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Tuesday 19 February 2013

Wenger ready for 'massive' Bayern match

Arsenal manager wants his side to play with belief in Champions League clash

  • Arsene Wenger and Jack Wilshere talk tactics ahead of Tuesday's match

Arsenal will be aiming to bounce back from their FA Cup exit when they take on Bayern Munich in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie.

The Gunners, who lost to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, take on the Bundesliga leaders at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night aiming to reach the last eight for the fourth time in six years.

And manager Arsene Wenger says his team have 'unfinished business' in the Champions League as they try to win the competition for the first time.

"The last few big games we missed the first 20-25 minutes and gave the opposition probably too much respect"
Mikel Arteta

"Of course [the competition] is unfinished business as long as you don’t win it," he said. "If I say to you we will win it this season you will laugh at me because we just lost against Blackburn. But it can happen  football is not predictable.

"It is massive for us. Not because of what happened on Saturday but because we started the season with a lot of scepticism.

"I think we have made improvements and it would be nice for us to continue with this improvement until the end of the season.

"What is important is that we focus on the quality of our game, that we play at our best and play with belief."

Gunners midfielder Mikel Arteta believes his team have to get off to a good start against a side that has reached two of the last three Champions League finals.

"The last few big games we missed the first 20-25 minutes and the gave the opposition probably too much respect. We want to face a different scenario with Bayern and get into the game to show that we want to win it," he said.

"The table of the Premier League of first and second 45 minutes is very different. That shows our qualities are very good, because when teams tire a little bit we are able to [score], but also that we are not ready from the off to do what we want right from the start."

Arsenal will be without left back Nacho Monreal as the new signing is cup-tied but fellow defenders Per Mertesacker and Carl Jenkinson are back in the squad.

Defender Laurent Koscielny will have a fitness test on his injured calf to determine whether he is available to play.

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Key Points

  • Arsenal take on Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday
  • First leg of last-16 contest takes place at the Emirates Stadium
  • Mikel Arteta says starting the match well will be vital