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Bayern 5-1 Arsenal: The Germans Teach the Gunners a Footballing Lesson

alaba

Bayern 5 (Lewandowski 10′, Muller 29′, 89′, Alaba 44′, Robben 55′) – Arsenal 1 (Giroud 69‘)

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference (via Arsenal.com)

Here we are, back down to planet Earth after flying high in recent weeks. To be honest, I expected Bayern to probably nick it with a goal or two – not the shitefest I witnessed last night. I know it would sound like sour grapes but Arsenal’s injury situation is downright saddening. As if the losses of Jack Wilshere (ankle), Tomas Rosicky (knee), Danny Welbeck (knee), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Mikel Arteta (ankle), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring), Theo Walcott (calf) weren’t enough, Arsenal suffered two key omissions to their squad as Hector Bellerin (groin) and Laurent Koscielny (hip) missed out on such a crucial match.

Wenger spoke about the importance of defensive discipline in the build up to the game but it took just 10 minutes for the floodgates to open as the in-form Robert Lewandowski latched onto Thiago Alcantara’s brilliant pass to head the ball home. Nacho Monreal and Per Mertesacker had done their bit to keep the Polish forward offside but Gabriel Paulista wasn’t on the same wavelength with his defenders as he kept Lewandowski onside. Arsenal responded superbly, or felt they responded when Monreal’s cross was guided into the net by Mesut Ozil but he was adjudged to have used his arm, thereby earning himself a booking.

Bayern’s lead was doubled thanks to some atrocious defending by Matt Debuchy which allowed Thomas Mueller to fire a shot that deflected off Mertesacker leg before going past a hapless Petr Cech in goal. Bayern continued their siege of Arsenal’s goal and the Gunners had their goalie to thank for keeping the scoreline respectable but there was an air of inevitability about another Bayern goal and it came from David Alaba. The Austrian fullback robbed Santi Cazorla off the ball beofre smashing a beauty past Cech to make it three.

There was no way the Gunners were going to recover from three goals down at halftime and I expected Wenger to at least revert to damage limitation but sadly, there was no one on the bench to offer any sort of confidence. All we had was a young goalie, a couple of defenders, some of that Flanimal goodness, Alex Whollup iWhobbey and JRA. I knew things were going to turn for the worst when Arjen Robben was summoned and he compounded the Gunners woes when he scored with pretty much his first touch. Gabriel’s lack of awareness on Robben’s position was a concern. He also failed to close Alaba down for the down which showed that fingers could be pointed at him for those goals.

Arsenal got a consolation goal with a wonder strike from Olivier Giroud but it was good to see the Frenchman banging in the goals on a consistent basis. That took his tally for the season to eight goals in 16 games, which also means that he now tops the Arsenal goalscoring charts. Wenger must be commended for managing the Giroud and Theo Walcott situation well and their competition has brought out the best in both forwards. Muller killed off the contest with another goal strike but one wonders why he wasn’t closed down quick enough.

Muller’s goal but the Gunners in the record books for the wrong reasons, as that defeat was their heaviest in their Champions League history. I, like many fans out there, also had half an eye on the Olympiakos vs Dinamo Zagreb game. The Croats were leading the game before a brace from Pardo put Arsenal’s qualification hopes on a thin thread. Now the Gunners have to hope that Bayern beats Olympiakos in MatchDay 5 (provided they win Dinamo Zagreb too) and go to Athens to win by at least, a two goal margin.

Results like this affect confidence but we can take some solace from the fact that Arsenal has responded really well to recent disappointments.

It would take a while for this to sink in.

Sayonara.

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Bayern Munich Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

Podolski smashed in a thunderous shot in Arsenal’s last visit to Munich

This is undoubtedly Arsenal’s most important game of the season thus far.

After their abysmal start to their Champions League campaign with two shock losses to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos, the Gunners breathed some life into their European adventure with an impressive win against Bayern Munich at the Emirates. Two weeks have elapsed since the famous win for the Gunners and they are back in the Allianz Arena, a ground where they haven’t lost in their last two visits.

