5 Things Arsenal Must Improve on for Champions League 2nd Leg vs. Bayern Munich

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2013

5 Things Arsenal Must Improve on for Champions League 2nd Leg vs. Bayern Munich

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    Arsenal's first-leg defeat to Bayern Munich leaves their Champions League hopes dangling by a thread.

    If they are to have any chance at all of progressing to the quarterfinals, or even just restoring a modicum of pride, they will need to vastly improve their display in the second leg.

    Read on to see the changes they'll need to make to give themselves a fighting chance.

Play from the First Whistle

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    Arsenal seem to have a persistent problem when it comes to starting big games.

    All too often they begin crucial matches in an insipid manner. We've seen it against Manchester City, Chelsea and now Bayern: It's almost as if they give other teams a head start.

    Arsenal are capable of rousing second-half come-backs, but sometimes it's simply too little too late.

    With the scoreline already favouring Bayern, Arsenal will need to be at it from the first whistle in the second leg.

Abandon Zonal Marking

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    Arsenal's zonal marking system is an abomination.

    It ostensibly allows Arsenal to provide the defensive cover required to protect them from their long-term weakness at set-pieces. In reality, it has compounded the problem.

    While Arsenal's defenders stand in their respective zones, opposition players are allowed a free run at attacking the ball.

    Arsenal should return to a man-to-man system, which gives each individual defender accountability. This will help them combat Bayern's aerial strength.

Start Giroud

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    Arsene Wenger opted to start Theo Walcott at centre-forward in the first leg; against the giant pair of Bayern Munich defenders, Dante and Daniel Van Buyten, Walcott barely got a kick.

    The introduction of Olivier Giroud immediately gave Bayern another problem to deal with. His physical presence allows Arsenal to hit the ball long and gives Walcott a traditional target man to play off.

    Starting both Walcott and Giroud increases Arsenal's goal threat. Considering Arsenal will need to score at least three goals to qualify, it seems eminently sensible to play the Frenchman from the off.

Give Rosicky a Chance

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    Tomas Rosicky is loved by the Arsenal fans because he plays with incredible energy levels and commitment.

    Although he is primarily an attacking midfielder, you are just as likely to catch him haring back towards his own goal to make a crucial sliding tackle.

    It is this kind of selflessness that makes Rosicky an integral member of the Arsenal squad. He adds verve and tempo to their game, and Arsenal will need plenty of that if they're to stand any chance of over-turning Bayern's lead.

Don't Lunge in

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    In the first leg with Bayern, Arsenal contrived to pick up five yellow cards.

    Arsenal's growing frustration at Bayern's dominance revealed itself in some increasingly aggressive tackling.

    In Germany, they will need to be more careful. They cannot afford to lose a man to a sending off. Going down to ten men would kill the tie once and for all.

    What do you think? What do Arsenal need to improve for the second match against Bayern?