Here’s all you need to know about the Bayern – Arsenal clash

April 17, 2024

Arsenal will go all out against Bayern Munich in an attempt to advance to the Champions League semifinals today at the Allianz Arena. After overturning a deficit in the second half at Emirates Stadium, the Gunners are looking to build on a solid 2-2 first-leg result.

After Bukayo Saka and Manuel Neuer collided in the Bayern box, Mikel Arteta’s team felt unlucky not to have a late opportunity to win the match. The focus was then shifted by Thomas Tuchel to a contentious incident involving the apparent disregard for a handball by Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes by 35-year-old referee Glenn Nyberg.

The match had been tense the entire time, but Saka’s ire at not getting a spot kick threatened to explode at the end. Mikel Arteta was enraged on the sidelines as he vehemently questioned the officials about the choice.

Before that, though, the match had been fascinating, with Arsenal coming out on front before a deadly Bayern frontline picked them off on the counterattack. Players now have a newfound freedom ahead of what is expected to be a heated event in Germany—at least temporarily.

Given that Declan Rice and Kai Havertz were just one yellow card away from punishment, Arsenal was teetering precariously at home. The two were essential to Arteta’s north London tactical ideas and will play significant roles in the rematch.

They both got off to a similar start in Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Aston Villa. On the other hand, Bayern was allowed to rotate and rest their team. When it came to suspensions, Tuchel wasn’t as lucky; Alphonso Davies was ruled out following an early yellow card in the first leg.

Less than 20 minutes into the match, he took down Saka, and the Arsenal players continued to harass him. In the early going, he was plagued by Saka and Ben White on the right, who came up with the breakthrough from the same side.

Bayern could have suspended Leon Goretzka as well, but he was able to escape a booking. That implies that, should they be fit, everyone save Davies is good to play for Bavaria.

Every two rounds is when the Champions League suspension deadline is reached. The group stage and knockout round combined have a three-booking threshold. Prior to the semi-final, players who acquire three yellow cards or more will be suspended for one match, in addition to any further odd-numbered bookings.

The regulations provide that “after the completion of every two rounds…in which a player was registered on a club’s list and eligible to play, the number of yellow cards he received that did not result in a repeated caution suspension is reduced by one.” This implies that none of Havertz, Rice, or Goretzka would be able to miss the semi-finals because of yellow card sanctions following a recent rule change.

This was notably not the case for Chelsea in 2012, as Branislav Ivanovic was disqualified from the championship game following a yellow card he received during the semi-final at the Nou Camp. Although it is now the only method for players to miss the championship, red cards also carry the regular bans.

There aren’t any such distractions, unlike last week when Arsenal had to worry about the potential suspensions of two key players throughout their match. It is now up to Rice and Havertz to make the most of this independence on the field. Arsenal Bayern Munich