The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 11 , 2014
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Gunners face a tall order

- In-form Costa, Villa give Atletico edge over Milan
Arsenal players during a practice session, in Munich, on Monday. The Gunners play Bayern Munich on Tuesday

Munich: Arsenal will need to deliver a repeat of their last trip to Bayern Munich if they are to stand a chance of progressing into the quarter finals of the Champions League, on Tuesday.

The Gunners are 0-2 down from the first leg of their last-16 tie, after goals from Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller secured victory for the Bundesliga side at the Emirates Stadium two weeks ago.

Arsene Wenger’s men will take encouragement from their visit to the Allianz Arena at the same stage of the competition last season, where they won 2-0 but were knocked out on the away goals rule.

On paper, Arsenal appear to have an almost hopeless task against Bayern, who are threatening to better last season’s treble-winning performance when they won the Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League.

The Bavarians have won their last 16 Bundesliga matches and scored 26 goals in their last six.

They have played 39 matches this season, including the German Super Cup, European Super Cup and Club World Cup, and won 34 of them, losing only twice.

They have even won games such as Saturday’s match against Vfl Wolfsburg where they were forced to defend for long periods.

For Bayern, Arjen Robben has been the most destructive player. Robben was a constant thorn in the side of the Gunners during Bayern’s victory three weeks ago, winning a penalty which left-back David Alaba failed to convert while probing Arsenal’s defence for the full 90 minutes.

Atletico Madrid will have two reasons to feel good about their chances to advance past AC Milan at home in another significant match on Tuesday.

First, leading scorer Diego Costa will be well rested after missing Saturday’s Spanish league win at Celta Vigo due to a one-game suspension. Costa scored the winner in Atletico’s 1-0 first-leg victory at Milan.

And second, David Villa has found his scoring touch after firing home two well-taken goals with Diego Costa unavailable over the weekend in Atletico’s 2-0 victory in Vigo that kept them in the Spanish title chase.

Coach Diego Simeone may opt to return to aligning both strikers as he did earlier in the season after not playing Villa in the first leg in Italy or in a recent Derby against Real Madrid.

Milan have lost their last two Serie A matches but have Mario Balotelli back from a shoulder injury that has sidelined him since the first leg.

Pep Guardiola is well known to be a perfectionist and even Saturday’s 6-1 win at Wolfsburg has failed to fully satisfy the demanding Bayern Munich manager.

“We don’t need many chances to score,” said winger Thomas Mueller. “When we are given space, we use it ruthlessly.”

But there are some grounds for Wenger to be hopeful as they attempt to avoid a fourth successive round of 16 exit. Bayern’s last three matches against English sides at their Allianz Arena have ended in defeat.

They were beaten on penalties by Chelsea in the 2012 Champions League final after a 1-1 draw, although the stadium was officially classed as a neutral venue for that game. Bayern lost 0-2 at home to Arsenal at the same stage of the Champions League last season, after they had won the first leg 3-1.

Then, Manchester City came from two goals behind to win 3-2 at the Allianz Arena in this season’s group stage.       (Agencies)