European champions Bayern Munich have got one foot in the Champions League Quarter Finals after they saw off a spirited Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium tonight thanks to two second-half goals from Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller.
These two met at the same stage of this competition last season, and it was Munich that prevailed on away-goals as the two-legged tie ended 3-3, but due to the German side’s 3-1 rout in England, they progressed, and it looks like they are set to do the same again this season.
The game started with Arsene Wenger’s men on the front-foot and after Mesut Ozil was brought down inside the penalty area, the hosts had a chance to take the lead, but the German’s penalty was easily saved by Manuel Neuer, much to the frustration of the home fans and the player himself, who has now missed his last three penalties.
The stuttered and slow walk-up to the ball was then followed by a tame shot down the middle of the goal, which was easily palmed away by Neuer.
It was then Munich’s opportunity to score from the spot as Wojciech Szczesny brought down Arjen Robben.
The Polish shot-stopper was sent off for his last-ditch challenge and was then caught on camera making a rude gesture to the fourth official.
David Alaba was the man to step up for Munich, and his penalty was just as bad as Ozil’s as his hit the post and went out.
Scores level at half-time, but with Arsenal down to 10-men, it was one way traffic in the second-half.
It only took Munich nine minutes in fact in the second-half to take the lead after Toni Kroos fired home superbly from just outside the box. An away-goal and still 35 minutes left for The Gunners to see out.
Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t and with just two minute left, Thomas Mullar headered home to double the lead and mark their authority on the tie.
That was where the exciting tie ended and it leaves Arsene Wenger and co. with a massive task ahead of them, but if anyone can win 2-0 at the Allianz Arena, it is Arsenal.
Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker on Sky Sports: “We started really well and deserved one goal. We dropped and dropped after the red card. We kept our defensive spirit.
“We lost here 3-1 last year against Bayern Munich and went there and beat them and we are looking forward to Munich. Why can’t we get back in it?
“I think there is no doubt there was contact (for the penalty). I don’t know if it was a red card because the ball was a long way from Wojciech Szczesny.”
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: “We made big mistakes, but the spirit was absolutely fantastic.
“The penalty we missed killed the crowd and positive vibes. We were down to 10 men and we suffered physically.
“It is a night the team showed some quality, but at the end of the day we lost the game.
“[Talking about Mesut Ozil’s penalty-taking technique] I prefer people ran properly at the ball. Everybody has their own style, there is not one way of penalty taking.
“[On the Bayern penalty] If there is contact, it is a penalty. I dispute many times it is a red card. If it is a rule, you have to accept it.
“I think Yaya Sanogo is one of the satisfactory parts of tonight. He worked with total commitment, and some quality.
“We got caught basically on the counter for the second goal. We will have a go in the second leg, and you never know.
“We won at the Allianz Arena last season, we will have to try and do the same again.”
Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola: “Arsenal were much much much better than us for the first 20 minutes. After the red card for their goalkeeper it was another game.
“When he is the last man then the referee says penalty and red card.
“It is difficult to play when you see nine players in the box. It is not easy, never. But importantly we controlled this situation and played with patience and at the end found the goal.
“Last year Bayern had a better result than this evening. It depends on our heads (the second leg).”
Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm: “This was a huge challenge. Especially in the opening stage it was very difficult for us. But in the end we can be very happy with the result. I think we had the game under control after about 20 minutes and dominated the match afterwards.
“It is a good result to take back, but we have been warned by the match last year. All of us who were there know how quickly things can go wrong. We need to be alert from the first minute once again.”
Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt – @AlexsArticles