Crunch relegation tie in doubt

Olivier Giroud reckons scoring early is the key to Arsenal’s

faint chances of coming back from the dead against Bayern Munich on


The France striker came off the bench in the first leg of the

Champions League last-16 tie, missing a decent chance to make it

2-2 before Bayern ran out 3-1 winners.

That result leaves Arsenal needing to score at least three times

at the Allianz Arena, and Giroud is not about to abandon hope.

“We need to score an early goal,” he said. “In football you

never know. We need to believe and stay focused, but we need to

correct our bad defensive behaviour as well.

“I like to play against German teams because they are attacking

all the time. There I get myself more possibilities to score. It

will be an interesting game, for sure.”

Arsenal are in danger of missing out on Europe’s elite

competition next season for the first time since 1997 and go into

their final 10 Premier League games five points off fourth


Giroud said: “Of course we still want make it into the Champions

League spots. We are confident, even though we recently lost the

derby against Tottenham.”

The playing surface was covered over the weekend but a sharp

drop in temperatures meant the protective sheets were penetrated by


Snow fell in the region on Monday afternoon with a night below

freezing in store once more.

Both sides find themselves in the relegation zone ahead of a

potentially vital clash.

Managerless Latics, under the caretaker charge of youth-team

coach Tony Philliskirk, lie fourth bottom – two points from safety

and four ahead of Pools with two games in hand following their run

to the fifth round of the FA Cup.