Arsenal face crucial Bayern clash, Chelsea go to Kiev
Theo Walcott insists Arsenal will salvage their Champions League campaign against Bayern Munich on Tuesday by emulating their ruthless demolition of Manchester United.
Arsene Wenger’s side are in severe danger of failing to reach the knockout stages for the first time in 16 years after two dismal defeats.
The Gunners were beaten at Dinamo Zagreb and then suffered the embarrassment of losing at home to Olympiakos, leaving them pointless at the bottom of Group F.
Another loss when Bayern visit the Emirates Stadium would put Arsenal on the verge of a stunning exit and, with so much on the line, the German champions’ imperious form this season makes facing them even more daunting opponents.
Yet Arsenal go into the crunch clash in good form after winning 3-0 at Watford on Saturday.
England forward Walcott claims the north Londoners will have no reason to fear Bayern if they tear into them with the kind of high-tempo attacking style that led to a 3-0 rout of United in the Premier League earlier in October.
“We just need to move on from the first couple of (European) results, they have happened. We know we are capable of getting results against Bayern Munich and we obviously want to put things right,” Walcott said.
Jose Mourinho’s erratic Chelsea team tackle Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine on Tuesday knowing defeat would seriously complicate their chances of progressing from Champions League Group G.
Chelsea eased some of the pressure on Mourinho by beating Aston Villa 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday, but go into Tuesday’s game on the back of a 2-1 defeat at his former club Porto in their previous group match.
The English champions have never previously lost consecutive group games, but ahead of a sapping run of six matches in 19 days, Mourinho knows how damaging another defeat could prove.
“Obviously you don’t need to lose and lose and lose, because then psychological issues are coming into the game,” said the Portuguese, whose side trail Dynamo and Porto by a point after two matches.
“In normal conditions, getting normal results – I’m not even saying win, win, win, win, but getting normal results: wins, draws, the odd defeat – then it’s a great month.”
The victory over Villa saw Chelsea bounce back from a 3-1 home defeat by Southampton in their previous game, but they remain 10 points off the pace in the Premier League.
Seeking to shake Chelsea from their recent torpor, Mourinho dropped Eden Hazard, last season’s stand-out player, as well as Gary Cahill and Nemanja Matic, and saw Diego Costa score on his return from a domestic ban.
Hazard eventually joined the fray in the 83rd minute, but Mourinho said that the Belgian winger can expect to remain on the bench until he demonstrates a willingness to up his defensive contribution.
With Branislav Ivanovic sidelined by a hamstring injury, Mourinho must decide whether to persevere with a reconfigured back line that saw Cesar Azpilicueta start at right-back against Villa, with close-season signing Baba Rahman on the opposite flank.
Dynamo have had an extra day to prepare for the game at the Olympic Stadium, having had their most recent Ukrainian Premier League fixture moved forward to Friday, but Mourinho believes his side can compensate in other areas.