In Review

Arsenal will play long-ball game against Bayern, says Guardiola

Gunners will be without the pace of Walcott and may resort to long balls from the back towards Giroud in Germany

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola has warmed up for his side's clash with Arsenal in the Champions League by aiming perhaps the most hurtful barb he could come up with at Arsene Wenger, claiming that the Gunners would play a long-ball game against the German champions.

Arsenal kept their European campaign alive a fortnight ago with a backs-to-the-wall victory over Bayern at the Emirates, despite having only 38 per cent of the possession.

And Guardiola expects more of the same at the Allianz Arena, with the Gunners resorting to balls to Olivier Giroud.

He said that Arsenal had been "unable to play" in the first match two weeks ago, and explained that defenders Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny did not like to be pressed when on the ball.

If the centre backs are put under pressure, he said, "they go back in their box and defend there".

"Arsenal will defend deeper than they did in London," predicted Guardiola. "Petr Cech will not play the ball to defenders, but will try long balls to Giroud. We have to defend well and be ready for that."

His analysis appears to be born of truth. Not only did Arsenal have little ball at the Emirates, they also sent almost 20 per cent of their passes long, compared to less than six per cent against Olympiakos.

And although Giroud was instrumental to the win in London the Gunners "will badly miss the pace of Theo Walcott", who is one of eight senior players who will be missing, says The Times.

To make matters worse for Wenger, "Arjen Robben will make his first Champions League appearance of the campaign, with Thomas Müller moving inside, making Bayern's front five even more formidable", adds the paper.

The Arsenal manager attempted to sound bullish, suggesting that attack was the best form of defence, "but it is difficult to see a different pattern to that from the Emirates", says The Guardian. "It promises to be another test of Arsenal's balance, nerve and defensive discipline."

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