The Champions League jig is all but up for Arsenal who got schooled by a vastly superior Bayern Munich side at the Emirates
Post match interview: "We're not out of it yet," says Future England World Cup Winning Captain. Roar! Can you hear that Bayern Munich? Are ya scared? Are ya? ROAR!!!
Peep! Peep! Peep! That's it - Arsenal have lost 3-1 and while all the talk afterwards will be about what a disastrous result this was for them, the fact of the matter is that it could and should have been a lot worse. It was men against boys on the Emirates pitch tonight and if Bayern hadn't taken their foot off the gas for approximately 20 minutes in the second half, they could have won this at even more of a canter.
As things stand, the jig is very much up for Arsenal, even if their players and manager come out with the usual unconvincing platitudes about it only being half-time. Bayern Munich are just too good for them and a team of their quality aren't going to concede three goals at home in the second leg.
90+2 min: "If Wilshere didn't play in London and was not English, he'd be considered a run of the mill Premier League player," writes Gary Naylor, who appears to be making the extraordinary suggestion that many in the largely London-based UK football media are jingoistic know-nothings who are in the habit of losing the run of themselves at the mere sight of an English footballer who can occasionally beat a man without tripping over his own feet. "Amazing how infectious hype can be," he continues, as Future World Cup Winning England Captain watches the referee put his whistle to his lips.
89 min: Bah! That's a waste. From a very promising position, Santi Cazorla whips the ball on to the head of Mario Gomez, who clears. The ball drops kindly for Bacary Sagna, who shoots high over the bar through a crowd of bodies.
88 min: Phillipp Lahm gets booked for a foul on Thomas Vermaelen on the right side of the Bayern penalty area, inches from the edge.
83 min: Having seen their team fluke their way back into this tie with a goal they scarcely deserved, Arsenal fans must be seething with frustration at the sight of them conceding such a preposterously soft one.
Phillipp Lahm galloped about 70 yards into acres of space to pick up that pass from Arjen Robben and there wasn't a soul near him - why wasn't Sant Cazorla tracking back? - as he took all the time in the world to pick the spot where he wanted to deliver his cross.
There was an element of luck to Mandzukic's finish - no doubt about that, but Arsenal should never have let Bayern get into a position where they could ride their luck like that.
82 min: Bayern Munich substitution: Mandzukic makes way for Mario Gomez, who immediately tries his luck with one, then another shot straight at Szczesny.
78 min: OK, here we go: Arjen Robben had the ball on the inside right flank, then played it wide to Philiipp Lahm who was on the overlap. The Bayern captain drilled the ball low and hard across the corridor of uncertainty, where Szczesny and Sagna dithered, allowing Mandzukic to slide in front of the full-back and send the ball steeplingly high up in the air before dropping into the back of the net. It seemed to happen in slow motion and I initially thought the ball was going to loop over the bar.
GOAL! Arsenal 1-3 Bayern Munich (Mandzukic 76) I'm not an Arsenal fan and couldn't give a hoot who wins this match, but even I have my head in my hands over that one. More kamikaze defending from Arsenal helps Bayern go 3-1 up.
73 min: Walcott moves wide to the right flank and is immediately picked out by a pass from the subsitute, Rosicky. Walcott then proceeds to pick out the other substitute, Giroud, with a peach of a cross, only to see the Frenchman shoot straight at Neuer from close range. The goalkeeper keeps the ball out, but didn't appear to know too much about what he was doing.
72 min: Arsenal double-substitution: Ramsey and Podolski off, Tomas Rosicky and Olivier Giroud on.
69 min: The ITV commentary team of Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend get very excited by a Lukas Podolski snap-shot that wasn't really all that, to be honest. The German snatched a loose ball in a bid to stab it goalwards, but his effort trundled vaguely across the face of goal without ever really looking like going in.
67 min: Ramsey's cautionable offence on Thomas Muller earned Bayern a free-kick about 30 yards from goal, well left of centre. Bastian Schweinsteiger stands over the dead ball, managing to lift it over the Arsenal wall and subsequently their crossbar. Goal-kick.
66 min: Bayern substitution from a couple of minutes ago: Franck Ribery off, Arjen Robben on. And in other news, Lukas Podolski and Aaron Ramsey have been booked for late challenges. That's five Arsenal players who've been booked tonight so far.
64 min: Szczesny dashes off his line in a bid to gather the aforementioned delivery and does so with all the zeal and determination of a prissy city banker trying to pick a lost Rolex out of a pile of cow shit. Arsenal are lucky not to concede a third as Javi Martinez heads over.
62 min: Bayern Munich concede a free-klick wide on the left, but Toni Kroos's low drive into the Arsenal penalty area is poor. The ball comes back to the Bayern midfielder on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area and he stings Wojciech Szczesny palms to win a corner.
