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Arsenal in fine fettle as they seek miracle in Munich

By Jim van Wijk

Arsene Wenger sees no reason why Arsenal cannot pull off another shock result when they look to upset Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena once again tonight.

The Gunners head out to Bavaria determined to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash, and taking on a team who are rampant at the top of the Bundesliga.

Wenger, though, insists his side, buoyed by their FA Cup quarter-final win over Everton, should be confident of a repeat performance from last season, when they produced a remarkable performance in Munich to win 2-0 and exit the competition on away goals.

"History is important in your belief. We have done it before, so we know we can do it because we have done it," said Wenger, who will be without suspended goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny following his red card in the first leg.

"It is a possible task, that is the most important for us.

"I believe my team has quality and ambition, and I believe do we produce a top level performance, then we can do it.

"Our way to do it is to produce a top level performance and we will focus on that.

"We must turn up with quality and with belief and that is what we will do.

"Bayern at the moment are the team of course who are full of confidence because they are doing well, but we have a great opportunity to do it.

"I am absolutely confident that mentally we will be ready to play at our best.

"The statistics are against us, but we have also won 5-1 at Inter Milan, we have won everywhere in Europe.

"If we are winning 1-0 for example, then it makes the (final) result absolutely possible, so that is what we try to do.

"We do not have to be nervous and impatient, just to focus on the performance of our game."

Wenger accepts Arsenal cannot leave themselves too exposed against Pep Guardiola's free-scoring side.

"We know we have to attack, but we know as well that we have to defend, so I have to find the right balance because Bayern are a good team going forwards," he said.

"We want to have a good balance between defending and attacking."

Arsenal club-record signing Mesut Ozil looks to have recovered from the disappointment of his penalty miss in the first leg, and scored the first goal in the win over Everton.

Wenger said: "I believe he was affected by his performance (in the first leg).

"He started quite well in the first game and after that he was affected by the fact that he missed the penalty.

"It affected his performance because he felt he let the team down. I think since, he has recovered.

"He had a great performance on Saturday, is on the right path and I am confident he will have a good game (on Tuesday)."

Midfielder Mikel Arteta feels Arsenal have the character to pull off another shock win.

"It does create more belief that the result is possible," he said.

"It is vital that we score a goal. Obviously the game changes then and the psychological game starts and that is where we could have an advantage.

"It is a tough place to come, but we believe and we are fighting the whole season to be in the Champions League and we don't want to throw it away."

Arsenal will face Wigan in the semi-finals of the FA Cup at Wembley in April after the Sky Bet Championship side produced a remarkable 2-1 win at Manchester City.

Wenger, though, was quick to play down any talk of Arsenal now being nailed on for a first trophy since 2005.

"The cup is the cup. What we have learned is that the consistency of Wigan shows that they have the quality to deal with the pressure in the cup," he said.

"They created of course a huge surprise so we are warned that only a top level performance will get us through.

"If you want to say that we will be favourites, I agree with you, but being favourites doesn't win you games - performances win you games and that's what we have to focus on."

Belfast Telegraph


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