Arsenal’s midweek woes continued from where it left, after a 0-3 away drubbing at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday last Tuesday, the Gunners once again were humiliated in yet another away fixture yesterday. This time it was at the hands of the might FC Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.
After a sounding 0-3 away win on Saturday against Swansea in spite of so many injuries Arsenal were well poised to give the German champions a good fight. But as they say ‘Arsenal and injuries is still a better love story than twilight’, Bellerin was injured two days prior to the match and it was announced that France national team right-back Mathieu Debuchy would take his place in the playing XI. On the eve of the match yesterday the morale of the team was further affected when first team defender Laurent Koscielny had an unfortunate hip injury and was forced to miss the match. Koscielny and Bellerin were vital cogs in our 0-3 triumph over Swansea in the weekend. Including them, the team’s injury list hit double figures and currently stands at 10.
We had no proper striker on the bench so Giroud was expected to play the entire duration of the match but that wasn’t the case. The scoreline read 3-0 at halftime and 4-0 before 60 minutes. Giroud did score a splendid goal to make it 4-1 in the 69th minute which showed his determination to put up a comeback but he didn’t get enough support from the others to do so. Even after the goal the gunners showed no signs of coming back as Bayern were pressing for more goals.
So club manager Arsene Wenger decided to take out attacking players like Cazorla and Giroud and replace them with more defensive players like Chambers and Iwobi after 80 minutes but even then the Bayern attackers were toying with our defense and eventually scored a fifth goal in the 89th minute. On the whole our performance was pathetic and it was a humiliating loss.
If not for our 10 million pound summer signing Petr Cech we would have shipped in another five goals. Our goalkeeper Petr Cech was clearly our best player yesterday making more than five saves. The defense in front of him was pathetic with the exception of Spanish left-back Nacho Monreal. The first goal was due to the blunder by our Brazilian centre-back Gabriel Paulista who played Polish striker Robert Lewandowski onside. But a minute later German midfielder Mesut Ozil equalized of a Monreal pass only to be harshly ruled out for handball by the linesman.
After that every single Bayern player was having a field day against us. Our defense had no clue against a ruthless Bayern attack. The second goal again was a joke. In spite of having nearly six players in the box German forward Thomas Muller just came in and tapped the ball into the goal. And the third goal was even worse David Alaba made Arsenal players look like kids as he dribbled past two Arsenal players and scored a howler with his left foot with around three Arsenal players in front of him. Not even one of them attempted to block Alaba’s shot. So the score read 3-0 at halftime and Cech was made to work hard the entire half with our defenders failing to deliver.
The second half was nothing better as Dutch International Arjen Robben came on in the 54th minute and made an instant impact the very next minute itself. He put the ball in the right top corner off a Alaba pass and made it 4-0. Now the game was surely gone so Wenger brought in Kieran Gibbs for Joel Campbell to save some grace at least. In the meantime Cech kept pulling off some awesome saves to keep us in the hunt. The only other Arsenal player who impressed yesterday was Frenchman Olivier Giroud who was rewarded with a goal off an excellent Sanchez cross. Giroud’s finish was sublime and a treat to watch. Until then even a world class player like Sanchez had a silent day at office. Arsenal fans around the world expected him and Ozil to fire yesterday but both failed miserably.
Players like Debuchy, Mertesacker and Gabriel had a game to forget. Coquelin was quite poor in midfield, miss passing quite a few times and was failing to hold play. Cazorla and Campbell were pretty decent but it was the former’s mistake that led to Alaba’s goal. The latter however was working hard the entire time he was on the pitch.
Overall it was a pathetic performance by the team for the second consecutive midweek fixture. Now we need favors from the other teams in our group to advance to the Round of 16. Hence Wenger’s long standing record of making the CL knockout 17 times consecutively may be over this season. With 10 injuries in the squad now we will have an uphill task against Tottenham in the North London Derby this Sunday. Hopefully we rub off the humiliation in Germany and come out on top in the NLD as we have our pride at stake in this illustrious fixture.