Wojcech Szczesny was sent off and Mesut Ozil missed a penalty before Bayern showed their class with two second-half goals
That’s it. There will be talk of the missed penalty and the red card, of course, but the most important detail is that Arsenal are a good side and Bayern a great one. That difference in class became increasingly obvious as the game progressed, both before and after Szczesny was sent off. Bye!
90+1 min Kroos hits the post with a deliberate sidefoot from 20 yards, the ball shimmering across the turf like a bowling ball. He is a wonderful player. Arsenal have gone. If this went on for another ten minutes it would be 5-0.
90 min Arsenal are on their knees. Gotze’s shot deflects just wide of goal. There will be two added minutes.
89 min When we write the Joy of Six: intelligent footballers, Thomas Muller will surely be up there. He is a miracle of resourcefulness.
Thomas Muller finds the unmarked blade of grass in the penalty area and puts Arsenal out of Europe. It’s a beautifully worked goal. Pizarro’s brilliant centre-to-right run takes Mertesacker out of the game; Muller pulls off Flamini to meet Lahm’s precise chipped pass from the right and head it carefully into the corner from eight yards. That’s a high-class goal.
Well there that goes.
87 min Koscielny wins a free-kick just inside the Bayern half. It’s wasted by Wilshere.
“Nomination for shortest debate of the year,” says Colin Livingstone. “Kroos or Wilshere.”
85 min Actually, perhaps Bayern, Robben excepted, could have been a little more ruthless in the last 15 minutes. It shouldn’t matter but a score of 1-0 does give Arsenal at least a snifter of hope. Rosicky is booked for fouling Robben.
83 min “Regarding whether to join in and send you an abusive note it boils down to defending a person I like or siding with the powerful,” says Ian Copetake. “Well, you muppet ...”
NB: the clip below contains some lively language.
82 min Arsenal cross the halfway line.
81 min Another wonderfully decisive run from Robben, buzzing infield from the right, takes him into the six-yard box before his cutback is cleared desperately for a corner.
79 min Another Bayern change: the quiet Thiago off, the 472-year-old Chelsea alumnus Claudio Pizarro on. That means Bayern are playing two up front. And four at the back. 4-4-2 you might say. Pep’s the Spanish John Beck!
78 min “Ozil,” says Sarah McLeroy. “This was definitely in the brochure. It’s who Ozil is, brilliant for a while and then invisible or even a liability the rest of the time. He can be sublime but that never lasts. He has shown this inability to play at his highest level for long periods of time running at every club he has played at.”
Sorry, should have made it clearer: I meant that marking a full-back wasn’t in the brochure that Arsenal showed him.
77 min Imagine what Bayern could do to Manchester United if they get them in the quarter-finals!
76 min Yes, that should have been a penalty. Muller tried to stay on his foot, which may have cost him, but he was clearly fouled having wrongfooted Koscielny. Muller didn’t appeal, which is a bit odd. Then again Chris Waddle didn’t appeal when he was clearly fouled in the box in the Italia 90 semi-final.
75 min “Ooooh” ooohs Gary Neville when Muller goes over in the box after a challenge from Koscielny. I was reading abusive emails so missed it I’m afraid.
74 min Arsenal make their final substitution, with Tomas Rosicky replacing the tiring Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. It’s a bit of a surprise that Ozil is still on the field, mind.
72 min Robben frees the overlapping Lahm, who sidefoots a fierce first-time cross towards the near post. Gotze meets it with a diving header across goal that deflects off Mertesacker and just wide of the near post.
71 min This is a masterclass in possession football, less indulgent than Spain and the current Barcelona. Ramba Zamba > tiki-taka. The key is Robben, who has such penetration in his play. He has been absurdly good tonight.
70 min Robben, on the right corner of the box, uses Ozil as a screen and Whitesides a delicious curling shot just wide of the far post. By the way the score, in passes, is Bayern 561-140 Arsenal.
68 min “Do you think Kroos could be underrated because of his quiet and often seemingly arrogant nature?” says Pierre Muller. “He looks like he’s in a symbiosis with this thing on his foot, can’t think of a actual football looking more elegant, more gifted with pure talent, but still... I don’t like him, it just seems like he knows too well how good he is. Do you like him?”
I do. On the list of arrogant German midfield players, surely he only just sneaks into the top 4000?
