Arsenal vs Bayern Munich: Three key players to look out for

Arsenal take on Bayern Munich at the Emirates in their Champions League quarter-final, as we focus on three key players in this clash.

The last memory for Arsenal fans when it comes to facing Bayern Munich was a hat-trick of 5-1 defeats. They do have a faint memory of a 2-0 win at the Emirates, which we highlighted as part of the Classic Clashes series between the two sides, but this time around, the fanbase at the Emirates has lofty expectations.

Mikel Arteta spoke strongly ahead of the clash with Bayern Munich, urging all the supporters to create a fabulous atmosphere at the Emirates. Moreover, due to a UEFA ruling, Bayern’s away supporters are banned from attending this trip, meaning the Gunners will have a full stadium to themselves.

Arsenal have every reason to be optimistic about securing a first-leg win and even going to Munich and getting something. However, the focus is on the first-leg clash, where Arteta really is hoping to make a significant mark and carry forward with an impressive run in 2024.

There are significant ramifications for both teams should they not get what they desire from this clash over two legs. For Arsenal, it is a question of momentum, as Arteta clearly wants to win the Premier League and Champions League crowns.

In the Premier League, they are going toe-to-toe with Liverpool and Manchester City, with only a point separating the top three. Hence, for them to live at home and then get eliminated from the Champions League may have a direct effect on domestic proceedings.

For Bayern, it is a matter of ending the season with at least one trophy, which is the very reason why Harry Kane left Spurs to join them in the summer. So far, the Bavarians have been eliminated from every competition they have been in, barring the Champions League, while they are trailing Bayer Leverkusen by an incredible 16 points, with six games left to play in the Bundesliga.

Hence, they must win this crown, and they are equipped with the right players to do so. However, Arsenal pose a big threat to their ambitions, as the clash at the Emirates promises fireworks, with the Gunners one of the most defensive teams around, while Bayern have the ability and players to break them down.

In any case, both teams pack a formidable set of players capable of inflicting damage on the other side. Here, we look at three stars who could have a telling effect. Starting with Bayern’s attacking star Jamal Musiala, we take a look at William Saliba and Kai Havertz as the other two to complete the list.

Jamal Musiala

Bayern Munich received some significant injury boosts ahead of their trip to North London, with the likes of Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane all returning to training in a timely fashion. Whether the duo is ready to start against Arsenal is a question hanging over Thomas Tuchel’s head, as Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller are pencilled in to replace them should they be deemed unfit to play the whole game.

Jamal Musiala will have to play a huge role for Bayern in this clash. He can break down a stubborn Arsenal defence and bring something different to the table. Musiala has the x-factor that could cause trouble for Arteta’s men while also providing the correct ammunition and decoy for Harry Kane. So, it is hardly surprising that he is a target for top clubs like Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Musiala will also have more responsibility on his shoulders, especially should someone like Sane and Coman miss out. He will face the formidable task of facing William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes in the central areas, while the threat of Declan Rice also looms large. Overall, Musiala could have a telling game at the Emirates or become the next victim of Arteta’s formidable defensive setup.

William Saliba

There is plenty at stake for Arsenal and especially Saliba, who will come up against yet another formidable centre-forward in Harry Kane. The former Tottenham striker will come into this clash with added impetus while facing the Gunners. But he will also face the Frenchman, who has been imperious alongside defensive partner Gabriel.

The Arsenal duo has pocketed some of the formidable No.9s this season, most notably Erling Haaland of Manchester City, to restrict them to barely having an impact. The Gunners fans are certainly hoping the duo find Kane at the end of the game when they empty their pockets.

For Saliba, this is a particularly intriguing game, considering he has the task of stopping one of the potent attacking setups in Europe and proving a big point to Didier Deschamps. The France coach recently criticised the Arsenal star. And at the Emirates, Saliba could prove he is better than his Bayern counterpart and rival for the national side, Dayot Upamecano.

Kai Havertz

With all the talk ahead of the game surrounding Kane’s return to north London to face Arsenal, Kai Havertz is the real star in this clash. It’s an apparent on-pitch battle about who can prove themselves as the better No.9, with both Havertz and Kane having similar qualities.

Havertz has been fantastic for Arsenal of late and has not stopped scoring or assisting in recent games. In fact, he became only the second player alongside Kylian Mbappe to score and assist in three different games in Europe’s top five leagues in 2024.

Something is brewing at Arsenal, and Havertz has been a big beneficiary of the new style Arteta has deployed. A goal against Bayern will also prove some of his doubters wrong, especially after the Bavarians were heavily linked with the German international before his switch from Chelsea to Arsenal in the summer.

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