UEFA Champions League English

Arteta gungho for Arsenal to ‘create their own history’ against Bayern Munich in Champions League clash

Despite never having beaten the Bundesliga club in a knockout tie of the Champions League before, Mikel Arteta asserts Arsenal have the belief they can “create their own history” against Bayern Munich as they prepare for their first appearance in a Champions League quarter-final for 14 years.

The Gunners have endured three successive 5-1 defeats against Bayern, losing 10-2 on aggregate in the last 16 in 2017, and have never beaten the German club in a knockout tie. However, with Bayern’s fans banned from the first leg in London on Tuesday night after throwing fireworks on to the pitch at Copenhagen and Lazio in the group stages, Arteta is hopeful the Arsenal supporters could swing the pendulum in their favor before the second leg in Munich.

“I see the energy change in the players,” he said, referring to the atmosphere at the Emirates this season.

“Their belief, their body language, actually how much they are looking forward to it, how protected they feel. It’s like a cushion there to tell them, and a wind blowing on their backs, saying ‘go for it, we are right behind you.’ And you can sense it. When we are able to do that at home it is extraordinary. The changes, you feel things in your body, and [tonight] we have to feel that. We have to be ready for every ball.”

When questioned about the legacy of those heavy defeats at the hands of Bayern, Arteta said: “It’s a lot of history. That’s their history and they have earned it. We have to create our own one.”

Arsenal are in simmering form as they face the six-time European champions after securing victories in 11 of their past 13 games to go top of the Premier League, with their only defeat this year coming against Porto in the first leg of the last round. The Gunners side also beat the Portuguese side on penalties at the Emirates and Arteta hopes his players will draw on this experience against Bayern.

“Those things generate belief, and what we did with Porto and with the manner we’ve done it, you want to overcome those hurdles in this competition,” he said.

“You are going to have magic moments. At a certain stage, at a certain moment, in the competition, in the tie, something exceptional has to happen. It has to go your way, you have to generate that momentum and in order for that to happen you have to make it happen otherwise it’s not going to come. You have to provoke that and we will try to make that happen.”

With virtually a full squad at his disposal – with Kai Havertz expected to continue in a central attacking role after excelling in Saturday’s win over Brighton that has left them above Liverpool on goal difference – Arteta will also have Gabriel Jesus again occupying a wide role. The Brazil forward describes Bayern’s former Tottenham striker Harry Kane as the best finisher in the world and said he was happy to put his ego aside to help the team.

“I don’t want to come here and say Gabi doesn’t care about playing as a winger when his position normally is a nine,” Jesus said.

“I never complain. When I get the chance I will show the manager and everyone else why I have to play. This part of the season I’ll put my ego aside and do what the manager wants to help the team. It’s not easy, not just for me but for Eddie [Nketiah] as well. Kai is having amazing games and scoring. That’s the price you pay if you want to be in a big club.”