the three letters tar inside a cannon
article banner
WizardOfOzil avatar


Arsenal vs Bayern Munich – Pre-Season Match Preview

Bayern Munich, for a side playing in a different country, are a team that Arsenal’s manager, players and fans know all too well. For what seems like every season (because it is), arguably Arsenal’s most high profile games have come up against Bayern Munich in the Champions League. More often than not, these games end in misery – one positive to not being in the Champions league this season is the Gunners won’t have to be drawn against the Bundesliga Champions – including last season’s competition where Arsenal were beaten 5-1 in both legs.On July 19th, Arsenal come up against Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern Munich in a pre-season friendly encounter as part of the International Champions Cup, and will be played at Shanghai Stadium in, you guessed it, Shanghai, China.Oddly, this is Arsenal’s ONLY game in the International Champions Cup, which indicates that the friendly tournament will not have any structure or league table as was the case with the United States version.The Gunners will have to take to the field a day after a taxing 10 hour flight following their games in Australia, which isn’t exactly the best preparation to play against Bayern Munich. Even so, after convincing victories on the Australian leg of their pre-season tour, the Gunners will be coming up against by far their strongest test of the summer yet in the Shanghai Showpiece.The two sides trained at the Shanghai Stadium ahead of their highly anticipated friendly, with thousands of fans in attendance to see their heroes, with the Arsenal players taking time out to pose for pictures and sign autographs for some of those who travelled to the ground.Even Arsene Wenger got a positive reception – something that he doesn’t often get when arriving into the ground following a ropey Premier League season.In the press conferences leading up to the game, Wenger has been coy on the future of Alexis Sanchez, who’s future at the club appears to be unsure and is rife with speculation of him departing the club – with even opponents Munich linked with his signature.With Sanchez reportedly saying he wanted to play in the Champions League next season, Wenger showed his hand.“We have played for 20 years in the Champions League,” Wenger said. “That's 17 years before Sanchez arrived and three years with him. So he can get us back in there.”“When you play in the Champions League, everyone says: Is that all you do? Suddenly when you don't play in there it becomes a major problem.”“At the end of the season, only one team can win the Champions League.”“We have to focus on the competitions we play in and prepare seriously for that. We can't feel sorry for what we do not play.”While it’s clear Wenger wants to hold onto his key man, one thing is for certain – he won’t be playing in this game, as Sanchez is still on break following his involvement with Chile at the Confederations Cup. It is another South American who the attention will be fixated on: Columbian attacking midfielder James Rodriguez, who has arrived at Bayern on a two-year loan deal from Real Madrid this Summer. The 26-year-old – who’s time at Madrid did not go to plan; signing after a tremendous showing at the 2014 world cup with his country – will likely get his first run-out as a Munich player in the game, adding to their immense depth in attacking positions.Another new signing for the Bundesliga Champion’s that will likely come up against Arsenal is midfielder Corentin Tolisso, who signed from Lyon for £35 million in Mid-June.When the highly-rated 22-year old Frenchman made his way to the Allianz, he broke a number of records, being Bayern’s record signing, the Bundesliga’s most expensive signing and also, the highest fee ever received by Lyon for a player – the latter record didn’t last very long.Two weeks later, Arsenal bought striker Alexandre Lacazette for £57 million, shattering that record. The two former Lyon players will meet in Shanghai on Wednesday, with Lacazette hoping to continue his good form from the Australian leg of the Pre-Season tour.The new forward scored in his first game against Sydney FC during a cameo substitute appearance to start his Arsenal career (at least on a non-competitive level) on a high note.He was unlucky not to put his name on the scoresheet in the second fixture, where he was deployed on the right side, rather than down the middle. It is expected that Wenger will play him down the middle against Ancelotti’s side, in a partnership with either Olivier Giroud or Danny Welbeck.So what questions will hopefully have some clarity given to them from this game? Well, Wenger will definitely be looking to see if the formation is working; namely the 3-5-2 that seen some success last season. Will it be good enough to bring into the new season or should the changes be made before the season begins?Also; are Sead Kolasinic and Lacazette going to be the extent of Arsenal’s Summer signing, or are there more holes that desperately need filling? It will also be interesting to see the team playing without Alexis Sanchez, which is something that the side may have to become used too.There’s no doubt about it – in terms of pre-season opposition, you can’t come up against a tougher test than Munich. The German side will be without Manuel Neuer, as their talismanic goalkeeper is out with an injury, but the team they’ve brought to Asia is still very strong.The last two fixtures, as mentioned above, ended with 12 goals scored (admittedly the majority of which ended in the Arsenal net), so it wouldn’t be outrageous to predict this game will involve some goals. And even though these matches mean little or nothing in the long term, it would be nice to beat Bayern wouldn’t it?Kick-off is 19.20 pm local time and 12.20 pm British time.