Bayern Munich have visited the Emirates Stadium twice, and won twice.
The first game, back in 2013, saw Bayern easily brush aside Arsenal and eventually win 3-1 in London. A year on, Arsenal scared the German giants in Pep Guardiola’s first season.
The game ended 2-0 after Arsenal had been forced to play with 10 men, but the opening stages of the match were exhilarating. The Gunners, huge underdogs, took the game to Bayern, and had them against the ropes but Mesut Özil won a penalty only for Manuel Neuer to save it.
A similarly fast start saw Arsenal beat Manchester United 3-0 just two weeks ago, and Theo Walcott is right to be encouraged by that game.
“Playing against Bayern and their quality is of course going to be a challenge for us, but we are at home with our support,” Walcott has said. The striker is expected to start up front against Bayern Munich, and could cause them huge problems with his pace.
“We need a similar sort of performance like we had against Manchester United,” he added. “We know we can beat anyone and we’re going to be completely ready for this one.”
So far this season, Bayern have been close to perfect. They’ve won all nine of their Bundesliga games and both Champions League group games so far, scoring 37 goals and conceding just four in the process.
The same sort of performances haven’t come for Arsenal, though recent weeks have seen an improvement in form. In Europe, both Olympiacos and Dinamo Zagreb have beaten Arsène Wenger’s team, so a result is almost a necessity against Bayern to keep this season’s Champions League hopes alive.
“We need to move on from the first couple of results in the Champions League,” Walcott insisted. “We know we are capable of getting results against Bayern and we want to put things right.
“Looking at our last Premier League home match against United, the intensity of our game was different to what it was like against Olympiakos in the Champions League.”
On Saturday, the Gunners beat Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road but the start against Manchester United set a benchmark. As Walcott said, the same level of intensity is required on Tuesday night.
If we have that from the very first whistle, we’ll have a chance.