany to take on Bayern Munich on Wednesday evening.
The knives have been out for Arsene Wenger and his side of late, so can they produce one of the upsets of the season and take down the German champions in their own backyard?
A look at the head-to-heads between the two reveals that the Gunners have some previous when it comes to upsetting the odds against Bayern. They have won three of their last ten meetings, but most important was the 2-0 win in Munich in March 2013. They also beat the German champions in London in October 2015….although just a fortnight later they were on the end of a 5-1 thrashing at the Allianz Arena.
The real concern for Arsenal fans is that they would probably expect Bayern to score in the second leg at the Emirates, and such an away goal would obviously give them a huge advantage? So will Arsene Wenger set his side loose against Bayern here in the hope of nicking an away goal of his own? That seems unlikely.
Arsenal’s shots on target ratio on the road in the Premier League is +1.42, which isn’t bad when you consider that Chelsea’s is +1.59. But the difference here could be psychology: the Gunners simply aren’t going to play their natural game in Germany, whether by design or through fear.
Bayern’s shots on target ratio at home is +4.60, and that basically tells us that they carve open their opponents with gay abandon at the Allianz Arena; bad news for an Arsenal side that has conceded ten goals in their last five away games and shipped in 9/12 in total this term. They have won just one of their last five away days too.
Bayern remain unbeaten at home (W7 D3 L0) and clearly this is where they do their best work. Their most recent Champions League record at the Allianz Arena reads W17 D1 L2….Arsenal are W10 D4 L6 on the road for the same period.
As a result, we simply cannot offer up anything other than a Bayern Munich victory here; unfortunately 1/2 is the very best price punters can get.
In the context of the tie as a whole, much will depend on Arsenal’s ability to find an away goal. Without one, you would suggest it will be curtains for Wenger’s men.
As we know, they do have an excellent record for finding the net; they’ve bagged in 23 of 25 Premier League matches this term, and in each of their last ten Champions League away days – a run which has coincided with fixtures in Monaco, Munich, Barcelona and Paris. As such, the Gunners have a habit of notching in big away fixtures.
There’s also the consolation of knowing that Bayern will be without key centre back Jerome Boateng too, who is just working his way back from injury. The door is ajar for the Gunners, and Both Teams to Score appears to be a viable investment.
Some matches offer up plenty of evidence that points towards a Correct Score wager or two, and that is certainly the case here. Putting everything we have learned into the mixer, backing Bayern to win 2-1 or 3-1 seems excellent value.
Bayern Munich to Win (1/2 with bet365)
Both Teams to Score (4/5 with Betfair)
Bayern to Win 2-1 (7/1 with Coral)
Bayern to Win 3-1 (12/1 with William Hill)