58 min: Bayern Munich are rattled, make no mistake. Thomas Muller concedes a free-kick wide on the left wing and theo Walcott takes the ensuing free-kick from deep. His delivery is marvellous - he sends the ball dropping into the corridor of uncertainty between goalkeeper and his back four. Under pressure from assorted onrushing Arsenal forwards, Neuer's punched clearance is anything but convincing.
56 min: Arsenal took a corner they shouldn't actually have been awarded. Jack Wilshere curled the ball into the Bayern Munich defence, where Dante inexplicably let the ball bounce in front of him. It bounced into the path of Luka Podolski, who appeared to chest it past Manuel Neuer, who was caught in no-man's land after coming for the ball, only to hesitate. That was a complete shambles.
GOAL! Arsenal 1-2 Bayern Munich (Podolski 55) They've conceded one now and it was incredibly soft.
53 min: My colleague Ian McCourt is on hand with a jaunty stat: "Bayern Munich have now not conceded a goal in 11 hours (660 minutes) of football," he says.
Thanks Ian, for letting me know how many minutes there are in 11 hours, but wouldn't it have been better to let me know at what time they hit that 660th minute.
49 min: Cazorla tries to play the ball through to Theo Walcott down by the by-line, to the right of the Bayern goal. Dante cuts out the pass in the left-back position, plays a quick ball to Bastian Schweinsteiger and within seconds Bayern have it back at the other end of the field as they press and probe for an opening.
48 min: There's a huge roar of encouragement from the home crowd as a meaty challenge from Lukas Podolski results in his side winning ... a throw-in.
46 min: Bayern pick up where they left off: putting the hurt on their hosts. They win two corners and a free-kick in quick succession, delivering ball after ball across the face of the Arsenal goal.
Second half is go: There are no changes on either side, which is surprising from an Arsenal point of view, considering they're being beaten out their own gate.
Bayern's first: The ITV pundits (Gordon Strachan, Lee Dixon and Gareth Southgate) can't decide whether or not Aaron Ramsey is to blame for Bayern's opener. Strachan insists he is for not being in a position to clear Muller's "scabby cross", but Lee Dixon claims he was merely following the orders of his centre-halves, who he claims would have instructed Ramsey to be where he was.
Bayern's second: Zonal Marking gets the blame for this one - the marking system, rather than the Guardian tactics boffin of the same name. Of course, rather than the system being at fault, it's the players who don't know how to execute properly we should be tut-tutting and here again it's Ramsey, who failed to attack the ball at the near post and let Van Buyten get the jump on him, with a little help from Arteta, who had his man, Thomas Muller in a tight Juvve-hold as the ball came in, but lost him and allowed him to score.
After a bright start, Arsenal quickly came unstuck and go in lucky to be just two goals down. Bayern have been vastly superior in every department, not least at the back where Messrs Alaba, Dante, Van Buyten and Lahm have been utterly impregnable compared to their slapstick Arsenal counterparts.
44 min: Oooh ... that should have been game, set and match for Bayern Munich. Phillipp Lahm barrelled down the right flank with the ball at his feetm, then sent an inch-perfect cross into the centre. There, an unmarked Mario Mandzukic leapt salmon-like to exploit the gap between Koscielny and Mertesacker and head powerfully wide when the goal was at his mercy. That was a surprisingly poor miss from the Croatian, but the dreadful defending from Arsenal comes as no shock at all.
43 min: In that slightly sinister and spectral way of his, Jack Wilshere tries to glide through the centre and into the Bayern penalty area, past a number of defenders. He goes to ground under a challenge from Van Buyten and appeals for a penalty, but none is forthcoming.
41 min: Correction: Bastian Schweinsteiger was booked in the 36th minute, not Thomas Muller. Apparently it was Muller who perpetrated the foul, but Schweinsteiger was subsequently booked for complaining about it. He'll sit out the second leg on the naughty step.
38 min: Arsenal attack down the left, where Lukas Podolski finds Aaron Ramsey, who sends a cross into the Bayern Munich penalty area. Theo Walcott and Bacary Sagna both leap in vain, but the latter is penalised for a foul on Mario Mandzukic. The full-back, who has already been booked, responds by intimating to the referee through the medium of sign language that he should have gone to Spec Savers (other opticians are available).
37 min: By "something or other", I did of course mean a foul on Lukas Podolski.
36 min: There's a huge roar of appreciation from the Arsenal fans as ... Thomas Muller gets booked for something or other. Yes, they've been reduced to that after 36 minutes of a 180-minute Champions League tie.
