Bayern Munich have put one foot in the UEFA Champions League quarter finals after they outclassed Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. But Arsene Wenger’s side will be thinking about what could have been after they stunned the Germans with their blistering opening.
Arsenal made a hugely impressive start against the current European Cup holders, which saw them create a series of fine chances before their $70 million signing, Mesut Ozil, was awarded a penalty after being fouled by Jerome Boateng.
Ozil, who has come in for some criticism over the last few weeks because of his poor performances, did nothing to justify his hefty price tag as his feeble shot was saved by Manuel Neuer. What made it even worse for the German international is that Neuer is a childhood friend of the midfielder.
Bayern then started to take control of the encounter. They dictated the pace of the game but still couldn’t find a way past a stubborn Arsenal backline.
That was until Arjen Robben was hauled to the ground by Wojciech Szczesny when he was clear through on goal. The Arsenal goalkeeper was rightfully sent-off, but then David Alaba amazingly missed his own penalty kick too.
However, now that Bayern had a man advantage over the Gunners they began to pull Arsenal’s beleaguered players all over the pitch.
Their dominance was rewarded when the sensational Toni Kroos scored a spectacular 20 yard effort just after half-time, and then Muller scored a second just two minutes before the end of the game to seal victory.
This now means that Arsenal have to at least score two goals at the Allianz Arena in order to even threaten progressing past Munich. They can take heart from last season though, when, at the same stage of the Champions League, they beat Munich 2-0 away. Unfortunately they were still eliminated though.
After the match, Wenger accused Arjen Robben of diving in order to get Szczesny sent off. “Robben certainly made the most of it, as I told him,” the Frenchman stated. You can see an image of his protest below:
Wenger added, “Robben has enough experience to make more of it. Bayern made the most of every single contact, we are not used to that in England. The referee made a decision that killed the game.”
Bayern manager, Pep Guardiola, also conceded that Arsenal were much the better team in the opening exchanges, but that the decisive miss from Ozil allowed the game to swing into their favor.
He continued, “From that moment we played better and after the red card for the goalkeeper the game was for us. We played with patience, patience, patience and in the end we found the (second) goal. We are so happy because the last two times I came here with Barcelona we played amazing and didn’t win, so I know how difficult it is to win here.”
[Image via Fingerhut/Shutterstock]