Tactical Analysis: Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich

Arsenal overcame Bayern Munich in a match few expected them to win. In a calculated tactical display, Arsene Wenger’s team sat deep and used impressive counter-attacks to cause Guardiola’s team a number of problems.

There cannot be any doubts about the quality of Arsenal’s general co-ordination in the attacking organisation phase. But these are not skills that would be needed often against Bayern; this would be a completely new challenge. When Arsene Wenger’s team have been presented with these challenges previously, they have generally faltered. He has been accused of naivety, but his approach to the game against Bayern proved that Wenger is capable of altering his tactical approach should the situation demand.

Bayern’s main threat, much like Arsenal, comes in the attacking organisation phase. And as a result, Arsenal would spend much of the game without possession. Their approach to dealing with this changed throughout the game.

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Philipp Lahm and the art of building play

Upon agreeing to join Bayern Munich, Guardiola reportedly had a five-second crisis, wondering who would become the fulcrum of his new team. Guardiola came to a solution almost immediately: Bastian Schweinsteiger.

For the first few games of his reign, Schweinsteiger was positioned in the all-important holding role. This all changed on August 30th 2013, when Bayern found themselves short of midfielders. Thiago Alcântara, Javi Martinez and Schweinsteiger himself were all unavailable to start. For the first 60 minutes (prior to Martinez coming on for Rafinha), Philipp Lahm was given the job.

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