Wilshere: Bayern home shutout vital
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has suggested a scoreless draw would be a satisfactory result for the Gunners in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
Arsenal were comprehensively beaten 3-1 at Emirates Stadium by Bayern in the first leg of their clash against Bayern at the same stage of last season’s competition -- before they went out on away goals following a 2-0 win in Germany -- and Wilshere suggested the Gunners need to ensure they are still in contention to progress by the time they head to Munich for the second leg this time around.
With that in mind, the 22-year-old said that a stalemate in the home leg of the tie would not be a setback in their hopes to secure European success this season, as he offered his full respect to Bayern’s attacking potential.
"We have spoken about the importance of staying in the game and if it’s 0-0 at home, we will still have a big chance to qualify," Wilshere said at Arsenal’s prematch news conference.
"The away goal is massive in this competition when it comes to these big games and we saw that last year, when we went out on away goals. This year we have to be a bit more intelligent and stay in the game.
"The Champions League is the pinnacle for any player. This is what we work for every year, to play in these big games. I remember my first test [in this competition] against Barcelona and we won and it is probably the best achievement of my career to date. These are the ones you want to be involved in and we are ready for it."
Wilshere went on to talk up Arsenal’s improved defensive steel as he sought to lay out an argument for the Gunners making it past Bayern this time, suggesting the mood around the club is also very different compared to a year ago.
"I think we were a bit nervous going into the game last year," he added. "We lost to Blackburn [1-0 at home in the FA Cup] the weekend before and there was a lot of tension in the stadium.
"Once we calmed down a bit, we took the game to them and created chances and I remember their third goal was a lucky goal and that killed us a little bit. This year, we need to be intelligent going into the game and we will work on our defensive duties.
"We have a great defence here. Thomas Vermaelen doesn’t play so we have competition at the back. [Mathieu] Flamini adds a bit of steel in midfield, so defensively we are confident and we have players who can create chances as well.
"The main thing in this group is the team spirit. We are all friends on and off the pitch and we show that on the pitch, we all want to fight for each other. We realise it has been a long time since we won a trophy, but we have won games this season when we have not played well and shows the team spirit. We have to give our all in every competition."