Arsene Wenger has stated that discipline will be the key in the game and that cannot be overemphasized,

“Defensively discipline will be vital, but I think we have players with experience at the back and what is important for us is that we show that discipline,” the manager said. “We don’t want to get stupid yellow cards and we don’t want to commit undue fouls. We need to manage a good balance between being committed and not giving fouls away.”

Bayern had been in scintillating form up until their clash against the Gunners and defeat to Arsene Wenger’s side destroyed their 100% winning start to the season. Bayern’s new recruit, Arturo Vidal, has stated that the Gunners will play the ‘real Bayern’ tonight and he’s confident of getting three points. In the group, Bayern currently has six points from three games and their goal difference is enviable. A win for the Gunners would put them ahead of the Bavarian juggernauts thanks to the head to head rule.

Bayern Munich have won their last seven at home in the Champions League, keeping five clean sheets and conceding just three goals in that run. Their last defeat in the Group Stages came as far back as December 2013 and they lost to English opposition, Manchester CIty.

Arsenal Team News

The major news would be the omission of Hector Bellerin from the squad after he was reported to have suffered a groin injury. I have a very big hunch that he probably got injured in the Swansea game when he blocked that effort off the line and hit the post. Bellerin has been one of the shining lights of the season, and he has become indispensable to the team. He will be replaced by Matt Debuchy that has looked out of sorts this season. Wenger has hyped Debuchy up, stating that he has 100 percent trust in him.

Debuchy will have his work cut out for him because he will be up against Douglas Costa, one of the most skillful players in the beautiful game. Joel Campbell will need to work on his defensive side to offer protection to Debuchy behind him and I trust the Costa Rican to put up another decent shift on the right hand side of Arsenal’s attack.

Arsenal Injury / Suspension News

Jack Wilshere (ankle), Tomas Rosicky (knee), Danny Welbeck (knee), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Mikel Arteta (ankle), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring), Theo Walcott (calf)

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

Bayern Team News

Arjen Robben made a return to the starting XI in this weekend’s 0-0 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt and Pep Guardiola would be delighted to have his winger back in contention. Robben offers Bayern some width on the flanks and he has him a very sweet left foot. Nacho Monreal has been one of the most improved players in the team and it would be very interesting to see how he handles the threat of the Dutch forward.

The Gunners would also have to be weary of the threat Robert Lewandowski would pose. With 17 goals this season, he is one of the hottest strikers in the game but he hasn’t scored in two games. Even the Lord Nicklas Bendtner scored last weekend.

Bayern Injury / Suspension News

Juan Bernat (adductor), Mario Gotze (groin), Holger Badstuber (thigh), Franck Ribery (ankle), Sebastien Rode (tendon)

Bayern Predicted Lineup

FC Bayern München 4-2-3-1 football formation

Team Form

Arsenal

  • Last Five Games: W W W L W
  • Last Result: Swansea 0 – Arsenal 3 (Giroud 49′, Koscielny 68′, Campbell 74′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez (7)

Bayern

  • Last Five Games: W L W W D
  • Last Result: Eintracht Frankfurt 0 – Bayern Munich 0
  • Leading Goalscorer: Robert Lewandowski (17)

Gooner Daily predicts a 1 – 1 draw.

Sayonara.

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Bayern 1 Arsenal 1: At Least, They Gave Their All…

Allianz Arena (Champions League)

Bayern: Schweinsteiger 54′ – Arsenal: Podolski 57′

Player Ratings via Telegraph – Match HighlightsWenger’s Press Conference

 

It was always going to be like an uphill task but with the Gunners having nothing to lose, Arsene Wenger fielded what proved to be a very strong attacking side with the intent of springing a surprise at the home of the world and European champions. With Wojciech Szczesny suspended, Lukasz Fabianski deputized in goal but injuries to Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal saw the captain retain his place in the first team, albeit in the left back position. Elsewhere, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud returned to the starting XI as well.

