4 Talking Points From Arsenal’s 1-1 Draw With Bayern Munich
Arsenal crashed out of the Champions League after drawing 1-1 with Bayern Munich in the second leg. Here, Gunner333 gives us 4 talking points from the game.
Arsenal crashed out of the Champions League 3-1 on aggregate after drawing 1-1 with Bayern Munich in the second leg on Tuesday night. Here, Gunner333 gives us 4 talking points from the game.
Amidst the current celebratory tone sparked from Arsenal’s FA Cup victory at the weekend, the Gunners were forced to turn their attention to a vital Champions League encounter against Bayern Munich, in which they had to overcome a 2-0 deficit defeat from the first leg.
Arsene Wenger was looking for the improbable result of a win and was forced to deploy Thomas Vermaelen at left-back with both Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal unavailable, whilst Oxlade-Chamberlain regained his holding-midfield role, which has previously suited his physicality.
With early pressure falling in Munich’s favour, it was clear the visitors were looking to soak up pressure and burst forwards with pace on the break to expose Bayern’s sluggish centre-back partnership of Dante and Martínez. An uphill task it was looking for Arsenal, but certainly not an impossible one, given their 2-0 victory there, one year ago.
Bayern’s first real chance fell to Arjen Robben. Ribery and Alaba had combined down the right, before setting up the Dutchman, whose effort was hit into the ground, grazing the crossbar on its way over.
Arsenal were able to force the odd half-chance, proving Bayern were not looking completely unbreakable, but it was the Bavarian’s who had the ball in the net first. A dangerous free-kick sent over the top, the Spaniard Javi Martínez pushing it past Fabianski, but offside was given with a handful of Bayern players drifting too far forwards.
At the break it was level at 0-0 on the night, but Bayern still held the upper-hand on aggregate and it called for a much improved second-half performance from the Arsenal.
Rosicky replaced Özil at half time, the German picking up a hamstring injury that’s set to keep him out for up to six weeks. The German Champions and European holders were looking increasingly dominant, but Arsenal were throwing in blocks, left-right and centre.
An eventual loss of Arsenal concentration led to the opener. Some poor marking lead to life-long Bavarian Bastian Schweinsteiger latching onto an accurate Ribery pull-back, with the German making no mistake from close range. Now three-down on aggregate, feeble hopes of progression to the quarter-finals were slipping away fast.
Football confirmed its respected cliché of a game never being over ’till it’s over, this a sentiment highlighted by an Arsenal response. Podolski breaking clean of the German back-line, after his dubious tussle in the area with Lahm lead to the forward firing past Neuer with a powerful shot. From here Wenger’s side looked to build, Munich’s defence playing high-up the field to invite Arsenal attacks. A few arose, but to no avail and the intention looked to now have been well and truly lost.
An attempt to fluster any dying Arsenal confidence fizzled out when a Bayern penalty was once again missed. Koscielny was judged to have taken Robben down, but justice were served when the penalty was stopped by Fabianksi on the line. Müller was the culprit, but his side held on to progress.
A solid shift emitting many positives for Arsenal, but once again the latter stages of the Champions League go begging. Here I will now analyse four talking points from this clash:
1) Too defensive?
As mentioned, Bayern dominated for much of the game and we were defending in numbers to then try and hit them on the break. To keep them at bay, the likes of Cazorla, Podolski and Ozil/Rosicky were forced to drop back and help protect the defence.
This resulted in some serious problems. Firstly, calling attacking players back means we had limited options going forward if we were to break, so the players we were aiming to link- up with, we’re not present. Secondly, the likes of Cazorla and Podolski are not suited to defend and their inability to switch-on and pick-up Schweinsteiger’s run led to their goal.
2) Fantastic Fabbers
Due to Szczesny’s absence through suspension, Lukas Fabianski was given the role of starting keeper in this clash. Putting his past flops behind him, he once again put in an impressive shift and finally looks like he can pose some real competition for Szczesny.
Unfortunately it looks like he’s developing into a top keeper just as he’s about to leave the club. His contract expires in the summer and he’s already confirmed he’s leaving to find more first team football. It’s going to be difficult to find a No.2 as good as he’s become, that’s for sure.
3) Final Ball Lacking
Bayern may have outplayed us in this tie overall, their possession outweighing ours in a 3:1 ratio. We did however conjure up some chances but many times our final ball was lacking, and our link-up play was of a disappointing standard. In clashes like this you must take all your chances and our woeful decision making made this too difficult to carry out. Several times we chose to play the wrong ball or the pass wasn’t good enough, and those fine margins are what decides big games like this.
4) First-Leg Flop
We are out of the UEFA Champions League, but should not be disheartened as last night we showed we can mix it with the best. The first leg defeat in North-London left us with little impetuous to attack this game as if it was a winnable one. Our desperation not to concede more, left us right under Bayern Munich’a thumb, as we back-peddled far too often.
Arsene said after the game that the tie was turned by the decision to send Szczesny off in the first leg, and it’s difficult to argue with him. We left ourselves with too much to do, so we need to make sure we don’t make the same mistake next time.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below!
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