Bayern Munich's Mats Hummels: Arsenal missed an 'opportunity' to shut the game down at 2-1

Germany defender praised Arsenal's attacking courage in the second half but said that it caused the disastrous scoreline

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There was respect from Mats Hummels, but no sympathy for Arsenal and a hint of surprise about how they went about the second half of Tuesday night’s game at the Emirates.

Arsenal were the better team for 50 minutes but they collapsed in the second half, conceding four goals in 17 minutes as they desperately tried to improve a scoreline that was already past saving.

Hummels praised Arsenal’s noble but doomed pursuit of goals at the end, although there was also a clear sense in his words that, had the boots been on the other feet, Bayern would not have been so naïve, and not have lost so badly.

“[Arsenal] wanted to keep being offensive,” Hummels said. “They tried to score another goal to win this game [the second leg]. Because the way that they played, maybe they felt like they deserved it and I don't think that's wrong to think [that way].

"But then, we have been very clever in the counter-attacks. They lost the ball sometimes too easy. This result can happen in a game that was clearly not a 5-1, if you see the whole the 90 minutes.”

But Hummels accepted that sometimes the losing team has to accept a 2-1 or 3-1 rather than conceding more, something that Arsenal failed to do. “Of course,” he said, when asked if Arsenal could have shut up shop. “That is an opportunity. You just say: 'Ok, we take this 1-1 or we take maybe a 1-2.'” 

Arsenal’s failure to do that resulted in a disastrous spell which more than undid all the good work Arsenal did in the first half. “It does not look good, of course,” he said. “That is true. But maybe they felt that they could score again so it was OK for them to keep playing like this but, of course, then we played things really well.”

The result is a 10-2 aggregate defeat that looks out of place in a Champions League last-16 tie between two of the richest teams in Europe. And as much as Hummels admired Arsenal’s misplaced ambition in the second half, he did not feel sympathy for a humiliation that was largely self-inflicted.

“I don't know if you can feel sorry in sports,” Hummels said. “You just have to do your best on the pitch. Of course, it was very unlucky for them in the end. They had 50 very good minutes tonight but it can happen both ways. Maybe we will face them again in the next years and we have a similar problem and, in that case, I don't think they have to feel sorry. It's just sports.”