This time last year, Arsenal arrived into the Bayern Munich match in an absolutely horrible state. Yeah, remember? The Gunners lost 1-0 to a lower league side in the FA Cup, (Blackburn).
However this time round, we're off the back of key players being rested, and a 2-1 win against Liverpool.
Last year something horribly went wrong for the Gunners. The absence of an available left-back for example, and an out of form Thomas Vermaelen 'filling in' in said position, was already a handicap. I remember watching the match and seeing an under-performing Aaron Ramsey give the ball away to Toni Kroos, who stroked the ball past Szczęsny within the first 10-15 minutes.
Things went from bad to worse when two sloppily conceded goals put us effectively out of the Champions League, and ended the Gunners' season.
Fast-forward three weeks to the replay at the Allianz Arena. We all witnessed a magical act of glory from the Arsenal team.
Effectively some of a reserve team, including the likes of Jenkinson, Gervinho and Fabianski, took the fight to Bayern.
They gave out a good fight and earned a well-deserved 2-0 win which led the North London side to a great end of season which saw players like Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, and the grand emergence of the Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, all perform at top levels to give the team a platform to come up to the title chase, and to give Bayern a great game.
On the flip-side, Bayern have practically won every game this season, and are 16 points clear in the Bundesliga. They finished their group top, however, one thing that may affect their flowing game tomorrow is a pinnacle thing:
Frank Ribery out. Xherdan Shaqiri is also out after the 4-0 massacre of Freiburg. However, this shan't be just a boost for Arsenal, nonetheless they have great depth still in depth, Arjen Robben for example can cut across to the left and play there if needed.
Back to Arsene Wenger; him and Wilshere in the Champions League press conference said to the media: "we are in a strong position", and insisted that they have "great belief and spirit".
This tells us that unlike last year, the French professor is certainly in it to win it.
If, as they say, "every minute counts', the boss and Wilshere will be hoping they can stay in it for the first part of the 180 minutes tonight.
Predicted XI: Szczęsny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Wilshere, Rosicky, Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud.
Yes Giroud, even after his runaround in the media this week.
Not so sure about this, I'm not sure Arsenal will win it, but I'm sure they can. This is brave, however I'll say Arsenal 1 - Bayern Munich 0
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