Jack Wilshere: Arsenal team spirit the key to successful season
Jack Wilshere believes that Arsenal's team spirit has been the secret to the Gunners' success this season
Jack Wilshere believes that Arsenal’s team spirit has been the secret to the Gunners’ success this season.
The north Londoners are currently second in the Premier League table, a point behind leaders Chelsea and are through to the FA Cup quarter-finals after victory over Liverpool.
Arsenal host Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
We’re all friends on and off the pitch and we show that we want to fight for each other
And midfielder Wilshere believes that the Gunners’ fighting spirit has been a key factor behind their success this season.
“The main thing in this group is the team spirit,” said Wilshere. “We’re all friends on and off the pitch and we show that we want to fight for each other.
“We realise that it’s been a long time since we’ve won a trophy but the main thing that we’ve shown this season is that we’ve won games when we haven’t played our best – that shows the team spirit and hopefully we can continue.”
“Our Premier League run will help. OK, we lost to Liverpool but before that we’d been on a good run and have been brilliant this season, especially at home, so we have to make that count tomorrow.”
Bayern got the better of Arsenal at the same stage of the competition last season, with their 3-1 win in north London propelling them into the quarter-finals.
But Wilshere is convinced that Arsenal are ready to prove themselves against the holders.
“It’s going to be a different game,” he said. “We’re at home and if it’s 0-0 at home we’ve still got a big chance of qualifying. The away goals are massive in this competition as we saw last year. This year we’ve got to be a bit more intelligent and stay in the game.
“We were a bit nervous going into the game last year – we lost to Blackburn in the game before so there was a lot of tension in the stadium. But once we calmed down a bit we took the game to them. The third goal was a lucky goal and sort of killed us a little bit.”
Arsenal v Bayern Munich: Pre-match facts
• Arsenal’s last success at this stage came in 2010 when they recovered from a 2-1 defeat at Porto to win 5-0 in London. That was their third successive victory in the round of 16.
• This is Bayern’s sixth successive last-16 appearance with their 2011 reverse against FC Internazionale Milano their sole defeat in that run.
• This is Bayern’s fourth visit to England in 12 months and they have been successful on their three previous trips, including victory against Dortmund in May’s final at Wembley.
• Lukas Podolski played for Bayern from 2006 until 2009, scoring 15 goals in 71 league games. Either side of that spell he spent a total of six years with Cologne and in 10 games against Bayern was only once on the winning side.