66 min The sliding Muller is approximately 0.2423127 millimetres away from converting Rafinha’s superb low cross from the right. Bayern have marmalised Arsenal down this right-hand side. I’m amazed Wenger hasn’t switched Ozil and Oxladee-Chamberlain. Ozil either doesn’t want to or doesn’t know how to defend.
65 min “As we’re all getting very excited about things tonight, potentially prematurely, how much more rope has Ozil got before officially Arshaving?” says Elliot Carr-Barnsley. “Since the skill for the penalty incident, he has seemed completely unaware of what he’s meant to be achieving either going forward or covering back.”
When he joined Arsenal, this definitely wasn’t in the brochure.
64 min Robben tees up Rafinha, whose first-time cross is headed wide by the under-pressure Gotze. Bayern take off Mandzukic and bring on the false nine’s false nine, Thomas Muller.
63 min Fabianski makes a fine save from Robben. Kroos (I think), clipped a penetrative angled 20-yard pass over the head of Koscielny. Robben hared beyond the defence and sidefooted the ball first time back whence it came. I think it was a shot, although it may have been an attempted cross to Mandzukic. Either way, Fabianski plunged to his right to palm it away.
62 min “Red card and pelanty rule,” says Felix Wood. “The red card is a punishment for the player fouling in DOGSO. The pelanty is to ensure that no advantage is gained. The first is to discourage the foul being made in future, the latter to ensure the attacking team isn’t penalised. One punitive, the other compensatory. One without the other would always mean it would be more worth risking the foul than not. Is that what you want? Really? YOU’RE A MONSTER.”
61 min Bayern are now roaming the green with the most delicious arrogance. We are better than you, and we are going to remind you of that fact for every remaining second of this match.
60 min On Sky, Bill Leslie reminds us that that’s Arsenal’s 100th red card under Wenger. Opta stats confirm that Wenger saw all 100 incidents, and disagreed with the lot.
59 min Bayern have had 78 per cent of the possession in this half. Long live Ramba Zamba.
57 min Arsenal can’t get out of their third, never mind their half.
56 min So England will have two European Cup quarter-finalists at most, to go with none last year. This is surely England’s worst period in Europe since the mid-1990s.
55 min Sanogo is booked for running into Neuer. Wenger, on the touchline, makes a dive motion to Robben. He saw that incident, then. Wenger’s noggin has gone, just like Pellegrini’s last night.
This is a glorious goal from Kroos. It came, inevitably, from a move down the right. After a bit of Ramba Zamba, Lahm came infield and played the ball back to Kroos. He was 20 yards out, in front of the near post, and leaned back to place a languid curling shot into the top corner. Fabianski leapt to his left but had no chance. That was a majestic goal from a still underrated footballer.
Pick that out.
53 min Bayern are killing Arsenal down the right, with Rafinha and Robben. This time Robben comes infield, along the line of the box before shaping a nice curler towards the far post that is comfortably saved by the plunging Fabianski.
52 min Wenger must be tempted to bring on Giroud for Sanogo. The problem is that would be his third substitution, a risk so early in the game.
51 min A chance for Arsenal. Ozil’s inswinging free-kick from the right finds Koscielny, who loses Martinez just inside the area, but he overruns the ball.
50 min Arsenal have barely touched the ball since half-time.
48 min Should that have been another penalty to Bayern? Thiago was moving onto a driven cross from the left when he fell over and missed the ball. At the same time a challenge came in from behind. Whether that affected him we don’t yet know, as they haven’t shown a replay. Nobody seemed to make very much of it. The ball was half-cleared to Kroos, whose long-range shot was straight at Fabianski and easily held.
46 min Bayern make a half-time substitution, with Rafinha replacing Boateng. So Martinez goes to centre-back and Lahm into midfield. Gotze’s dangerous cross towards Mandzukic is cleared.
The more you see the penalty, the more you understand the perception that it was not a red card. It’s really hard to call. Perhaps one of the covering defenders would have got there before Robben; I don’t know. I know this isn’t a popular standpoint in this age of faux outrage, but I can see both sides!
“If Özil had gone past Boateng,” says Haris Odobasic, “wouldn’t he have been 1 on 1 with Neuer which is a clear goalscoring opportunity, or not?”
Yes but weren’t there covering defenders? I can’t remember, it was so long ago. This MBMing is hard work. It’s a young man’s game.
What’s going on here then?
It seems there are plenty of you who don’t think it was a penalty, never mind a red card. I thought it was a clear decision once I’d seen the first replay. We should see it again in a minute. Michael Ballack on Sky calls it a “clear penalty” and that he hates the rule whereby the player has to be sent off too. He’s right. The red card is for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, but what is a penalty if not a clear goalscoring opportunity? A penalty and a yellow seems fair unless it is a comically cynical foul.
