10-man Arsenal humiliated and eliminated in heavy Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich

Arsenal 1 Bayern Munich 5 (agg: 2-10): Arsene Wenger's side failed to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals for the seventh successive season 

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Nightmares can strike twice. Arsenal repeated their first leg disaster, not salvaging any pride but somehow humiliating themselves even worse than they did at the Allianz Arena back in February. Was that their worst night of the season? No, this was. They lost 5-1 to Bayern Munich again here, making a 10-2 aggregate score which might sounds like a freak but is in fact a perfectly fair reflection of the gulf between the two teams, a sign of how the Arsene Wenger era is spiralling towards a sad end.

If Arsenal set out this evening playing for pride, even taking lead in a punchy first half, they ended with the same bitter taste of embarrassment from three weeks ago. This was even worse than that, because it was at home, because it had happened before and because the one thing they wanted to do, more than anything else, was to avoid the shaming collapse of the first leg.

And yet, when Laurent Koscielny went off early in the second half, not injured but sent off, Arsenal suddenly lost any ability to put up any resistance. As happens far too often at Arsenal, they stopped doing the basics. Just like at the Allianz, Bayern could stroll straight through Arsenal’s non-defence, walking the ball into the net with an ease that they looked sheepish about.

It was shameful for a team with any pretence at competitive seriousness. The first time it happened was bad enough but to collapse in the same twice is remarkable. It says everything about a club whose discipline, unity and structure has evaporated at the highest level. If anyone was looking for a statement that these players are still behind Arsene Wenger, this was the absolute opposite.

It leaves Arsenal out of the last eight of the Champions League, although that has been on the cards ever since Arsenal were drawn against Bayern back in December. It is the seventh year in a row that Arsenal have gone out at this stage, a clear sign of their long-term flat-line, and by far the worst defeat of those seven.

Far more importantly than that, though, it is another serious argument against Arsene Wenger signing a new contract and staying at Arsenal for another two seasons.

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Theo Walcott opened the scoring with a strike into the roof of the net (Getty)

There was an anti-Wenger protest outside the Emirates before the game although it did not exactly spill into the stadium for the start of the game. But the match itself was the greatest anti-Wenger argument anyone could have asked for. All of the arguments against him, that this team has no organisation, leadership, or spine, that it looks flimsy, flat and out-moded against proper opposition, were proven out here on the pitch.

Never mind the fact that Arsenal played well for the first 50 minutes. That was likely to happen especially against a Bayern team who spent the first half trying to think what the best way is to play a game where they just had to avoid losing 4-0.

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Laurent Koscielny conceded a spot-kick and was shown red after a challenge on Robert Lewandowski (Getty)

Arsenal did at least start the game in the right way, assertively and on the front foot. Alexis Sanchez even worked hard for the team and Theo Walcott, up on the right of the 4-3-3, was a constant threat. When he jinked between Mats Hummels and Xabi Alonso, no-one stopped him. He raced away from David Alaba and thumped a near-post shot over Manuel Neuer’s head, smashing into the ceiling of the net.

Arsenal were encouraged and they continued to push. Walcott was tripped by Alonso in the box and if they had been awarded a penalty, and scored it, they would only have needed two second half goals to go through. Early in the second half Olivier Giroud got on the end of Aaron Ramsey’s cross but headed over. It was Arsenal’s last chance of getting back into the tie.

Soon after Arsenal’s challenge ended, and composure and organisation went with it. Robert Lewandowski burst into the box, collided with Laurent Koscielny and went down. Referee Tasos Sidiropoulos gave a penalty and booked Koscielny, before discussing with an assistant and sending Koscielny off instead. Lewandowski sent David Ospina the wrong way.

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Lewandowski levelled the scores on the night by converting from the penalty spot (Getty)

Arsenal needed four goals, to make it 5-1, to save the tie. It was Bayern, though, who scored four, humiliating Arsenal just as they did at the Allianz. 

First Ospina sliced a poor kick straight to Robben, who headed the ball forwards. Lewandowski flicked it back inside and Robben skipped past Sanchez, into space, beating Ospina easily enough.

Then Douglas Costa, on for Arjen Robben, raced down the right and powered his shot beyond Ospina into the far corner of the net.

That was 3-1 on the night, 8-2 overall, but still Arsenal threw bodies forward despite having no real incentive to do so. Shkodran Mustafi, again lost without Laurent Koscielny, passed straight to Alonso who found Arturo Vidal, breaking forward. He dinked the ball over Ospina. That was 4-1 and the fifth, to complete the symmetry, was inevitable.  Another Bayern break took them right down the middle of the pitch, through a non-existent defence. Douglas Costa squared to Vidal. The embarrassment was finished and the Wenger era may be heading that way too.

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This Champions League tie may be Arsene Wenger's last as Arsenal manager (Getty)

 

Arsenal (4-3-3): Ospina; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Xhaka, Ramsey (Coquelin 72), Oxlade-Chamberlain; Walcott, Giroud (Özil 72), Sanchez (Perez 73).

Subs not used: Cech, Gibbs, Gabriel. 

Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Rafinha, Martinez, Hummels, Alaba; Xabi Alonso, Vidal; Robben (Costa 71), Thiago (Kimmich 79), Ribery (Sanches 79); Lewandowski.

Subs not used: Ulreich, Bernat, Muller, Coman.

Referee: Anastasios Sidiropoulos

Attendance: 59,911

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