Champions League: Ruthless Bayern batter helpless Arsenal
Lee Gormley | November 4, 2015
Bayern Munich 5-1 Arsenal
- Robert Lewandowski nets after just 10 minutes
- Bayern Munich strike three goals before half-time
- Arjen Robben scores seconds after being introduced
Bayern batter helpless Arsenal
Pep Guardiola’s dominant German champions Bayern Munich stormed to a comfortable 5-1 victory over Arsene Wenger’s helpless Arsenal at the Allianz Arena, cruising further ahead at the summit of Group F with a flawless European performance.
The hosts simply demolished the Gunners, with Robert Lewandowski heading home after just 10 minutes, as Thomas Muller and David Alaba then capped off a truly emphatic first-half outing on home soil.
A rapturous Munich crowd were then treated to a European return for Arjen Robben, as he struck only moments after being introduced, before Muller’s clinical second, while Olivier Giroud netted a second-half consolation between in a defeat which leaves Arsenal on the verge of a disastrous European exit.
In London, Arsenal had been pegged back instantly from kick-off, but it was the Gunners that sprung to life swiftly in Munich, with midfield stars Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin and Mesut Ozil linking-up impressively down the centre to almost free Giroud.
Although, despite early glimpses of threatening pace down the wings from Joel Campbell and possession in the centre from their central stars, mistakes crept into Arsenal’s build-up, with Coquelin a regular stray pass offender.
Guardiola’s Bayern soon regained their usual rhythm on the ball, as Thiago Alcantara and Xabi Alonso begun to dictate proceedings, constantly finding wing threats Kingsley Coman and Douglas Costa in dangerous positions.
The early pressure paid off after just 10 minutes, when Munich marksman Lewandowski cleverly edged away from a flat-footed Gunners defence to open proceedings, heading in a precise Thiago delivery.
Arsenal’s misery looked to have immediately been banished moments later when German playmaker Ozil tapped in from close range after a left-sided Nacho Monreal cross but, after plenty of Bavarians claims, he was rightly judged to have scored with his arm. The midfielder looked a bewildered character when the referee also flashed a yellow card in his direction for handball.
Cech gunned down
Summer singing Petr Cech possessed more Champions League knowledge than any other Arsenal player in Wenger’s ranks, and the former Chelsea stopper had to call upon all of his European experience to thwart a constantly lurking Lewandowski.
To makes matters worse for the deep-lying Gunners, Bayern full backs Philipp Lahm and Alaba continued to drive forward on the flanks to support their wingers, with Mathieu Debuchy struggling to deal with the talents of on-loan Coman.
Both Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista were given a reprieve from the Bavarians’ attacking onslaught after 23 minutes, with Alexis Sanchez and Ozil trying to force their side further up the pitch, but to no avail.
Cech had done his acrobatic best to deny Bayern’s freeflowing forwards from extending the lead, but Muller was on hand before the half-hour mark to punish Arsenal further. The prolific poacher dispatched a low-driven effort past a diving Cech to double the hosts’ advantage, with the ball taking a slight deflection off a trailing Mertesacker leg.
Bayern enjoying freedom
Munich defensive pair Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez had little to do throughout the first period in front of Manuel Neuer, as Alonso orchestrated play from midfield and Thiago enjoyed freedom on the ball.
Alaba was a constant threat down the left wing, but it wasn’t until he moved momentarily into the centre to dispossess Spaniard Cazorla that he truly showed his attacking credentials, smashing home Bayern’s third from outside the penalty area.
The first encounter in London saw Bayern frustrated by Arsenal despite their dominance in possession but, after their early home goals this time out, Guardiola’s men were in full flow and started the second half as they ended the first.
Munich maintained their supreme form, with Arsenal struggling to string a series of passes together, never mind getting themselves back into the encounter.
Robben’s rampant return
After returning from a long-term injury recently, deadly Dutch winger Robben entered the fray after 55 minutes and, within seconds of his European return he made it 4-0 with a close-range finish off a superb Alaba delivery.
Past the hour mark, travelling fans finally had something to shout about, as towering targetman Giroud latched onto a lofted Sanchez cross, brilliantly settling himself before acrobatically firing past Neuer.
Robben looked on course to add his second with only minutes remaining at the Allianz Arena, after being played through then rounding Cech, but Debuchy’s last-ditch challenge thwarted a fifth goal. However, Muller was on hand in the dying moments to cap off a remarkable performance by dispatching his second past Cech.
Giroud’s sublime strike ultimately turned out to be nothing more than a consolation, as Munich continued their dominance to take full control of Group F, leaving Arsenal needing nothing short of a miracle to progress.
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