In other news, that touch of Ozil’s to create the penalty was pure genius – not only did he Cruyff-turn Boateng, he stunned the ball into the ground so that it bounced over Boateng’s trailing leg, which then brought him down. If Ozil meant that – and I think he did – it’s ludicrous skill.
Here’s Wojcech Szczesny reaction to his red card.
Somewhere in the world, Greavsie is nodding sagely. That was a funny old half, with two missed penalties and a red card overshadowing some high-class football from both sides. See you in 10 minutes.
45+1 min There are suggestions that Szczesny responded to his red card with a popular playground hand signal. The one that conveys the perception that the recipient is an incorrigible onanist. Szczesny should have done it in the referee’s face. What’s the referee going to do, send him off again?
45 min Robben is still being booed. I suppose there’s an element of the boy who cried wolf but it’s certainly misplaced in this instance. He was clearly fouled. Meanwhile, Mandzukic is booked for something or other. Nobody seems to know what.
44 min Kroos gets a final warning from the referee, presumably for repeat offending.
43 min “Naylor’s idea is a good one,” says Simon Huxtable. “I have another: if a player irritates the referee through his backchat, then the referee can give him a choice: either a yellow card or ‘referee’s justice’, which is a kick in the shins (without shinpads). A player already on a yellow might choose ref’s justice, but might face a lengthy spell on the sidelines if the ref is feeling particularly mean.”
42 min Robben is being booed for the crime of having his shinbone treated like a football by Szczesny.
40 min This game is turning into a farce. Alaba sidefoots the penalty confidently but straight onto the outside of the left post, with Fabianski going the wrong way.
39 min Santi Cazorla - who has contributed to Arsenal’s problems by doing no defending - is sacrificed, with the replacement goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski coming on.
Actually, maybe it is a legitimate red card. Robben, zipping infield from the right, played a lovely one-two with Kroos, who clipped his return pass over the top of a static defence. Robben, flying through the air, got there just before Szczesny and was sent tumbling. A clear penalty. At first I thought Robben had pushed it too wide to be a clear goalscoring opportunity; on reflection Robben would surely have scored.
This is clearly a penalty, though the red card seems more than a little harsh.
36 min Arsenal are living on the seat of their grundies. Koscielny’s stumble allows Robben’s angled pass to put Mandzukic clear on the right of the box. He could hit a first-time cross shot but instead tries to come back inside the recovering last man Koscielny, who dispossesses him crucially.
35 min This is a fine spell for Bayern, with the Ramba Zamba machine growling into life. That said, Szczesny hadn’t had a save to make. Yet. He also has one then when the overlapping Alaba cuts the ball back sharply to Robben, whose fierce first-time shot from 10 yards hits the unwitting Mertesacker on the six-yard line. I think Szczesny would have saved it, though it’s hard to be certain. What is clear is that it was a beautiful move.
32 min “Gary Naylor claims ‘the likes of Pelligrini’ should be captured by his rule. While Pellegrini was not covering himself in glory last night, Gary could take a look down Kings Road at Chelsea to see the problem with his idea. Chelsea would be paying Mourinho 4 million or so a year to never pick his team.”
What do you mean ‘claims’? Pellegrini was bang out of order! Naylor cited him because it was the most recent incident. Everyone knows what Mourinho’s like; nobody said otherwise. Give the keyboard outrage a rest.
31 min Gibbs limps off and is replaced by Nacho Monreal.
29 min Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain have been very good so far. Another youngster, Gibbs, looks in trouble. He is lying on his back and, though he’s not in any obvious pain, he appears to have pulled something. Moments earlier Boateng, booked when he conceded the penalty, stops an Arsenal counter-attack with a foul on Wilshere. He was 80 yards from his own goal and a second yellow would have been excessive, though some more officious jokers would have shown one.
27 min Kroos’s inswinging free-kick from deep on the left is headed well wide by the under-pressure Mandzukic.
26 min “This managerial whining after big clubs lose, effecting the double whammy of intimidating referees and deflecting attention away from defeats is deeply tedious,” says Gary Naylor. “Touchline bans and fines aren’t going to deter them, so why not hit them where it hurts? The likes of Pelligrini should name his team and then have the opposition manager nominate a player to be stood down and replaced by a sub. Playground insults deserve (reverse) playground rules. And if not this... what?”
