The first half of the round-of-16 matches in the Champions League has winded up. Heart-break for some but more or less expected results from most. With a virtually impossible task ahead, Arsenal put up quite a fight in the second half but the German giants saw off the Gunners challenge with relative ease.
The first of the match-ups and probably one of the most eye-catching ones saw the Gunners travelling to Bayern Munich only to come back disappointed as am away draw wasn’t good enough for Wenger’s men. Going into the fixture facing a 0-2 deficit from the first leg, Arsenal were always the side under pressure. Bayern’s clinical approach and control over possession didn’t help the Londoner’s cause either.
54th min: Bayern’s possession and efficiency eventually paid off when Bastian Schweinstager broke dashed into the penalty area to finish off a classic Bayern move after some impressive work from Franck Ribery down the left flank. The Frenchman twisted and turned and played a cross along the ground finding Schweinstager in all sorts of room just 8 yards from goal. The Bayern vice-captain kept a calm head; took a touch and placed the ball comfortably past Fabianski into the empty goal.
57th min: Former Bayern man Lukas Podolski got one back for the Gunners, after running onto an aerial ball and some lazy defending from compatriot Phillip Lahm. There was a doubt about whether there was a push that was overlooked by the referee but the goa; stood anyway. The left-footed winger drove a vicious shot past Neuer at the near post with the German keeper shocked at the ferocity of the shot. Arsenal tried to step up the tempo but Bayern being Bayern put the game to rest without much of a fuss. A penalty in the final stages of the game sealed the tie – only for Thomas Muller to spurn the opportunity.
The equaliser on the day by Podolski sparked a revival of the tie of sorts but all to no avail. As even though Bayern looked nervous and shaky in defence the defending European champs still looked in control of proceedings. The performance from Bayern didn’t impress as such but the fact that they looked like they didn’t even touch second-gear. Such was the dominance of Bayern that Pep Guardiola decided that he didn’t need the services of match-winners of the previous tie – Thomas Mulller and Toni Kroos. For all of Arsenal’s valiant attempts, it was only their youngest player – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who impressed the difficult-to-impress Bayern crowd.
A disappointed Lukas Podolski spoke to the press after the game saying – “When you score a quick goal here they get a little bit nervous but I think the first half was not good enough – we had only one chance. We played a good second half but in the end it’s not good enough. We are out but the second half was great and we have confidence for the next matches.”
Arsenal succumb to their Champions League fate yet again.