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.
Arsenal 1 Bayern Munich 5 player ratings
Arsenal 1 Bayern Munich 5 player ratings
1/22 David Ospina – 6 out of 10
This Champions League tie may be Arsene Wenger's last as Arsenal manager
2/22 Hector Bellerin – 6 out of 10
Played well in the first half in attacking down the right to support Walcott, but was ineffective in the second and he fell asleep to allow Costa and Vidal in behind him for the fifth, though by that point the entire Arsenal side was asleep.
3/22 Shkodran Mustafi – 5 out of 10
Showed a nice pass to put Walcott in when he should have bagged a second, but the loss of Koscielny alongside him again exposed his weakness. Sloppy passing after the break, and completely gave up after the second goal.
4/22 Laurent Koscielny – 6 out of 10
Looked switched on from the get-go a he blocked Robben’s shot before deflecting two crosses out for a corner. However, the game turned again on his departure, as he tripped Lewandowski in the area without trying to play the ball, receiving a red card in the process.
5/22 Nacho Monreal – 5 out of 10
Got forward on occasion and offered support to Giroud as the striker preferred the left side of the Bayern defence. However, he simply isn’t good enough to defend at this level as he repeatedly played the Bayern attack onside.
6/22 Aaron Ramsey – 6 out of 10
Looked a yard short of his best given his lack of football, but grew into the game as it wore on. Won a free-kick just before the break with a nice turn on Martinez and started to have a bigger influence in the central role that he craves. Replaced when the game was done at 2-1.
7/22 Granit Xhaka – 6 out of 10
Looked much more controlled early on as he protected his back line and showed a nice passing ability to spray the ball from flank to flank. But with the collapse went his discipline, and picked up another booking for a terrible tackle on Rafinha.
8/22 Theo Walcott – 7 out of 10
Started the match with a point to prove and went about doing it in the perfect way. Two early runs should’ve alerted the danger, and the third produced the opener as he beat Neuer at his near post, seven years after his last Champions League knockout goal. Should’ve had a second from the same position, but fired into the side-netting. Much quieter in the second half, and probably the only Arsenal player who showed his best out there.
9/22 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6 out of 10
Moved to a central role and enjoyed having more influence in the game. Drifted to the right on occasion but the end result was missing.
10/22 Olivier Giroud – 6 out of 10
In at the last minute for the ill Danny Welbeck. He brought a physical threat to Bayern, and nearly found the net with an early header after getting above Hummels. Missed na even better chance after the break when unmarked in the centre of the box, but somehow headed over.
11/22 Alexis Sanchez – 6 out of 10
A lively start on his return to the side, as he was providing the link between the midfield and Giroud up top. Gave away possession that nearly led to a Bayern goal for Lewandowski, and departed when Wenger knew the game was gone.
12/22 Manuel Neuer – 6 out of 10
It’s not often you can say he should have done better, but he should have done better. Punched Walcott’s fiercely struck effort high into the roof of his own net. Rarely tested otherwise.
13/22 Rafinha – 6 out of 10
Brought into the side for the suspended Philipp Lahm, and he did an adequate job of shackling Sanchez that forced him inside.
14/22 Javi Martinez – 6 out of 10
Booked for a cynical foul on Ramsey as he ran towards the Bayern area. Looked the weak link at the back, but once the Arsenal attack wilted he was allowed to run forward and nearly bagged himself a goal, heading just over.
15/22 Mats Hummels – 6 out of 10
Passed too easily by Walcott for the goal, and struggled to cope with the England winger’s pace on the left.
16/22 David Alaba – 6 out of 10
Struggled desperately with the Walcott-Bellerin combination on his flank, and his early shot at goal from a Robben corner was always curling away from the target.
17/22 Xabi Alonso – 7 out of 10
Apart from a corner that failed to beat the first man, he oozed control and class in the middle of the field. Happy to sit back and let his teammates take the plaudits, but he’ll be sorely missed.
18/22 Arturo Vidal – 8 out of 10
Lucky to get away with a high foot on Sanchez that could have brought a booking, and his early sighter at goal from long range wasn’t a handsome one. But as Bayern cut loose, so did he, and he linked up delightfully with Douglas Costa twice at the end to go home with two goals to his name.
19/22 Arjen Robben – 8 out of 10
Gave Monreal problems early as he cut in on his left foot, only to have his shot blocked. Saw another effort from the right well saved by Ospina. Lovely flick over the defence should’ve brought a goal from Lewandowski before the break. Aware enough to capitalise on Opsina’s poor clearance and link with Lewandowski to score his goal.
20/22 Thiago Alcantara – 8 out of 10
Another virtuoso performance from the midfield that is really starting to come of age. Links the play beautifully between midfield and Lewandowski.
21/22 Franck Ribery – 6 out of 10
Stood still and watched Walcott run away from him for the opener in a lazy daze. The only disappointment the Bayern attack.
22/22 Robert Lewandowski – 8 out of 10
Missed a sitter late in the first-half when put through by Robben, and he could only guide the ball wide of the far post. Split the Arsenal defence after the break to win a penalty and send Koscielny for an early bath, and tucked home the spot-kick coolly, as you’d expect. Should have had a second, but his close-range effort struck the post.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 59,911Reuse content