25 min A sinuous run from Oxlade-Chamberlain brings a corner for Arsenal. He has been terrific on the right wing. Cazorla’s corner is taken down by Sanogo 15 yards out and then lumped clear. This is a good spell for Arsenal.
22 min The influential Oxlade-Chamberlain harasses Alaba into a dodgy backpass and hares after it. Neuer gets there just before Oxlade-Chamberlain to hack clear.
21 min Arsenal’s neat one-touch move ends with an errant touch from Sanogo just inside the box. Poor Ozil then incurs the displeasure of the crowd with a bad pass. How dare you Mesut!
19 min “As soon as I saw penalty in the MBM I was pretty sure the next update would be an Ozil miss,” says Justin Kavanagh. “No beef against him, great player, but doesn’t feel like he’s a killer penalty taker. Does Arsenal really have anyone who fits the bill?”
It’s often the case that the most beautiful creative players lack that need to kill. It was often said about Bergkamp (another dodgy penalty taker) and Laudrup as well.
18 min A Bayern corner from the right is half cleared to Alaba, whose fizzing shot from 20 yards is well blocked by Flamini.
17 min “Maybe Sanogo is too young and inexperienced to be scared,” says Gordon Burns. “It almost worked for the USA in its quartefinal against Germany at the 2002 World Cup. ‘I don’t see why we should lose to Germany,’ said the young Landon Donovan before that game. ‘Why should we lose to Germany?’”
And of course they lost to Germany. But yes, it’s a fair point; we’ve seen it so many times before.
16 min A quiet period. Bayern are slowly warming up the Ramba Zamba. Arsenal were magnificent for those first 10 minutes, but this is starting to look ominous.
14 min “I always felt that Glenn Hoddle’s decision not to take Paul Gascoigne to the 1998 World Cup was a brave decision,” says Karl Gibbons. “Quite a few papers at the time felt it was wrong, and whilst 1998 didn’t quite work out for England, they certainly didn’t miss him. Sadly for him it seemed to fast forward his decline thereafter. The less said about Hoddle’s view of previous lives the better.”
13 min The mood of the match has changed with that penalty miss. Bayern are having a lot of the ball now, albeit with no penetration.
10 min Arsenal had started wonderfully, tearing into Bayern, and they should be ahead. You know how these things play out.
Oh my goodness. Ozil waited and waited and then hit a poor penalty that was far too straight and at saveable height. Neuer almost dived beyond it, moving to his left, but managed to beat it away with his right hand. As Daniel Harris says opposite me, it was similar to one of David Seaman’s saves away to Sampdoria in 1994-95.
This is magnificent football from Arsenal! Ozil, put through on the left of the box, Cruyff-turns Boateng, who brings him down with a dangling leg and is booked. That’s a clear penalty. Ozil was actually offside when he ran onto Wilshere’s through pass, but it was a stunning turn.
6 min Neuer makes a great save from Sanogo! The ball broke in the box to Sanogo, who sidefooted a low first-time effort towards the right corner. Neuer, who had been moving the other way, did brilliantly to change direction and get down in time to palm the shot away.
5 min Sanogo bursts clear on the right of the box after a penetrative pass from Wilshere. The move peters out but Sanogo has started with considerable zest. As have Arsenal. Oxlade-Chamberlain’s excellent cross from the right almost finds the head of Sanogo, with Boateng doing very well to clear.
4 min “One person’s ‘brave decision’ to play Sanogo is another’s idiocy,” says Howard Fishman. “Seems to me this is Arsene’s passive-aggressive attitude towards Giroud’s indiscretions. Time and place, Arsene.”
A decision can be brave and idiotic, surely?
3 min Bayern are playing with Robben left and Gotze right. They barely got a kick for, er, 90 seconds, but they are on the ball now – and Szczesny has to make a fantastic save from Kroos! The ball was moved lazily back and forth across midfield until Kroos, 30 yards shot, drilled a rising drive across goal with his left foot. Szczesny leapt to his left and tipped the ball over with his wrong hand, the right.
2 min “There’s been plenty said about Arsene’s decisions, but Pep’s made a couple of interesting choices too,” says Tanay Padhi. “Muller on the bench, a proper centre-forward, and Lahm returning to fullback. Pep’s gone orthodox!”
He’s no better than John Beck.
