All the latest news, views and transfer rumours from the Emirates Stadium...
Arsenal bounced back from disappointing results against Liverpool and Manchester United to see off Brendan Rodgers' side in the FA Cup yesterday, and will now prepare for their crucial Champions League tie against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night, in a repeat of the fixture that saw Arsenal knocked out of last year's tournament. Defender Per Mertesacker, a German international, stated that his side will need to play “perfectly” to beat the German and European champions.
"We have to go for two perfect games against them (Bayern)," Mertesacker said. "We know we can beat them now, so maybe mentally we are in a better condition that last year.
"We respected them too much in the first leg then, so it was too easy for them. Maybe we have learned something from those lessons and will do better this time. Now we have another chance - and an opportunity to beat the champions. We want to achieve something exceptional this season, so we have to beat the best.” added the former Werder Bremen man.
Mertesacker's international team mate Philipp Lahm has also been commenting about the impending game, suggesting that Pep Guardiola's side are in for a tough test against Arsene Wenger's men, who still sit second in the Premier League despite some recent negativity surrounding their title challenge.
“The biggest danger for us, right now, is facing Arsenal in the last 16. It’s a tough draw.” said Lahm. “A lot can happen in those two games. It’ll be two teams that are very good tactically and technically. I’m really looking forward to that game. I think every football fan is.”
To continue the German theme, Schalke have confirmed that the Gunners failed to match their asking price for playmaker Julian Draxler. Sporting Director Horst Heldt said; “It was a lot of money, but it wasn’t enough for us,” Heldt said of Arsenal's late January bid for Draxler. The Gunners may well return for the 20-year-old in the summer, but the reported asking price is €44.5m for Draxler, though much will dependant on how high Arsenal finish in the league this season, as well as the threat of Bayern Munich hijacking their bid.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald