Mikel Arteta urges Arsenal to ‘create new history’ against Bayern Munich

Mikel Arteta urges Arsenal to 'create new history' against Bayern Munich

Mikel Arteta has urged Arsenal to “create a new history” against Bayern Munich as they look to end their run of woeful results against the Germans and reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2009.

Arsenal suffered a string of humiliating defeats by Bayern from 2013 to 2017, including three consecutive 5-1 thrashings, as they were routinely outclassed in the knockout stages of Europe’s biggest competition.

But Arteta’s side go into this quarter-final tie as the stronger team, on paper at least, when compared to a Bayern side that is now 16 points behind Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.

Arteta was an Arsenal player for the majority of their meetings with Bayern in the 2010s and he admitted those results were hard for him to stomach.

“When you reach those stages of the competition, and the scoreline reflects such a difference, it was a really painful one,” said Arteta. “It was difficult to swallow.

“It is a lot of history. That is their [Bayern’s] history and they have earned it. We have to create our own one.”

Mikel Arteta (left) and Toni Kroos - Mikel Arteta urges Arsenal to 'create new history' against Bayern Munich
Toni Kroos (right), the then Bayern Munich midfielder, shields the ball from Arteta during their 2013 meeting in north London – a match which was won by the Germans - Getty Images/Glyn Kirk

Arteta refused to say whether he has spoken to Xabi Alonso, the Leverkusen head coach and his long-time friend, about facing Bayern. He did say, though, that he has not spoken to former player Granit Xhaka, who is excelling under Alonso.

The Arsenal manager called on his players to produce “something exceptional” at the Emirates Stadium, which will be full of home supporters only due to a Uefa sanction against Bayern after fireworks were thrown onto the pitch during their match against Lazio.

“You are going to have magic moments,” Arteta said. “At a certain stage, at a certain moment, in the competition, in the tie, something exceptional has to happen.

“It has to go your way, you have to generate that momentum and in order for that to happen, you have to make it happen. Otherwise it’s not going to come. You have to provoke that and we will try to make that happen.”

Gabriel Jesus, meanwhile, has said Arsenal are not “kids” any more as they look to compete for both the Premier League and Champions League titles in the remaining weeks of this campaign. The Brazilian said the team has matured following last season, when they collapsed in the title race against Manchester City.

“I don’t think people here are kids,” said Jesus. “Everyone has played on the biggest stage of football. We are more ready, more confident, more mature.”

In an injury-affected season, Jesus admitted he cannot even remember the last time he played without pain. The striker also insisted he is willing to “put my ego aside” and play on the wing, as he has done in recent matches, in this intense end to the campaign.

His opposite number will be England captain Harry Kane, who has scored an extraordinary 38 goals already this season.

“For me, he is the best finisher in the world,” said Jesus of Kane. “He can finish with his head, left or right. Since I arrived in Europe, for me, in that time he’s one of the best and at this time he is the best finisher in the world.”

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