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Rediff.com  » Sports » Champions League: Must keep possession to beat Arsenal, says Guardiola

Champions League: Must keep possession to beat Arsenal, says Guardiola

March 10, 2014 12:36 IST

Champions League: Must keep possession to beat Arsenal, says Guardiola

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Pep Guardiola is well known to be a perfectionist and even Saturday's 6-1 win at VfL Wolfsburg has failed to fully satisfy the demanding Bayern Munich manager.

Guardiola complained that his team allowed Wolfsburg too much possession in the first hour and has told them they cannot afford to make the same mistake in Tuesday's Champions League last 16 tie against Arsenal.

"We scored four or five goals in a 20 minute spell but they were all on the counter-attack," said Guardiola, whose side host Arsenal in Tuesday's second leg with a 2-0 lead from the first match.

"We did not dominate the match in the way we have dominated previous games," he said after Bayern scored five times in the last half hour, having fallen behind in the first half.

"I know Arsenal very well. They are good enough to keep possession for a long time," added the Spaniard.

"We must dominate them with the ball. If we have the ball, we will get to the quarter-final. If Arsenal have the ball, they will get to the quarter-final."

On paper, Arsenal appear to have an almost hopeless task against Bayern, who are threatening to better last season's treble-winning performance when they won the Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League.


Image: Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Photographs: Lennart Preiss/Bongarts/Getty Images and Michael Regan/Getty Images

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History agianst English teams at Allianz Arena goes against Bayern

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The Bavarians have won their last 16 Bundesliga matches and scored 26 goals in their last six.

They have played 39 matches this season, including the German Supercup, European Supercup and Club World Cup, and won 34 of them, losing only twice.

They have even won games such as Saturday's where they were forced to defend for long periods.

"We don't need many chances to score," said winger Thomas Muller.

"When we are given space, we use it ruthlessly."

But there are some grounds for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to be hopeful as they attempt to avoid a fourth successive round of 16 exit.

Bayern's last three matches against English sides at their Allianz Arena have ended in defeat.

They were beaten on penalties by Chelsea in the 2012 Champions League final after a 1-1 draw, although the stadium was officially classed as a neutral venue for that game.

Bayern lost 2-0 at home to Arsenal at the same stage of the Champions League last season, after they had won the first leg 3-1.

Then, ManchesterCity came from two goals behind to win 3-2 at the Allianz Arena in this season's group stage.


Image: Head coach Josep Guardiola speaks to Dante during a Bayern Munich training session
Photographs: Lars Baron/Getty Images

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'We can be inspired by our focus on the day'

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The standard of Bayern's Bundesliga opposition has also been questioned after heavy home defeats for both Schalke 04 and Bayer Leverkusen in the first leg of the round of 16 against Real Madrid and Paris St Germain respectively.

Arsenal's 4-1 win over Everton in the FA Cup on Saturday, and a goal from German midfielder Mesut Ozil, has given Wenger renewed optimism.

"It was important for us to win, to put us in a good mind on the psychological front," said Wenger, whose side lost at home and won away against Borussia Dortmund in the group stage.

"We can be inspired by our focus on the day, by our desire and go to Bayern with the same spirit.

"The statistics go against us when we go to Bayern, but let's make sure that the performance goes for us. Then we have a chance."


Image: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Photographs: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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