The Breakdown: Bayern Munich preview

We return to Champions League action against Bayern Munich on Tuesday, and ahead of the game tactical expert Michael Cox analyses our opponents.


Carlo Ancelotti is one of Europe's most respected coaches and a three-time winner of the Champions League, triumphing with both Milan and Real Madrid. He has a reputation for building flexible sides based around the demands of his star players, and has allowed key individuals more freedom than they were afforded during Pep Guardiola's three-year reign.


Bayern played a fairly standard 4-2-3-1 system in the reverse fixture and are likely to deploy a similar shape here. Thiago Alcantara and Arturo Vidal may play slightly more conservatively, sitting closer to Xabi Alonso and ensuring Munich hold on to the ball for long periods and calming the tempo.


Bayern have one of the most technically-gifted defences you'll ever see. Philipp Lahm, Mats Hummels, Javi Martinez and David Alaba all have experience of playing in central midfield which underlines the incredible passing quality from deep in this Bayern side. Arsenal will need to press to cause problems.


Bayern have plenty of dangerous attackers, but Arsenal's first task must be to disrupt their passing. Alonso was typically brilliant in the reverse fixture, running the game from his classic deep-lying midfield role. His 100 passes completed was four times more than any Arsenal player and he must be closed down quickly here if the Gunners are to stand any chance of disrupting play and putting the German champions on the back foot.


Bayern's wingers, Arjen Robben and Diego Costa, aren't the most natural defensive-minded players in terms of tracking opposition full-backs. If Arsenal's full-backs push forward, they might find freedom.

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