Football

Arteta urges Arsenal to banish painful history with Bayern

London (AFP):– Mikel Arteta has challenged Arsenal to prove their wretched Champions League record against Bayern Munich is ancient history as the Gunners look to seize their “special” opportunity to reach the semi-finals.

Arteta’s side have endured a series of chastening defeats against Bayern over the last decade, but Arteta expects them to reverse that trend in Tuesday’s quarter-final first leg.

Beaten 5-1 in each of their last three meetings with Bayern, Arsenal were eliminated from the Champions League by the German club in the last 16 in 2017, 2014, 2013 and 2005.

However, Premier League leaders Arsenal are in superb form, while Bayern arrive at the Emirates Stadium in turmoil.

Arteta puts no stock in his club’s past problems against Bayern and the Spaniard called on his players to justify his faith.

“That’s history. When you look at their history in the competition it’s clear. We have to prove that, that’s for sure,” Arteta told reporters on Monday.

“Football is such a competitive environment and it’s so hard to be consistent that this can happen to anybody.

“We are really enjoying the moment because this is where we want to be. We are in a really good position in the Premier League and we are in a good position in the Champions League.

“We have a big task ahead of us against one of the successful teams in Europe. That’s the hurdle we have to overcome and we are really looking forward to it.”

Arsenal have not made the Champions League semi-finals since 2009 and will be playing in the last eight for the first time since 2010.

While Bayern are well below their usual standards this term, Arteta is relishing the opportunity to face the six-time European champions.

‘So excited’

“A lot of passion and emotion. We haven’t had this opportunity for 15 years so that tells you how special this night is going to be for us. We are going to have put everything into every ball to make it happen,” he said.

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“It’s been a really demanding season and it’s a big step forward to be here in this competition, and competing in the Premier League. This is the challenge and we are so excited to be part of that.”

Bayern squandered a two-goal lead in a 3-2 loss to Heidenheim last weekend that all but extinguished their slim hopes of catching Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

Thomas Tuchel’s troubled team have lost five of their last 10 games in all competitions.

Yet Arteta’s respect for Tuchel — a Champions League winner with Chelsea in 2021 — ensured he would not underestimate Bayern.

“They are top team. I’m a big admirer of Thomas. The way his teams set-up, the way they play, the way they transmit. I have learned a lot from him and looking at them they are a top team,” he said.

“We have prepared well and now we have to take our game where we want to. If we do that we have a chance to win.

Even the presence of Bayern striker Harry Kane, who scored a north London derby record 14 goals against Arsenal during his time with Tottenham, is unlikely to rattle the Gunners.

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Asked about the threat posed by the England captain, Arteta said: “When you look at his numbers over the past 10 years they are unbelievable.

“He can score in many different ways. He has got the service and the players around him as well to provide those opportunities.

“We know the individual qualities of those players, and him in particular. The ability he has. The best thing is to collectively prevent certain things.”

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