Arsenal, Champions League

Arsenal Embarrassed In Champions League Once Again

It’s mid February and once again Arsenal are heading out of the Champions League at the Round of 16 stage for the seventh consecutive season after losing 5-1 to Bayern Munich on Wednesday night.

Technically Arsenal can attempt a Tom Brady like comeback and beat Bayern Munich 4-0 in the second leg, but even the most ardent Arsenal fan knows that is not going to happen.

Arsene Wenger can talk all he wants about the Gunners record of reaching the knockout stages, but the facts are clear that as the level of competition improves in the competition, Arsenal cannot compete.

In four of their last six first-leg matches in the knockout stages of the Champions League, Arsenal have conceded at least three goals. That shows a squad that is simply not good enough to compete with the elite teams in the Europe.

Every year we hear this year it will be different. That with the quality and experience that they have, that Arsenal are an elite side.

But they keep making the same mistake time after time. Tactical naivety.

Bayern’s first goal came after 11 minutes when Arjen Robben picked up the ball on the right wing and Francis Coquelin invited him to cut inside onto his left foot. Robben did not need to be asked twice and fired a great shot into the top corner past David Ospina.

Alexis Sanchez, by far the best Arsenal player on the pitch, dragged Arsenal back onto level terms when he scored from a rebound after Neur had saved his penalty.

It was 1-1 at half-time and the Gunners had valuable away goal. Then came the second half and the Arsenal capitulation.

Three minutes into the second and Koscielny had to limp off with a hamstring injury and on came Gabriel to partner Mustafi in the middle of that Arsenal defence and Bayern immediately took advantage.

Four minutes after Koscielny limped off, Lahm out in a triffic cross and Lewandowski jumped above Mustafi to head home the cross.

Three minutes later it was 3-1 Bayern as a great move involving Alonso and Lewandowski ripped open the middle if the Arsenal defence for Alcantara to score past Ospina.

Same again for the fourth, another shot from Thiago, this time through a mess of players, the ball clipping Xhaka and sending Ospina the wrong way.

It could have been six or seven from there. Munich hit the bar after a scramble, Ospina tipped one from Robben around a post, a Douglas Costa shot deflected just wide. Yet Arsenal were still in touch, just. Events in the 88th minute, however, dampened the enthusiasm of even the most optimistic travelers.

It was carnage. Ponderous defenders caught in possession, a frantic scramble, Thiago to Thomas Muller, just on as a substitute. He couldn’t have been afforded a more hospitable welcome.

If this was Arsene Wenger’s last away match in the Champions League as Arsenal manager it was a horrible way to go out. There have been whispers since the Gunners pre-season tour of the US that this was Wenger’s last season as Arsenal boss. And it looks like his players have got the message that he will not be back, because except for Sanchez the rest of the side looks disinterested.