1 min Arsenal kick off from left to right. They should enjoy that kick. There’s a belting atmosphere at the Emirates – I know – and a promotion to big-big-game duties for Sky’s excellent commentator Bill Leslie. Sanogo whips the crowd up some more with an intrepid if ultimately futile run.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-3 Bayern.
“That book plug,” says Conor Creighton. “Undignified in the extreme but you’re off the hook if you plug my book too. Saint Frank. It’s not about football, it’s about a boy who can talk to animals. But I am an Arsenal fan and I live in Munich so there is context.”
In view of this Sanogo business, please send in your nominations for the bravest managerial decision. I’ll start with two: Arrigo Sacchi taking off Roberto Baggio at USA 94, which some lummox wrote about here, and dear old Fergie dismantling his first great team in the summer of 1995.
“Perhaps Sanogo offers more penetration than Giroud?” says Simon Naylor-Copestake. “HONK!”
I’ll be the judge of a honk round here, sonny.
“On my way to the game,” says Tim O’Sullivan. “Shame Thomas Muller has already worked out which blade of grass will be unmarked in the 18-yard box in the 77th minute, the clever swine. Anyway, if Bayern are a fusion of Barça 08-12 and last season’s Bayern, then we sort of fuse Flashdance with MC Hammer shit. Should be fun.”
“I wouldn’t agree on your Porto statement, Rob,” says Venkata Subramanian. “They had to overcome Manchester United in the round of 16,who were the defending Premier League champions that year and one of the heavy weights. After that their path was easy. Which in all fairness still means that, Arsenal will get Barcelona in the next round IF (infinitely big) they get past Bayern.”
Yes, but United are the defending Premier League champions this season. They are also useless. United were, a couple of gloriously defiant FA Cup performances aside, a shambles in the second half of the 2003-04 season.
“It seems to me that while Arsenal may rue their luck in so often meeting the top dogs once they get out of the group stage, the fact is that to win the competition you have to be able to knock out some of the favourites at some point down the line anyway,” says Martin McCarthy. “Is Wenger found tactically wanting in the big European games or are there other, more important factors explaining these defeats?”
There are very detailed, very important, very subtle, very cerebral, very educated tactical reasons why Arsenal have failed to win the Champions League in recent years, and I’d probably need a 274-page document to explain them fully. Either that or the teams who knocked them out had better players and played better.
Ramba Zamba was the name given to describe the high-speed passing carousel operated by the greatest international team of all, West Germany’s Netzer-inspired European Champions of 1972. Think of it as tiki-taka without the tedium and pomposity, and with a German edge. In other words the football being played by Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich.
Bayern have quite the aura right now. Their league record reads like something from a computer game: P21 W19 D2 L0 F57 A9. They feel like a fusion of 2008-12 Barcelona and last season’s Bayern Munich, not to mention of Spanish and German stereotypes: indestructible indefatigable technically perfect robots who can drink 14 steins of beer and still do the nine-times table.
If Pep’s Bayerlona are terrifying prospect for the rest of the football world, they are particularly scary for Arsenal: they were eliminated from the Champions League by Barcelona in 2010 and 2011 and Bayern in 2013, and they would have been knocked out by Barcelona in 2009 and 2012 had they not lost in the previous round.
The idea that you need to beat the best teams to win a major tournament is received horse pucky – look at Porto 2004, for example – but it has certainly applied to Arsenal in this competition in recent years. They seem magnetised towards the best side in Europe and/or the eventual winners; this year is no different.
They will take heart from last season’s triumph against Bayern, when they went out on away goals - but hubris doesn’t strike twice, not even in German football. This looks a seriously stiff task for Arsenal. They appear to have two chances, and Slim isn’t available for the second leg because of a fear of flying. The size of the task is why the match is as exciting as it is terrifying. Imagine how good Arsenal will feel if they get through this tie; it would be worth about four Capital One Cups.
If Arsenal are to win another trophy under Arsene Wenger – and we’re not counting the FA Cup in that – they will have to experience ‘the game’: not the game where they win the trophy, but the symbolic victory that empowers them to such an extent that they then go on to win the trophy. Old Trafford 1998 or Anfield 2001 are the two examples from Arsenal’s golden age. You never know, Munich 2014 might just join them.
First they need to give themselves something to work with when the tie resumes in Germany in 17 weeks’ time. Given the quality of the opposition, and human beings’ inclination to postpone the moment of performance as long as possible, a win or even a scoreless draw would surely do for Arsenal. The likeliest result - a 3-1 win for Bayern - would not.
Kick off is at 7.45pm