Saturday, May 25, 2024

Bayern Munich showdown perfect game for Arsenal to hit back: Rice

Arsenal would have returned to the Premier League summit with a win but now sit second, two points behind reigning champions Manchester City.

• April 15, 2024

Declan Rice believes a Champions League quarter-final clash with Bayern Munich is the “perfect” game for Arsenal to overcome defeat to Aston Villa.

The Gunners were deservedly beaten 2-0 by Unai Emery’s men at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon, as Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins scored the goals to boost Villa’s top-four hopes.

Arsenal would have returned to the Premier League summit with a win but now sit second, two points behind reigning champions Manchester City.

There is no time for Mikel Arteta’s players to lick their wounds, however, as they travel to Germany for the second leg of their finely-poised Champions League quarter-final against Bayern.

A 2-2 draw in north London last week leaves the tie on a knife edge, and Rice feels such a big game is just what Arsenal need after a rare slip-up.

“It’s the perfect game for a reaction,” he said.

“We need a reaction on Wednesday night, and it is a great chance to show our character and leadership. It’s time to go out there and hopefully get into the semi-finals of the Champions League.

“We have to park this to the side now. It’s gone, it’s a game of football. We’ve lost, but we need to bounce back, that’s for sure.

“Going to the Allianz Arena, it’s going to be a special night. It’s time to pull our socks up and show everyone why we’re in this position.”

This was former Arsenal boss Emery’s first trip back to the Emirates Stadium as Villa manager, and the Spaniard severely dented the title charge of his old club. 

(dpa/NAN)

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