Bayern Munich earned a deserved 2-0 win over Arsenal last night. Here are three reasons for the German side’s success.
1. Ozil penalty miss
The opening exchanges were a lively affair and both sides moved up and down the pitch attacking. It was a refreshing change from the usual mode that away sides adopt: trying to settle for a draw and take it back home, much like Barcelona’s first twenty minutes with Manchester City the previous night. However, this game saw open football from the start and Arsenal were threatening. Manuel Neuer produced a fine save from a Yaya Sanogo effort and also stopped a Santi Cazorla shot. Arsenal looked good and unexpectedly so but the penalty miss was an early crucial failing for Arsenal.
Ozil stepped up to take Arsenal’s penalty after the former Real Madrid star was taken down in the box by Jerome Boateng. The weak effort was easily swatted aside by the German national ‘keeper. It was the second bad miss during the season by Ozil who also had a less-than-stellar attempt against Marseille. It was a golden effort to go in front in a huge tie but it was wasted on the back of a poor effort which had immediate ramifications.
The miss deflated Arsenal and Bayern began to take the game from Arsenal up until the 37th minute when the second reason for success occurred.
2. The sending off…
Every game is immediately and irreversibly changed when there’s a red card and this game was no different. Wojciech Szczesny was sent off after bringing down Arjen Robben. Wenger was forced to swap out Santi Carzola who was switched with Lukasz Fabianski and with the earlier Kieran Gibbs change for Nacho Monreal, Wenger was down to one substitute for the game; Bayern had their full complement.
David Alaba did miss the penalty but Bayern immediately began to savour the extra man advantage.
3. …which lead to Bayern’s dominance
The sending off was centrifugal to Bayern’s victory as it ushered in dominance for the Champions. They opened up considerably and went attacking for the remaining half. They lived in Arsenal’s side of the pitch and camped in the front of the box passing among colleagues, relentlessly probing for the incisive pass to enable a goal. The tactic told in the statistics: after Arsenal’s red card in the 37th minute, they completed a miserly forty passes while Bayern completed a massive 575 passes – in the second half alone they completed 98% of their passes. The connection between Munich team mates resulted in 25 total shots all game and two goals in the second half at the foot of the magisterial Toni Kroos and the head of the fast-moving Thomas Muller.
Arsenal might have recovered from the penalty miss however unlikely but with the dismissal and Bayern’s dominance, they were never going to win it out.
As Muller netted his side’s second, Bayern fans sang ‘Football’s coming home’ and Arsenal face an impossible task to win the tie in Munich.
Pundit Arena, Luke Lonergan.