Exclusive: Arsenal expert on how Mikel Arteta will prepare players for Bayern Munich

Arsenal FC journalist Charles Watts has given his insight into how Mikel Arteta will prepare his players for the test of taking on Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League

The Gunners made slightly difficult work of Porto in the last 16, eventually scraping through on penalties after drawing 1-1 on aggregate, and it’s clear they’ll need to improve if they are to topple a big name like Bayern.

In many ways, however, Arsenal might feel an opponent like Bayern will suit them more, as Porto played pretty defensively in both legs, whereas Thomas Tuchel’s side will surely look to come out and play.

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Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside for his latest Daily Briefing column, Watts made it clear that Arteta would not fear Bayern, though, and that he would be telling his players about how to hurt the Bavarian giants, rather than how to try to stop them.

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This surely won’t be an easy task for Arsenal, who have only twice in their history got to the semi-final stages of this competition, but it’s fair to say Watts, probably like most AFC fans, is feeling confident right now after the way the north Londoners have been playing in 2024

“It’s a huge tie, one that certainly comes with a bit of scar tissue for Arsenal, given what happened the last time the sides met in this competition. But it’s not a tie that Arsenal will approach with any fear. They will respect Bayern, but they will absolutely believe they can beat them. This is the sort of tie Arsenal have been longing for over the past seven years while they have been trying to establish themselves back amongst Europe’s elite,” Watts explained.

“The narrative ahead of the game will be about Harry Kane, who is having a superb individual debut season in Germany. He loves a goal against Arsenal, particularly a penalty, and so William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes will have to be at their very best to stop him, as well as the likes of Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane. But Arsenal’s two centre-backs have shown they thrive against the best and will relish showing what they can do on this type of stage.

And this Arsenal team won’t spend too much time worrying about Bayern. They will do their homework obviously, Mikel Arteta and his coaching staff will ensure they are well versed in what threats the Germans possess. But Arsenal back themselves against anyone now. The preparation ahead of the two ties won’t be ‘how can we stop Bayern?’ It will be ‘how can we hurt Bayern?’. They will look to take the game to them and I think they are more than capable of doing that.

“I think it’s going to be a fantastic two games. A Champions League tie to really look forward to.”

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