Wenger reveals plans to stop 'outstanding' Lewandowski

The Bayern Munich striker is in sensational form this season, with the Frenchman wary that his side will have to be “shrewd” to keep him quiet on Tuesday

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed how his side will try to stop Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Lewandowski has scored 16 goals in 11 club appearances so far this term, as well as a further six for Poland in their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

And Wenger believes his defenders will have to be at the top of their game to get the better of him.

“First of all the best way to combat him is for us to have the ball,” Wenger was quoted as saying by Arsenal’s official website.

“After that you have to be shrewd with him because inside the box he is outstanding, because of his technique, his finishing, his movement inside the box.

“That’s where we need the experience of Mertesacker and Koscielny to deal with that because that will be one of the important things on the night.”

Bayern are among the favourites to win the Champions League this season, with Pep Guardiola’s outfit top of Group F after wins over Olympiacos and Dinamo Zagreb.

The Bavarians have also triumphed in all nine of their Bundesliga encounters to date, and Wenger believes Arsenal are underdogs ahead of Tuesday’s clash at the Emirates Stadium. 

“You have to respect Bayern,” he said. “Historically they have won the European Cup how many times? Five? And Arsenal zero. So you cannot say that historically we are at the same level as Bayern.

“They have done it in the past and they have the history and the knowledge. What we want is to get there.

“In 2015 we are the team that has taken more points than everybody else. But in Europe it’s true we have been poor in our first two games. That is what we want to correct.

“I must say we have our backs to the wall and we play against a top, top team. So I can understand the scepticism of people. But we have to prove them wrong.

“We don’t look at the history. We look at the potential performance on the day. That’s what we try to do. The history doesn’t play the game. What will decide the game is the performance we produce. That comes from if we believe we can do it.”

Guardiola: Arsenal have the advantage over Bayern

The Catalan coach has suggested a pointless start to their Champions League campaign gives the Gunners the edge over the German champions

Pep Guardiola thinks the necessity for Arsenal to defeat Bayern Munich will give them the upper hand in their Champions League clash.

Arsene Wenger’s men suffered a 2-1 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in their opening fixture before going down 3-2 at home to Olympiacos, while the Bavarian giants lead the way in Group F with maximum points.

The Spaniard thinks the increased pressure on Arsenal will aid them as they have no option but to put in their best performance.

“In this situation, they have the advantage. They have to win. That means they’ll try to put in a perfect performance,” Guardiola said on Monday.

“We must fight against it. We have to play very intelligently. For me, it doesn’t matter they still have no points.

“When I analyse a team I never look at a table, I don’t care about that. I have to analyse them like they have six points.

“They have great technical qualities; they are very difficult to play against.”

Bayern were hopeful Kingsley Coman would be fit to feature at the Emirates Stadium as he travelled with the squad despite picking up a thigh injury while representing France Under-21s.

However, Guardiola has suggested the Frenchman and Douglas Costa, who was rested for the 1-0 win over Werder Bremen on Saturday, may not be ready for Tuesday.

“The injured [players] have not trained in the last two days,” he added. “Costa is a bit better; Coman probably needs a little more time. Tomorrow at noon we will decide on their roles.”

Guardiola: Wenger is everything to Arsenal

The Gunners are facing elimination from the Champions League ahead of their clash with Bayern, but the former Barca man is in awe of his opposite number

Arsene Wenger is everything to Arsenal after revolutionising the club, according to Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola.

Bayern face the Gunners in a Champions League clash at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, with the gap between the pair standing at six points at the home side needing to win to keep their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages alive.

And although Arsenal have lost both of their opening fixtures in the competition, Guardiola remains in awe of Wenger, who has changed the philosophy of the club since taking the helm in 1996 and become the Gunners’ figurehead.

“Twenty years at one club is now impossible,” Guardiola told reporters on Monday. “Wenger is not only a coach, he is a sporting director.

“He changed the club. They played defensively before he came.

“Wenger is more than just a coach for this club – he is almost everything.”

Muller: Arsenal are under enormous pressure

The Gunners have to produce against Bayern Munich after losing their first two Champions League games to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos

Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller says Arsenal should consider themselves under “enormous pressure” ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsene Wenger’s side are bottom of Group F after shock defeats to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos and must aim for a positive result against the 2013 European champions to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout rounds alive.

Muller says the pressure is firmly on the home side after Bayern won their opening two games but denied any suggestion that the Bundesliga leaders can expect a comfortable win.

“Arsenal are under enormous pressure ahead of the game but you can’t talk about a clear favourite. It’s certainly a game I’m looking forward to,” he said.

“We won the last two games here, and I scored in both games. Tomorrow I will go on the pitch and remember good memories of playing here. We’re all excited, but it’ll be no walk in the park!

“Both teams play an attacking game. In the end I hope it’s a good game, but a better one for us.”

Midfielder Xabi Alonso expressed shock at Arsenal’s Champions League form and described “great respect” for manager Arsene Wenger.

“Of course we’re a bit surprised, but even though they have zero points, they’re still a good team. We’re well prepared,” said the former Real Madrid man.

“Winning the Champions League is one of our big aims, but [the final in] Milan is still far away and we have to take it step by step.

“Wenger is very important for the club, he’s been an important footballing personality. I have great respect for him.”

Wenger has already stressed his side will hold no fear of Robert Lewandowski, despite the Poland international having scored 22 goals in just 16 games so far this season in a remarkable run of personal form.

While he has praised his efforts in front of goal, Alonso says he values Lewandowksi’s defensive work for Pep Guardiola’s side just as highly.

“He’s in incredible form, he’s a great team player who also helps out at the back. That’s important for a midfielder. He’s certainly one of our key players,” he said.

Wenger: We’ve beaten better Bayern Munich teams before

The French boss says his side can take heart from their 2-0 win at the Allianz Arena in the 2012-13 season, when the Germans won the treble, but refused to reveal their weaknesses

GOAL By Greg Stobart

Arsene Wenger insists his Arsenal side do not fear Bayern Munich ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League meeting, despite the Bavarians having won every game they have played this season.

Pep Guardiola’s men have streaked clear in the Bundesliga title race, picking up maximum points after nine games, and also top their Champions League group after consecutive wins.

Arsenal’s own place in the competition is at risk after back-to-back defeats against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos, with victory desperately needed against Bayern, and Wenger believes his side can take heart from previous wins over the German champions.

“We could be suspected of not taking the first two Champions League games seriously enough, but that won’t be a problem against Bayern,” Wenger told reporters. “We know we are playing against a top side. Tomorrow everyone will be highly focused.

“We are [confident]. We’ve played great Bayern teams before, at least as good as the one we play tomorrow, and beaten them. The team that won the treble, with [Franck] Ribery at full power, [Arjen] Robben at full power, [Toni] Kroos and [Bastian] Schweinsteiger, [Thomas] Muller.

“There is no team without weaknesses. If you asked me to come out with them now, I wouldn’t do it. But there are no teams without weaknesses.

“We want to defend well, attack well and score the first goal. That is massively important in big games. You can’t say you will score three goals in 20 minutes [as against Manchester United] because that is absolutely crazy.”

Petr Cech will start in goal for the Gunners, with David Ospina carrying an injury, but Wenger has no plans to rest star players Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.

“You would be surprised if I told you that I’ll rest them tomorrow. Unless I have a very bad sleepless night, maybe, and got it wrong. But normally they play,” he continued.

“These kind of medical predictions are beyond everybody. Even with the most sophisticated equipment doctors cannot predict the impact on the body. But they have no specific problems so I don’t see why they should be [rested].”