Tactical analysis: Bayern in trouble against the powerful Arsenal? Three approaches to creating a surprise

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FC Bayern Munich will face one of the best teams in Europe in the Champions League at the worst possible time. Or at least the cheapest? FOCUS online shows how it can work for FCB.

When Mikel Arteta spoke about Monday night FC Bayern As he spoke, some German spectators wondered if he had made a mistake in analyzing his opponent that year. “A top-notch team,” he said. Spanish people at the Arsenal FC press conference: “I am a great follower, an admirer of Thomas (Tuchel, editor's note) and his teams, how they are organized, how they play, how they change.”

He also related it to the current FC Bayern: “If you analyze their game, you will see why they are a top-level team.” There was no doubt whether Arteta had accidentally watched old matches. Those responsible for Munich are far from considering themselves a top-level team.

Max Eberl spoke before Bayern's departure to London about Arsenal being “the slight favourite”. At least. The Gunners deservedly occupy first place in the Premier League, just ahead of giants Liverpool FC and Manchester City.

They have already scored 75 goals in 31 League games and have conceded 24 goals. Both best values. According to “FBref”, Arsenal are also ahead in expected goals, which calculates how many goals would have been likely based on the quality of the chances. 61.3 means third place behind City (62.9) and Liverpool (70.7). In terms of expected goals, the Gunners are clearly at the top: 21.3.

Perhaps the best offense. England, without a doubt the best defense in England, and on the other hand there is Bayern in crisis, which in the last five official matches alone has conceded eight goals. How is it supposed to work?

Bayern must control Arsenal's midfield

One of the three important keys to victory is the north London midfield. Declan Rice, Jorginho and Martin Odegaard are the epitome of ball security. Arsenal make an average of 4.53 passes per match sequence, which at first glance seems low, but is actually the third highest value in the Premier League behind Brighton & Hove Albion (5.00) and Man City (5.42).

Throughout the season, they have 552 sequences with ten passes or more. This is also the third highest value behind Brighton (603) and City (691). 165 of their attacks that end with a shot or contact with the ball in the opponent's area contain ten or more passes. Second place behind the “Cityzens” (219). Arteta has transformed Arsenal into an exceptional possession team.

Patience, skill and a lot of self-confidence in pressure situations make the Gunners look good against almost all opponents. Not even Liverpool and Manchester City have been able to beat Arsenal this Premier League season. An important factor for this is the three midfielders.

Rice, Jorginho and Odegaard are a constellation that Bayern should follow closely. Rice is an excellent tackler and ball chaser, but at the same time he is also technically strong enough to make good decisions in pressure situations. Especially his short and vertical dribbles are often dangerous.

Jorginho's strengths are similar, but with a reverse approach. He is the strongest playmaker, he can set the pace in the sixth position and set the stage for the offense. But the Italian can also lead duels and intercept passes through skillful pressing moves. And then there is Odegaard, the mastermind of the offensive game. He Norwegian He has the greatest freedom, he can dribble, pass and finish himself. His back is protected by the other two midfielders. The three complement each other perfectly in their profiles and thus form a strong midfield.

If you somehow want to beat Arsenal, something only eight of 43 opponents have managed this season, you need to limit these three players as much as possible.

Does FCB put more pressure against Arsenal?

One way to do this might be to press deeper. Bayern were surprised several times against Dortmund and Heidenheim and appeared disorganized defensively. It would be fatal against a team like Arsenal. The Munich team showed itself against VfB Stuttgart the Bundesligathat tactically they can do without possession of the ball: they won clearly and deservedly 3-0.

Arsenal focus a lot on the center and only extend the play late. This means that the central defenders and central midfielders take care of the preparation, while the attacking players look for connections and position themselves a little more wide. The structure is optimal for letting the ball run, but also for good counterpressure when the ball is lost. That's that recipe for the strong balance between attack and defense.

FC Bayern MUST break that somehow. If they defend too deep, they risk being dominated by Arsenal. If they defend too high, they can offer space for quick offensive players. An aggressive and compact midfield pressing in the center could be a solution to direct Arsenal towards the wings early and generate pressure there.

Brighton recently lost clearly 3-0 against the Gunners, but they showed to some extent that it can make sense to involve Arsenal's full-backs more in the build-up to the game and isolate them on the flanks.

FC Bayern: launch your own offensive

Arsenal is a rival that plays attacking football, presses high and likes to have the ball. Paradoxically, this could even help Bayern. Because although the Gunners have an excellent balance between attack and defense, FCB's offensive players automatically have more space than before.

They showed that the Munich team can be very strong in the offensive transition game, not only against VfB Stuttgart a few months ago, but also several times this season in general. Maybe this type of football suits them better at the moment, maybe Leroy Sané, Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry and company need an opponent who has big attacking ambitions to get back on track.

Harry Kane would also benefit from this as he has recently been suspended in the air and has had to fight for ball contact and shots much more than necessary. Of course, with his ranking that Arsenal are the “small favourites”, Eberl is much closer to the current reality than Arteta.

But the Spaniard is not entirely wrong, despite all the criticism and malice currently directed at the German record champion. Bayern are, as they have already shown several times this season, capable of great performances in individual matches. It will be necessary against Arsenal. The Gunners are rightly considered one of the best, perhaps even the best team. Europe.

They have only shown it to a limited extent in the Champions League, trembling to reach the quarter-finals against Porto. It is up to Munich to prove that they really are the best team that Arteta observed in his analysis.

jk

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