Gunners tune up for Bayern

Bayern midfielder Thomas Mueller scoring past Bremen goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald for the only goal of their Bundesliga clash. Arsenal have their work cut out tomorrow.
Bayern midfielder Thomas Mueller scoring past Bremen goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald for the only goal of their Bundesliga clash. Arsenal have their work cut out tomorrow.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Second-half blitz gives Arsenal 3-0 win over Watford as Germans win ninth straight game

LONDON • As Bayern Munich became the first team to win their opening nine games of a Bundesliga season, Arsenal warmed up for their must-win Champions League clash against the Bavarian giants in the best possible way.

The Gunners left Watford - a side who had previously conceded just one goal at home - with a 3-0 victory on Saturday.

Arsenal have yet to pick up a single point in European competition following defeats by Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos this season. But they are going well in the Premier League, with their latest win - courtesy of goals from Alexis Sanchez, substitute Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey - lifting them back into second spot.

"For me the important game was today," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, whose side have netted 11 goals in their last three league games.

WIN OR BUST

We know we have put ourselves in a bad position in the Champions League. And we want to make something special against Bayern because that's the only way we can stay in the race.

ARSENE WENGER, Arsenal manager, who knows the enormity of his team's task in the double header

"Because I knew that first of all that to win today was vital to stay in touch with the top teams.

"Secondly, the best way for us to prepare for Tuesday night was to win the game today."

Wenger opted to play his strongest side against Watford, who matched Arsenal until Sanchez broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute to record his 10th goal in just six games for club and country.

Mesut Oezil then set up Giroud for the second. It was the France striker's third goal in five league appearances - all as a substitute - as he pushes for a start ahead of Theo Walcott.

Sanchez and Oezil were both involved for Ramsey's third.

These key players are expected to start against the German champions at the Emirates Stadium in the first instalment of a back-to-back double-header.

"Obviously there is no obvious reason to change completely the team," said Wenger, who had made six and five changes when his side faced Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos respectively.

"There might be some, I don't know yet, I will have to see how completely everyone recovers.

"I was able to rest a little early Oezil and Sanchez. We have of course to put pace into the Bayern game. We are playing against a big team.

"We know we have put ourselves in a bad position in the Champions League. And we want to make something special against Bayern because that's the only way we can stay in the race."

That is probably the only way Arsenal can win too.

Bayern have been relentless, although in-form striker Robert Lewandowski, having netted 15 times in his previous six games for club and country, for once failed to score on Saturday.

Still, a first-half Thomas Mueller strike proved enough for Pep Guardiola's side to beat Werder Bremen 1-0 and make it nine wins in nine league games this season.

The win, their 999th in the Bundesliga, set Bayern up nicely for their trip to the Emirates Stadium. And the Bayern manager vowed that his side would find an extra gear against Arsenal.

"It wasn't easy to find the necessary spaces. Let's say we won a difficult match," said Guardiola, who left Brazil winger Douglas Costa on the bench with one eye on Arsenal.

"This time the performance was enough but we will need to do more in the coming weeks."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2015, with the headline 'GUNNERS TUNE UP FOR BAYERN'. Print Edition | Subscribe