The Gunners were paired with the German champions in the last-16 draw once again, but can take confidence from their opponent's results in Europe this season
Football is full of surprises but there was a sense of inevitability about Monday’s Champions League draw when Arsenal were pitted against Bayern Munich for the fourth time in five seasons.
The Gunners finished top of Group A after winning in the final game at FC Basel in Switzerland and PSG dropping points at Ludogorets, although it still wasn’t enough to avoid a tricky draw against one of Europe’s most powerful and dominant sides.
'The Champions League is fixed'
Despite all the furore over Arsenal drawing Bayern yet again, Arsene Wenger’s men can go into the first leg at the Allianz Arena with much more confidence than previous years gone by having gone unbeaten in their Champions League group. Carlo Ancelotti’s side finished runners up behind Atletico Madrid in their group which contained FC Rostov and PSV, where they lost games against Atleti and more surprisingly Russian team Rostov.
Bayern’s form in the Bundesliga has been typically solid this season and they currently sit at the top of the table on goal difference, with surprise package RB Leipzig level on points, although domestic form rarely plays a part in European performances as we’ve seen with Leicester City so far.
"No team is super, super favourite and everybody can have a chance”, said Wenger.
"The quality of the draw, or the luck of the draw, could have a part to play as well because we know now that after finishing top of the group, our second game is at home.
"So that gives you a psychological advantage and we just have to look at it and deal with it after.”
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Wenger's Champions League record has been underwhelming for several years. The Frenchman has seen his side knocked out of the tournament at the last-16 stage for six successive seasons, winning just eight knockout ties in the competition in total since he took over 20 years ago. Bayern have won the trophy twice since Wenger became Arsenal manager in 1996.
While past results may not bode well for the north London side, the future certainly does. Arsenal have looked terrific in patches this campaign, playing scintillating football at times with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez at the forefront of everything positive in attack. The only team ahead of them in the Premier League are Chelsea - a side they put three goals past less than a month ago.
Confidence is brewing, the fans are happy and the players are beginning to believe that they are capable of creating something special this season. It would be suspect to suggest that Arsenal are going to beat Bayern based on their European form as it stands, but Wenger will take confidence from those performances knowing that for the fourth time in five seasons, the Gunners could finally breach the plucky German defence which has stood so strong in the past.