|Arsenal's Jack Wilshere almost in tears after 3-1 loss to Bayern Munich|
Amid speculations that the Arsenal board are preparing to extend his contract by two years and boost his transfer war chest, Arsene Wenger welcomed Bayern Munich to the Emirates for a Champions League encounter that many had tipped the Bavarians to win.
The Champions League is (but looks like a was now) the only trophy that the Gunners could lay their hands on this season after they got crushed out of the FA Cup by Championship side Blackburn over the weekend.
The London club faced the Bundesliga runaway leaders aiming to turn the tide and give appropriate reaction to the disappointing defeat to Blackburn but were left flat out with barely quarter an hour into the match.
Thomas Muller’s weak cross from the right should have been cleared by Aaron Ramsey but the Welshman failed to. The ball fell to Toni Kroos who hit it first time from just inside the box to put the Germans ahead and silence Arsenal fans as early as the 7th minute.
The Germans are on a roll in the Bundesliga where they have overwhelmed opponents with possession based football. An Arsenal side that feeds on that type of football were clearly put on the back foot as the Bundesliga elect champions bossed the midfield and spayed passes around leaving the Gunners chasing shadows.
The goal snuffed out the belief out of the Arsenal and a second goal for Bayern looked imminent and did come in the 21st minute. Daniel van Buyten pounced on a corner but saw his header parried by Wojciech Szczesny but only into the path of Thomas Muller who riffled the rebound into the roof of the net. 2-0 to Bayern and it wasn’t at the Allianz Arena!!
Manuel Neuer early this week said it is boring to be a Bayern Munich goalkeeper and the German international must have felt bored in the first half as he was just a spectator with Arsenal struggling to direct any challenging effort at his goal.
Bayern had not conceded a goal in 2013 and looked on course to extend this fete until the 55th minute. Jack Wilshere curled in a freekick into the area and with Neuer indecisive, the ball luckily bounced into the path of Lucas Podolski who guided it into the net to net against his former side. It was a lucky goal for Arsenal but if there’s one thing they could have needed this night then it was luck.
It was the first time the Germans were conceding a goal in 664 minutes of football. The goal raised the decibels at the increasingly quiet Emirates stadium in a manner you would think that was a priceless away goal for Wenger’s men. Walcott swung into action seeing his effort flash across the face of goal.
Wenger then made a double substitution with Aaron Ramsey and Lucas Podolski making way for Tomas Rosicky and Olivier Giroud. The latter almost made it 2-2 with his first touch riffling in but straight at Neuer.
Bayern restored their 2-goal cushion with 13 minutes remaining. Arjen Robben spotted the run of Philip Lahm and the overlapping fullback cut back for Mario Mandzukic who slid the ball into the net to all make it 3-1 and ensure the Bavarians had little, if not nothing, to worry about in the return leg.
You can only imagine how the Gunners fans are feeling. They are not hurting. It’s more serious than that.
In the other Champions League encounter, Joao Moutinho’s goal for Porto in the second half was enough to see off Malaga who suffered their first defeat in the competition.
Tuesday night Round of 16 matchups will see Barcelona travel to the San Siro to meet AC Milan for the 16th time as German outfit Schalke 04 travel to Turkey to face Galatasaray.
And That's thesteifmastertake!!