33 min: Arsenal win a free-kick about halfway between the halfway line and the Bayern goal. Considering the hiding they've been getting this last 15 minutes, you'd have to say that's a fantastic, gilt-edged scoring chance. The ball's swung into the mixer by Jack Wilshere and knocked down nicely for ... Per Mertesacker. His shot in the crowded penalty area is smothered by the outstretched Daniel van Buyten.
28 min: Arsenal launch an attack of sorts, with Theo Walcott sprinting through the centre with the ball at his feet, but only Santi Cazorla up in support to his right. Walcott pings the ball wide to his team-mate, who tries to return the favour without trying to beat left-back David Alaba first and his cross is cleared.
24 min: Arsenal's players are starting to lose their composure now - in the time it took me to write that unwieldy goal description, Bacary Sagna and Mikel Arteta have been booked for petulant and unnecessary fouls.
21 min: Hideously bad defending allows Bayern Munich to go two up. The German side had a corner, which was delivered to the near post, where the completely unmarked Daniel van Buyten (by some way the tallest player on the pitch) had made a run and flashed the ball straight at Szczesny from pretty much point-plank range. The goalkeeper could only parry the ball up in the air and as his team-mates stood around wondering which nightclub they'd go to after the game, Thomas Muller was quickest to react and raised a foot to prod the ball home from all of six inches out.
GOAL! Arsenal 0-2 Bayern Munich (Muller 20) Oh Arsenal.
19 min: As the ref pauses the game to make some running repairs on his microphone, now seems as good a time as any to deal with some housekeeping: Thomas Vermaelen was booked for a foul on Javi Martinez in the build-up to Bayern's most recent free-kick. And if you're looking for somebody at which to point your big finger of blame for Bayern's goal, replays suggest Aaron Ramsey could have cleared Muller's cross.
16 min: That was Bayern's second free-kick from a promising position, by the way. There was one earlier I still haven't had a chance to tell you about: Daniel van Buyton shooting straight into the wall from outside the penalty area for an Arteta foul on Kroos.
14 min: Mario Mandzukic capitalises on another lapse from an Arsenal defender, this time pouncing on a loose pass from Per Mertesacker to Mikel Arteta and trying to scuttle towards goal. Thomas Vermaelen intervenes to put a stop to his insolence, so the referee brings play back for a Bayern free-kick for some infraction I didn't catch. Bastian Schweinsteiger drills the free-kick wide of the left upright.
11 min: From the aforementioned corner, Arsenal go on the counter-attack, with Theo Walcott being released to attack Philipp Lahm down the centre. He's forced wide and plays the ball even wider to Bacary Sagna. Moments later, the attack breaks down.
10 min: Thomas Vermaelen has an attempted clearance charged down by Mario Mandzukic, who wins a corner for his team. Nothing comes of it.
8 min: That's exceptionally harsh on Arsenal, who had started well, but they could have done a lot better to defend that cross. Bayern's build-up began down the middle of the pitch and upon reaching the edge of the final third, they worked the ball out to Muller on the right flank. His cross was tame and there to be hacked clear, but it bounced its way to Kroos on the edge of the penalty area and he did very well to keep his shot down when so many others would have ballooned it over the stand.
GOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Bayern Munich (Kroos 6) On the edge of the Arsenal penalty area, Toni Kroos gets on the end of a cross from Thomas Muller and shows great technique to keep the ball down as he welts it past Wojciech Szczesny and into the Arsenal goal.
5 min: This is a great start from Arsenal. In the wake of a Bayern Munich corner, they went on the attack down the right flank. Bacary Sagna played the ball forward for Theo Walcott, who sprinted down the inside right. His teasing cross was put out for a corner, which Neuer misjudged, but there was nobody behind the Bayern goalkeeper to capitalise on his ill-timed leap.
3 min: Arsenal launch the first attack of note, with Wilshere picking out Santi Cazorla on the right wing. The Spaniard gallops down the inside right and tries to drill the ball low and hard across the face of the Bayern goal. The retreating Bastian Schweinsteiger blocks his attempted cross.
2 min: Referee Svein Moen awards a free-kick to Arsenal in the Bayern half of the centre-circle after the Arsenal midfielder was fouled by Daniel Van Buyten. He could have played advantage and nothing comes from the ensuing free-kick.
1 min: It's game on, with Arsenal playing from left to right, their personnel dressed in their customary livery of red shirts with white sleeves, white shorts and white socks. Bayern's wear black shirts, shorts and socks with red trim.
The teams are in the tunnel standing with their hands on their hips waiting to get the call out on to the pitch. Bayern's players look comparatively relaxed and big. They're summons arrives, each player grabs a mascot by the hand and off they set, click-clacking their way towards the arena.
I don't know how many football hipster points you would get because you haven't specified from which decade that match was played.
Arsenal: Laurent Koscielny and Santi Cazorla.
