Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.
Arsène Wenger's side travel to play Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday evening. To find out more, we asked tactical expert Michael Cox.
In theory, Arsenal know what to expect from Bayern Munich, having defeated them 2-0 at the Emirates two weeks ago with an excellent defensive display.
However, Pep Guardiola is likely to make changes to his starting XI, responding to the deep defensive block his attackers struggled to penetrate last time.
"David Alaba and Philipp Lahm have been known to push into midfield"
Guardiola effectively used a 4-3-3 system at the Emirates, but might consider switching to the 3-3-1-3 formation he's often used so far this season. This would allow lone striker Robert Lewandowski to be support by another central attacker just behind - Thomas Muller would be a useful option, as he can also get on the end of crosses.
Bayern should offer more wing threat at the Allianz Arena, too. Douglas Costa showed his incredible speed and trickery on the left - although Hector Bellerin coped admirably - while Arjen Robben has returned after injury and could feature on the right to create an incredibly dangerous front four.
Xabi Alonso will anchor the midfield, with Thiago Alcantara and Arturo Vidal hopeful of retaining their places from the reverse fixture, although full-back David Alaba and Philipp Lahm have been known to push into midfield if Guardiola uses a three-man defence.
Alaba could also continue in the centre of defence alongside Jerome Boateng, whose long diagonal balls from the back can surprise teams expecting Bayern to build play through midfield.
However, Guardiola played this combination primarily to guard against Theo Walcott's pace. With Walcott out injured and Olivier Giroud likely to start, Guardiola could opt for the more sturdy Javi Martinez in the centre.
He's a converted midfielder and capable of building play from the back, but lacks raw speed. Of course, Manuel Neuer is always on hand to sweep up behind.
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