According to the commentators, the Norwegian referee had overseen two victories for English sides on German soil as he was the match official in Chelsea’s away win at Schalke and Manchester United’s pummeling of Bayer Leverkusen.

Arsenal was quick out of the blocks with the Ox running at the Bayern defense and it took a cynical challenge from Dante to stop the raging Ox in his tracks. Podolski almost teed up Giroud with a cross but it was blocked. The resulting corner from Santi Cazorla was piss poor and Bayern used it as an opportunity to instigate a counter attacking move with saw David Alaba and Franck Ribery combine before his cross was fired over by Arjen Robben.

Thiago Alcantara lofted a free kick that was blasted in by Javi Martinez but the linesman’s flag spared Arsenal’s blushes. Bayern continued to launch waves of attacks with Alaba lashing a shot wide with his weaker right foot and shortly afterwards, Mario Mandzukic headed a cross over the bar.

At the start of the second half, Arsenal replaced the ineffectual Mesut Ozil with Tomas Rosicky. Ozil attempted only 12 passes in the first half and had a surprising 58% accuracy. His passing stats only bettered Fabianski’s 48% passing accuracy which was evidenced by his poor distribution all game long.

Mikel Arteta was lucky to remain on the pitch after he had clattered Ribery despite walking on thin ice from the yellow he received in the first half. Robben managed to get the better of Thomas Vermaelen but he attempted a blatant dive much to the disgust of everyone connected with Arsenal. Bayern’s penalty appeals fell on deaf ears as the ref signaled for the bald Dutch diver to get back up on his feet.

With Arsenal failing to take the initiative, Bayern broke the deadlock when Ribery threaded a neat through ball to an unmarked Bastian Schweinsteiger that caught Fabianski on his blind side. This goal drove the final nail in Arsenal’s qualification coffin.

Instead of sulking and putting their heads down for losing 3 – 0 on aggregate, the Gunners came firing on all cylinders with a swift attack as Podolski attempted a one-two with Giroud but the French striker’s return pass fell to Philip Lahm’s path. With Podolski determined to get the ball, he gave Lahm a nudge that made the full-back hit the deck like a sack of potatoes. After retrieving the ball in what seemed to be an impossible angle, Podolski blasted a thunderous shot with that hammer of his, leaving Manuel Neuer no chance in Hell.

The goal instilled some confidence into the away team and continued an onslaught in their bid to make their own version of history. Podolski had a cross blocked by Alaba but it fell to the Ox’s path but his tame shot was saved by Neuer. The German goalie received a simple back pass and his over-confidence made him concede possession immediately to the Gunners but Rosicky failed to capitalize on his error.

The Ox lost the ball in Arsenal’s danger area and after some neat passing play, Thiago fed an unmarked Mandzukic but his poor control allowed Fabianski to smother the ball. Robben was allowed to make a run and was allowed a shot at goal but Fabianski made another good save. With the Ox pulling up, he was replaced by Mathieu Flamini and shortly after that Serge Gnabry replaced Arteta that was one card away from making things very difficult for his team.

Cazorla sighted Gnabry on Alaba’s blind side and he dinked a ball for the young German but the Austrian was aware of the danger and he nodded the ball to safety. Podolski teed up Gnabry but the young bloke skied his effort. Late on, Robben was at it again as he was bundled over by Koscielny leaving the ref no choice but to point to the spot. Thomas Muller fired the ball through the middle but Fabianski’s trailing leg blocked the ball on the line.

With Muller determined to score a rebound, Fabianski showed off his bravery to push the ball away before he was tackled by the striker. That turned out to be the last noteworthy incident of the game and Arsenal’s Champions League adventure had ended on the knockout stage for the fourth season in a row.

All this wouldn’t have happened if the Gunners topped their group but there’s no point crying over spilled milk.

At least, they gave their all.

Sayonara.

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