Bayern Munich came crashing down on Arsenal for the second time in as many seasons, as the Germans won 3-1 on aggregate. Arsenal had lost the home leg by a 2-0 and were not able to not battle back to win against a very strong Bayern side, who were not at their best. The win against Everton on Saturday which sent them to Wembley gave Arsenal belief but this was not to prove enough.
A first half which showed no real menace with Bayern having large amounts of the possession and keeping the Arsenal defence on their toes but not really drawing too many saves from Łukasz Fabianski. Arjen Robben was not as threatening as the first leg but did test Fabianski a couple of times. Bayern began to knock on the door towards the end of the first half.
Mesut Özil was replaced by Tomas Rosickŷ, he is believed to have pulled his hamstring, and he gave Arsenal a lot more energy but was never really allowed too much room to manoeuvre. Bayern’s hard pressure in the second half paid off when slack marking cost Arsenal when Bastian Schweinsteiger tapped home from David Alaba’s cross. Arsenal had a mountainous task ahead but their heads didn’t drop.
Two minutes later, Arsenal levelled on the night after Lukas Podolski appeared to have fouled Phillip Lahm nudging him to the floor, broke free and smashed into the roof of the net, much to the Allianz Arena’s silence. From that point on, Bayern looked very shaky and nervy as Arsenal began to believe again, forcing them into mistakes and sloppy passes. Arsenal never really had the killer instinct to strike Bayern again, which has been a denominating factor so many times this season.
Late at the end, the ever potent Arjen Robben chalked his way into winning a penalty after Laurent Koscielny adjudged to have impeded him. The resulting penalty had been expertly saved by Łukasz Fabianski who then dived on the ball as it trickled along the line.
Arsenal struggled to deal with Bayern and they had many chances to kill the game? Arjen Robben was a threat as well as throwing himself to the floor for the sake of it and attempting to win penalties and free-kicks. No one really stood out as a pivotal figure for Bayern, but they are such a formidable force at home. The depth was there when Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller were brought on to try and win the game. Franck Ribéry was hardly involved in too many attacks but to have him back I’m action will be pleasing, as he is such a key figure in this side.
Obviously, Bayern were not at their unbeatable best as it was a sign of things to come from Arsenal. It was another solid display from the back four barring the goal; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was exceptional throughout, making constant forward runs daunting the Bayern defence. He enjoyed a rather busy night playing in the pivot alongside Mikel Arteta, breaking up attacks and playing his way out of possession, which was very encouraging to see. Łukasz Fabianski had another exceptional game in goal following a great display at the weekend, saving from Thomas Müller’s penalty to ensure Arsenal would stretch their unbeaten run in Germany too five games. Fatigue showed towards the final whistle as Santi Cazorla and co. began to look seemingly tired, a better performance against Tottenham would certainly do him the world of good as his passing on the night just wasn’t quite crisp enough. A huge trip across North London on Sunday beckons, a win there would certainly boost morale even further.
Arsenal have every right to be proud after more than matching Bayern in some areas, they can go home with their heads held high and look forward to a tasty North London derby on Sunday. A good result all round as Arsenal were missing many key figures throughout the side and it showed, the bench only included six substitutes, with Mesut Özil, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Yaya Sanogo, Theo Walcott and Kim Källström all injured, it’s key that the Gunners can build on significant results.
Full Time: Bayern Munich 1-1 Arsenal (3-1 agg)
Occasional writer who follows the Arsenal home and away. Dennis is our greatest ever.