Arteta restructures midfield, Partey starts, Havertz out - Arsenal changes to beat Bayern Munich

Thomas Partey, Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus could all feature for Arsenal in Munich as Mikel Arteta looks to reach the Champions League semi-finals.s
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 09: Thomas Partey, Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus of Arsenal look on during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg match between Arsenal FC and FC Bayern München at Emirates Stadium on April 09, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images) -Credit:Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Arsenal were perhaps surprised by the challenge of Bayern Munich despite the obvious pedigree the German side had. The prediction models certainly favoured the Gunners and were perhaps influenced by the two sides' contrasting form.

However, the Champions League veterans and multiple-time winners came with their reputation certainly on show to overturn an early deficit following Bukayo Saka's opener. Mikel Arteta made changes in the game which certainly did swing things back in his side's favour to some degree with Leandro Trossard again turning up in the big moment from the bench.

Gabriel Jesus too showed his quality by setting up the goal and asking questions of the Bayern defence that perhaps Kai Havertz was not. It was one of the more subdued games from the German forward which also raises more questions regarding who Arteta should pick for next week’s game to win the tie.

David Raya is of course going to continue in goal, despite some eyebrow-raising moments. However, the defence could certainly be changed and perhaps include someone who did not even come on during the clash.

Jakub Kiwior is a good player and proved that against Liverpool and Manchester City – retrospective scrutiny from last night has reached absurd levels as the football fan hyperbole inevitably rears its ugly head. Oleksandr Zinchenko was the right choice to come on and help Arsenal gain back some control and incisiveness that was lacking, but Takehiro Tomiyasu is who I would choose in Munich to add some more speed, experience and calmness in the back four.

Bayern are likely to have much more of the ball in their home patch which leaves Jorginho somewhat redundant. He tends to be a player who thrives when Arsenal are in possession but much less so when out of it and therefore Thomas Partey comes into the midfield.

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There are debates about whether Rice or Partey should play more advanced, but I'd ask why that is needed and why we need to stick to this rigid 6-8-8 structure in the middle, instead of a defensive pivot of Rice and Partey with Odegaard in a freer role in front.

In the forward line, this might indeed be a game for the Champions League experience and form of Gabriel Jesus. Another goal contribution last night as mentioned and Havertz can come on later in the game.

Bukayo Saka will of course be on the right, but the left is a toss-up. I know the reservations fans have about Leandro Trossard starting games but I lean toward the Belgian because as arguably our best finisher at the club if we get a chance in the box, I'd bank on him taking it more so than Martinelli who can also be a good option for later in the game.

Changed Arsenal XI vs Bayern Munich: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu; Rice, Partey, Odegaard; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.