Arsenal decided to go without Theo Walcott in the first leg of the Champions League game against Bayern Munich.
It was a major surprise considering that Walcott has been in great form over the last few weeks. The 27-year-old only recently scored hat tricks against the likes of Southampton, while also scoring in the 2-1 loss against Manchester City. Yet, Arsene Wenger has explained the reason for dropping Walcott and going for a defensive formation against the German club. He said that Arsenal have recently come up against Bayern Munich with the second leg at the Allianz Arena. However, this time around, the second leg will be at the Emirates stadium.
As a result, there is a huge psychological difference. Rather than suffer a heavy defeat in the first leg and lose any hope of qualification to the last 8, Arsenal would rather opt for a defensive performance and try to win the game and the tie in front of their own supporters. Wenger is clearly targeting a balanced performance from his team.
Arsenal come into the game with a disappointing form after having recently suffered defeats against the likes of Watford and Chelsea. As a result, confidence is low amongst the Arsenal ranks. Arsenal have also not qualified for the last eight of the Champions League in each of the last six campaigns.
“We usually play the second leg here [Allianz Arena] so tonight is a psychological problem.We want a strong defensive performance [but] we have to go fowrard and get the right balance because Bayern have a lot of possession and we need to defend together. I will play with four midfielders with Ozil as a second striker tonight. It is a big opportunity for him,” said Wenger. Despite the cautious approach, Arsenal ended up losing 5-1.