Arsenal face a daunting trip to the Allianz Arena to face Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday and few are expecting the Gunners to come out on top.
The north Londoners have enjoyed a rough patch of form recently and only got themselves back on track with a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Hull at the weekend, following back-to-back defeats to Watford and Chelsea.
But that will be no consolation to the fact that Arsene Wenger's men are doing what the club tend to do best at this time of year; with their form faltering when it matters most.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250-word test article:http://gms.to/haveyoursay4
Some fans boycotted their win at the weekend to show their dissatisfaction with the current situation at the Emirates and few of those fans who were absent at the weekend will be expecting an improvement in midweek.
Bayern Munich have won their last 15 home games in the Champions League and are seven points clear at the top of Bundesliga, having conceded the fewest goals in the league (12).
However, while Carlo Ancelotti's side are showing defensive solidity in their quest for league and European glory, Wenger's Gunners have conceded 28 times in 25 league outings.
And it is their defending, Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker believes, that will have to improve if they are to stand a chance of returning from their last 16 tie against Bayern with a positive result.
“I think defensive discipline is something we have to put back in our minds because it’s something we need desperately,” said Mertesacker, per the London Evening Standard.
“If you want to be at the top, you need discipline. We need to focus on that kind of game where we feel good defensively first, and then from there spread out and find out offensive power.
"You can’t do what we did against Watford, where we gifted them two goals, or what we did against Chelsea, where we lacked that bit of intensity at times.
“The Bayern Munich tie gives us a real chance to do that again. That’s what we want to do, that’s why we play in the Champions League.”
The Gunners defensive difficulties were not helped by the knee injury Mertesacker suffered during pre-season, with the former Germany international hopeful of returning to the Arsenal squad sooner rather than later.
It was previously reported that the 32-year-old would be allowed to leave the Emirates in the summer when his contract runs out, but earlier this month it was revealed that Arsenal are set to extend his deal.
The move appears to suggest they have realised how important the German is to the team, in a period where the club's leaky defense could be costly in their quest for silverware this campaign.
But if Arsenal are to claim a trophy in the form of the Champions League this season, they will have to end a run of six consecutive exits at the last 16 stages.
And unfortunately for Wenger's men, two of those exits have come against their opponents Bayern, in 2013 and 2014, while they were hammered 5-1 at the Allianz Arena in the group stages last campaign.News Now - Sport News