Under-fire Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger claimed the Gunners were in rude health despite them sinking to new depths after an embarrassing Champions League demise at the hands of Bayern Munich.
Bayern cut Arsenal to shreds after Robert Lewandowski cancelled out Theo Walcott’s opener with a penalty which saw Gunners skipper Laurent Koscielny controversially sent off. Referee Anastasios Sidiropoulos initially brandished only a yellow card.
Former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben, Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal, who netted twice, were the other goalscorers as Arsenal exited the Champions League at the last 16 stage for the seventh successive season with a whimper.
Wenger said he was “revolted” by the performance of the officials. Revolt was certainly in the air as fans staged a pre-match demonstration, protesting against the out-of-contract Frenchman staying in north London beyond the end of the season.
The magnitude of defeat – the heftiest aggregate loss suffered by an English team in the Champions League – only served to fortify the pressure on Wenger, while it remains to be seen whether this was his final European match in charge of the Gunners.
“I think the club is in great shape, just going through a difficult situation,” said Wenger. “I feel we produced the game we wanted and were really unlucky with some of the decisions. Lewandowski is offside and no penalty, on top of that the referee gives a yellow card, then a red – it’s just not serious.
“When you see an attitude like that I’m absolutely revolted and sorry for people who paid a lot of money to come and see the games.
“I felt we were in it and you never know how Bayern would have reacted had we scored a second goal. But it finished like it did and it’s difficult to take. It’s very bad and it doesn’t reflect the quality of the performance tonight.”
The Gunners began to restore a modicum of pride in the 20th minute as an explosive run by Walcott ended with him lashing through Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer at his near post.
But any hopes of an Arsenal fightback were all but extinguished 10 minutes into the second period when Lewandowski clinically dispatched a spot-kick after Koscielny was adjudged to have fouled the Poland hitman.
Robben took advantage of a poor kicked clearance from David Ospina and then dithering defending from Alexis Sanchez to fire beyond Arsenal’s Colombian stopper before Costa smashed home following another devastating break.
Vidal cheekily flicked over Ospina for the visitors’ fourth, and concluded Arsenal’s humiliation by tapping into an empty net.