Arsenal v Bayern Munich: Clean sheet top priority for Arsenal, but Arsene Wenger admits Gunners face the best
Since last year's Champions League meeting, the European champions have obtained probably the best coach in the world and their main German rivals' best player
The jubilant roar on the final whistle as Arsenal knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup on Sunday could not have been in greater contrast to the reaction on the same ground exactly a year earlier when Arsène Wenger's team were booed off the pitch after losing 1-0 to the Championship side Blackburn Rovers.
On each occasion Bayern Munich were due at the Emirates next in the knockout round of the Champions League, and those contrasting results are one reason why Arsenal are optimistic that the outcome will be more favourable than 2013's 3-1 defeat to the German side. Fifth in the Premier League a year ago, they were low on confidence and as Jack Wilshere recalled of the Bayern game: "I think we were a bit nervous. There was a lot of tension in the stadium."
Read more: Arsenal v Bayern Munich match preview
Ozil can punish Bayern - Lahm
10 most dangerous Bayern Munich players
Clean sheet top priority for Wenger
Arsenal have learned from last season's exit - Wilshere
Podolski is lazy and Ozil needs to bulk up
Arsenal lacked belief last season - Wenger
Lehmann offers £2,000 reward for missing bag
Ramsey given green light to step up recovery
Mertesacker labels Bayern 'untouchable'
Wenger faces selection dilemma
Bayern a bigger deal than Mourinho
The fluent Germans went 2-0 up inside 20 minutes and, although Lukas Podolski retrieved one goal, a scrambled third from the visitors left Arsenal with too much to do in the return leg. It was to their credit that they scored early and late in the Allianz Arena, only going out on away goals, but too much damage had been done in London.
The only trouble with comparisons with last February is that Bayern have undoubtedly improved as well, which since they went on to win the German Double and the Champions League, makes them even more formidable opposition.
"We know we face the competition favourites," said Wenger, who did not demur when it was suggested to him that they are currently the best club side in the world.
Since becoming European champions at Wembley in May, they have added probably the best coach in the world in Pep Guardiola and bought their main German rivals Borussia Dortmund's best player, Mario Götze; all of which seems almost unfair.
The statistics of Bayern's last 12 months are staggering: in 51 games since losing the home leg to Arsenal they have been beaten only by Dortmund, in Germany's equivalent of the Community Shield, and in a dead Champions League group match by Manchester City after throwing away a 2-0 lead – though they beat them at the Etihad. World Club champions in December, they hold a 16-point lead in the Bundesliga, having won 20 of their last 21 matches. A goal at the Emirates will be their 100th this season from 36 games.
Guardiola, who never triumphed at the Emirates when he was in charge of Barcelona, said Arsenal would test his side: "It's my third time as a trainer here to play against Arsenal. I've never won here.
"I learnt that you can't dominate 90 minutes against Arsenal. It's impossible. You can play good, you can dominate during half-time, 30 minutes, 75 minutes, but complete 90 minutes it's impossible. Always you have a problem."
Wenger said: "It's important not to concede at home.
"Bayern have six or seven players who can create a chance at any moment so the quality of our defending will play a big part."
For that reason, the suspension brought about by Mikel Arteta's second yellow card in the final group match away to Napoli was foolish. However, Mathieu Flamini is available to sit alongside Wilshere, who will come back in after sitting out the Liverpool game, when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's match-winning performance made him a candidate to start instead of the more experienced Tomas Rosicky.
Guardiola's selections are less predictable than those of his predecesors, but he must do without Franck Ribéry, the self-styled best player in Europe, and his most obvious deputy Xherdan Shaqiri.
Latest in Sport
Angel Di Maria reveals wish to return to Argentina - but don't worry Manchester United fans...
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Husain Abdullah penalised after celebrating a touchdown with a Muslim prayer - causing mass outrage among fans
Robin van Persie reveals Louis van Gaal wants Manchester United to 'be more Dutch and pull on the same rope'
Manchester United risk Uefa row over plan to play lucrative midweek friendlies
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 HeForShe campaign: Iceland to follow up Emma Watson speech with UN women's rights conference – for men only
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Ed Sheeran dedicates song to David Cameron
- 5 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so