Bayern Munich: Dante, Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
With as many as 21 minutes to go until kick-off, the final credits have rolled on Emmerdale, bringing the curtain down on a splendid row between Cain Dingle and a character played by an actress who used to go out with a friend of mine back in the day. Cain's just told her he loves her, but she's having none of it. She's right too - he seems like a wrong 'un.
"Big moment for Ramsey this," he says. "Hope he does well. If he gets disemboweled could be bad for the ol' confidence. Course you could say that about the whole side, apart from Wilshire who has miles of intestinal fortitude to spare. Ox seems to be blessed in that department too, just needs to raise his game to the same level. Come to think of it, if his negotiating skills are anything to go by, Walcott's got some guts tucked away somewhere too. And Mertesacker, you know he won't leave his post. Podolski is fickle and can appear to go missing at times, but, as with with most snipers, you know you can count on him to make the shot when it counts the most. Giroud has the easy confidence of all handsome lads, like Face on A-Team. So actually, come to think of it, the kids appear to be alright. Maybe they will make something of this."
"Scottish football might be a bit crap but this is as good as you will see in any league in the world ... by a dumbarton player," writes Gavin Box.
"Guten Tag from lovely Amherst, Massachusetts," he says. "I'm in the midst of preparing a presentation on the brilliant German poet Heinrich Heine. As Heine was both an ardent liberal and francophile, I am sure he would prefer Arsene's cosmopolitan group of entertainers to the stuffy and conservative visitors from Bavaria. In a gratuitous attempt to gain good karma, my prediction is: Arsenal 3-1 Bayern."
"Guten abend, Barry," he writes. "As a neutral, I'm in the privileged position of simply looking forward to a great game tonight and not really caring who wins. And as always, it'll be a case of computer love during the MBM. 3-3 please." I'll do my best, for you Simon.
Despite having been a major injury worry for Arsenal, centre-half Laurent Koscielny will line up for Arsenal, with Thomas Vermaelen playing at left-back in place of the injured Kieran Gibbs (new signing Nacho Monreal, in from Malaga, is cup-tied).
In the Bayern side, the in-form Mario Mandzukic will play up front with Thomas Muller and Franck Ribery providing support from the wings, which means Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben have to settle for places on the bench.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen,
Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey, Cazorla, Podolski, Walcott.
Subs: Mannone, Diaby, Rosicky, Giroud, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin,
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Lahm, Van Buyten, Dante, Alaba,
Javi Martinez, Schweinsteiger, Muller, Kroos, Ribery, Mandzukic.
Subs: Starke, Robben, Shaqiri, Rafinha, Gustavo, Gomez,
Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen (Norway)
• Bayern Munich won 59 corners in the group stage, more than any other team.
• Thomas Vermaelen has played all 540 minutes of Arsenal's 2012/13 Champions League campaign thus far.
• Bayern striker Mario Mandzukic has scored more headed goals than any other player in the top five European Leagues in 2012-13.
• Arsenal had the fewest shots in this season’s group stages among the 16 teams qualified for the knockout phase.
• Bayern Munich have lost six of their eight Champions League last 16 away games, including a defeat at Arsenal in 2005.
Good evening and welcome to our minute-by-minute coverage of what many sports fans are describing as Possibly The Champions League Game Of The Night, Depending On How It Goes Compared To The Other One Between Porto And Malaga That Few In The UK Will Be Watching. An awful lot has been has been said and written in the build-up to this intriguing encounter and it should go without saying that much of it has been sensationalist, knee-jerk cobblers.
Yes, Arsenal lost against Championship opposition in their last match. Yes, they're underdogs tonight. Yes, their manager was much more tetchy than usual in his pre-match press conference yesterday. And yes, Bayern Munich are 15 points clear at the summit of the Bundesliga and have conceded just seven goals in the league all season. But those let's not forget that the boys from Bavaria have also shipped six goals in as many Champions League matches this season, three of which were conceded in a spanking endured at the hands of BATE Borisov from Belarus.
In short, while it would certainly be a surprise to see Arsenal beat Bayern over two legs, victory for the Gunners is far from the oulandish long shot some seem to have decided on the back of one sluggish performance by a below-strength team against Blackburn Rovers. Football teams have off days (and it seems a constant source of bafflement and irritation for Arsenal fans that theirs seem to endure more than most), but on one of their better ones you'd the Gooners to beat most sides at home. Look, they're going to get mullered, aren't they?
Anyway, while you're waiting for the latest team news, feel free to pass the time catching up on this yesterday's Football Weekly podcast, Marcus Christenson's previews of this week's Champions League matches, Dominic Fifield's heroic attempt to grapple with your interrogatory projectiles in today's pre-match webchat or - for those of you perhaps more interested in a German perspective - this Alexis Petridis review of one of the show's from Kraftwerk's retrospective residency at London's Tate Modern.