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Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Five key battles

Mertesacker v Mandzukic, Ozil v Lahm and three more.

Arsenal against Bayern Munich in the Champions League this week is going to be a superb match up between different styles and talented players, which is bound to create several talking points.

Both teams head into the game off the back of wins and will field sides filled with stars who could turn the game in a split second.

There will be individual battles breaking out all over the pitch and we’ve taken a look at five key contests which will be worth keeping a close eye on.

Wojciech Szczesny v Manuel Neuer

The goalkeepers will have very important roles to play, with a clean sheet a big advantage heading into the second leg.

Szczesny will have to produce some good saves with Bayern likely to build a lot of pressure but Neuer can’t lose his focus.

The German goalkeeper has commented that he sometimes gets bored playing for Bayern because they retain possession so well and Arsenal will exploit and lack of concentration.

Per Mertesacker v Mario Mandzukic

Mandzukic is a very clever striker so he’ll probably drift onto Mertesacker’s side of the defence.

He won’t be concerned about the physical size and strength of Mertesacker because Bayern Munich aren’t a team that attack routinely in the air.

He’ll more than likely play on Mertesacker’s shoulder looking to exploit a lack of pace, dropping off if Arsenal defend deep inside their own defensive third.

Mathieu Flamini v Thomas Muller

Muller is one of the best around when it comes to taking up a midfield position and then ending up as a real goal threat.

He could start on the right hand side in the absence of Franck Ribery and Xherdan Shaqiri, which means Flamini will have to be fully alert and looking for late, deep runs from Muller to attack the Arsenal defence.

Mesut Ozil v Philipp Lahm

Pep Guardiola has changed the way Philipp Lahm plays with the Bayern Munich captain moving from right-back into a defensive midfield role.

His task will more than likely be to follow Mesut Ozil around the pitch, sticking to him like glue.

If Bayern can make Ozil work hard, with constant pressure on him when he wins the ball, they can exploit the fatigue which has been evident with him in the last couple of matches.

Olivier Giroud v Dante

Dante will play in the heart of Bayern Munich’s defence and Olivier Giroud needs to be all over him like a rash.

It’s a good physical contest between two similarly sized players but Giroud should be confident because of the way he played against Bayern Munich over two legs last season.

If Giroud can dominate Dante, he’ll give himself a great chance of scoring as well as creating a hole in Bayern’s defence.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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