Arsenal v Bayern referee is lucky omen for the Gunners... and the Germans

Emirates Stadium Arsenal Exterior

Arsenal take on Bayern tonight, and can hope for a repeat of a memorable clash.

Arsenal know just how tough it will be against Bayern Munich, and will take all the lucky charms they can get.

They may just have one, in the form of appointed referee for the fixture, Nicola Rizzoli.

Rizzoli has refereed two Arsenal games in the Champions League before, and the Gunners are unbeaten in them - but it's one of the exact fixtures which stands out.

The Italian's only previous refereeing job at The Emirates stadium came on February 16 2011, a memorable 2-1 victory over Barcelona.

The win came in almost exact replica circumstances - facing a dominant side bossed by Pep Guardiola, who were widely expected to crush the Gunners.

It looked to be heading that way, as Barcelona took a 1-0 advantage through David Villa before two late goals from Robin van Persie and Andrei Arshavin stunned the Catalans.

Arsenal would be outdone narrowly in the second leg, but the result is one Arsenal will be looking to replicate against a Bayern side who have scored 16 and conceded none in their last four matches.

Guardiola is in fact looking for his first win at The Emirates, having overseen a 2-2 draw at the stadium with the Gunners a year earlier.

Bayern themselves though have their own reason to feel referee Andrea Rizzoli is their own lucky charm.

He was the referee for last season's Champions League Final at Wembley, in which they defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-1 to complete the final stage of a historic treble.

He also sent off Manchester United defender Rafael in a fixture they lost at Old Trafford, which helped Bayern fight back and claim an aggregate goal to win the tie.

It's hard to really read too much into these things, but something has to give. Arsenal will certainly be hoping for a repeat of 2011.

image: © HITC

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