Wenger stunned as Arsenal lose to Bayern again
Boss admits Germans 'were simply the better team' as Gunners suffer familiar Champions League misery
15 February, 2017 — By Steve Barnett
Arsene Wenger: ‘We lost Laurent Koscielny early in the second half and suddenly we collapsed. That’s not an excuse, just an explanation’
BAYERN MUNICH 5, ARSENAL 1
ARSENE Wenger cut the figure of a wounded man last night (Wednesday) after watching his side yet again battered by Bayern Munich.
The Arsenal boss had no choice but to admit the German champions “were simply the better team” after a second half goal blitz saw his side humbled at the Allianz Arena.
“It’s difficult to explain,” said Wenger. “We lost Laurent Koscielny early in the second half and suddenly we collapsed. That’s not an excuse, just an explanation.
“Overall I must say that they are a better team than us, they played very well. Well done to Bayern Munich.”
“The third goal was a killer for my players,” Wenger added. “Mentally we collapsed. After that we didn’t have a respnse.
“Of course, now we would need a miracle to qualify.”
Arjen Robben opened the scoring after only 11 minutes with a superbly struck 25-yarder into the top corner. But it looked like the Gunners were ready to fight for a place in the quarter-finals when Alexis Sanchez equalised on the half-hour mark, quickly shrugging off the disappointment off seeing his penalty saved by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to slot home the rebound at the third time of asking.
Three minutes into the second half disaster struck. Koscielny limped off injured, and Arsenal’s chances of causing an upset went with him. Less than five minutes later Bayern were ahead, Robert Lewandowski rising above Shkodran Mustafi to head home Philipp Lahm’s inch-perfect cross.
The goal triggered an implosion as Thiago scored a quickfire double – first adding the finishing touches to Lewandowski’s exquisite backheel. And then scoring from distance via a deflection off Granit Xhaka.
Thomas Muller then came off the bench to score with almost his first touch, making the second leg at the Emirates Stadium in three weeks’ time nothing more than a reminder of another humiliation at the hands of the German champions.
ARSENAL: Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny (Gabriel, ’49), Gibbs, Coquelin (Giroud, 77), Xhaka, Iwobi (Walcott, ’66), Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanchez.
Substitutes not used: Cech, Monreal, Elneny, Welbeck.