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Scoreless Bayern draw good enough? Why Arsenal's Wilshere is wrong

Jack Wilshere believes a 0-0 draw at the Emirates against Bayern Munich would be a positive result - but may be betting too heavily against the odds.

Arsenal had the unfortunate luck of drawing the opponents that nobody in European football wants to see - the reigning Champions League title-holders, a machine of seemingly unmatched power.

Being paired with Die Roten is luckless in multiple ways - for one it’s the second straight time for the Gunners in the round of 16 and additionally has cropped up in the best season the club have had in years.

As expected, Bayern have been labelled huge favourites to dispatch the north London outfit, although in fairness, almost any side spanning the continent would be in the same position.

But a glimmer of hope looks to exist in casting an eye back to last year’s competition - indeed, the eventually champions needed the away goals rule to dump Arsenal out of the tournament, falling 2-0 at the Allianz Arena in a shaky second leg.

And Wilshere has pointed to it as a lesson learned - touting a scoreless draw in the maiden 90 minutes on Wednesday as a quality result heading into the decisive contest in Germany.

“”We have spoken about the importance of staying in the game and if it’s 0-0 at home, we will still have a big chance to qualify,” he said.

“The away goal is massive in this competition when it comes to these big games and we saw that last year, when we went out on away goals.

“This year we have to be a bit more intelligent and stay in the game.”

Just one problem though, Jack - betting on a second leg result in Munich is a rather massive gamble.

This Bayern side isn’t the average Champions League opponent. Most clubs would be uneasy enough taking to the road with a 0-0 stalemate against anybody else as it is.

Pep Guardiola’s men have outscored opponents 46-9 in all competitions at the Allianz Arena this term - that’s a record that speaks for itself.

They’ve suffered defeat just once at home - to Manchester City after already having secured passage to the round of 16 and going up 2-0 early - but banking on a mental slip from such a prolific side is neither prudent nor proactive.

In other words, don’t expect it to happen again.

Seemingly, the same belief that all was done and dusted which played into Arsenal’s victory in Munich last season factored into City’s success - but both the experienced Guardiola and his players have been there before, and the chances of lightning striking again in this fashion are low.

Wilshere is right that away goals are important and further so that Arsenal need to keep a clean sheet at the Emirates.

Beyond that, however, Arsenal need a goal at home to give themselves the best chance of going through - they need a win.

Arsene Wenger’s charges must put the pressure firmly on their opponents ahead of the reverse in Bavaria, forcing the issue in an assertive manner.

It won’t be easy for the Gunners - anything less than full focus over the two legs will put them in a position to bow out, but enough aggression to at least slip a goal past Bayern whilst maintaining defesive integrity will be crucial.

A 0-0 draw just isn’t enough to rely on in a situation such as this.

Arsenal should have plenty of confidence based on their exploits this season and now, if ever, is the time to show it.

image: © wonker

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