Bayern Munich 0-2 Arsenal (3-3 on agg – Bayern through on away goals) – Gunners go out with a win


Arsenal went out of the Champions League on Wednesday, despite beating Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Allianz Arena. The Gunners faced an almost impossible task to progress to the quarter-finals, having lost the first leg 3-1. The three away goals conceded made it very difficult for Arsenal and in the end cost them dearly.

Pretty well everyone had written Arsenal off before the game, so it will have come as a big surprise to many when Olivier Giroud tapped in after just 3 minutes to give the visitors hope of pulling off the comeback. Arsenal needed two more goals and they had plenty of time to do it in. It’s much easier said than done though.

Giroud celebrates his early goal.

The Bayern fans were silent. They were nervous. Despite the fact Arsenal failed to create a whole lot of chances throughout, there was still a feeling of IF Arsenal can find a second goal, they’ll only need one more to progress.

Bayern really didn’t look like scoring for most of the game. A lot of speculative efforts from range went either over the bar, just wide or straight at Lukasz Fabianski.

Most of the trouble Arsenal had was from giving away possession. Carl Jenkinson had to do some last ditch defending on more than one occasion to prevent Bayern from having clear chances. Overall though, the Gunners defended very well. With captain Thomas Vermaelen on the bench and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny rested, most fans feared a drubbing with Fabianski in goal and a defensive pairing of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. Everyone in the defence played their hearts out and defended well for most of the game.

Fabianski made his claim to keep the no.1 jersey for this weekend’s clash against Swansea in the Premier League with a number of decent saves. His most notable save came in the 68th minute when he denied Arjen Robben when he was in the clear. Also notable in that was Jenkinson’s desire to get back and defend. His pressure on Robben helped put the former Chelsea player off a little I am sure.

With time running out on Arsenal, Wenger opted to bring on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho. The real surprise was that he took off Theo Walcott, one of the more likely players to provide an assist or get a goal.

Substitute Gervinho had a shot on the turn that went agonisingly close to giving Arsenal a goal they desperately needed. To be fair to Gervinho, he did everything right with the turn and I don’t think he could have done a lot more with the finish either.

With 4 minutes left, Laurent Koscielny headed past Neuer and Arsenal had about 5 minutes to find the goal that would send them through. As soon as the ball in, the Bayern players wouldn’t give it back in an attempt to waste even more time.

Koscielny heads in Arsenal’s second of the night.

Unfortunately time ran out on Arsenal. As Mikel Arteta said in his post-match interview, if they had another 10 minutes, they might well have done it. They just left it a little too late. Bayern milked the clock for all it’s worth and did everything they could to wind it down. In the end they hung on to progress in the most unconvincing of fashions.

The Gunners went out on away goals and this means that they will end the season without a trophy for the 8th consecutive season. However, the Arsenal fans can certainly be proud of the display they put in. Bayern don’t lose very often at home. Losing by 2 goals without scoring is even rarer.

I’m hoping Arsenal can use this as their turning point. Hopefully they can build on this convincing display and use it as the game that turns their season around. They have 10 games to go and need to win the majority of them. A top 4 finish is certainly possible if they play like that, particularly in defence.

On that point, I would stick with Fabianski in goal against Swansea this weekend. Szczesny has lost his confidence and playing him won’t help. He needs to earn the shirt back. If Fabianski can give him genuine competition then it might actually get him fighting for the shirt again and perhaps restore his form. After yesterday’s display you can’t drop Fabianski. That would make him lose his confidence. He deserves his shot at it. To me, it’s Fabianski’s to keep unless he starts making continuous errors. Whether Wenger views it the same, I don’t know, but he put in a MOTM display last night and deserves to keep his place in goal for me.

Keep Fabianski in goal at the weekend. Something I never thought I would say, but please do. He deserves it after last night.

The Arsenal fans that travelled said Fabianski was very vocal yesterday evening. Shouting commands at his defence all night long. A side of Fabianski we have never seen. As stated above, he deserves his shot.

As well as this, stick with the same defence. It will keep their confidence going. They didn’t do anything last night to lose their place in the line-up. Vermaelen may be captain, but he hasn’t been performing to the level he should be and his form has certainly dipped. Koscielny hasn’t had many chances this season unfortunately, but again, I’d keep Mertesacker and Koscielny playing or at least be rotating regularly between the 3.

If ever there is a game that Arsenal can save their season from, despite going out on the night, this is one that should give them a lot of confidence and positives. Well played Arsenal. Now end this season on a high by getting in the top four (preferably above Tottenham too!) and we can forget the lows and start again next season. Hopefully this summer will see us bring in new players, building AROUND the talent we already have at the club and not replacing it.

My final note is that my brother managed to get a ticket for the game. Only it wasn’t in the away end, it was in amongst the Bayern fans. He said that had Arsenal scored a third he would probably be dead right now as it had become fairly obvious that he and his friends at the game were Arsenal supporters!.