AT EMIRATES STADIUM
ARSENAL 0 vs BAYERN MUNICH 2
ARSENAL boss Arsene Wenger accused Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben of getting Gunners goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny sent off after the holders nudged his 10 men to the brink of Champions League elimination.
A Toni Kroos strike and Thomas Muller’s late header punished the home side’s failure to capitalise on a bright start, in which Mesut Ozil won and missed a penalty. This last-16, first leg turned, though, on Szczesny’s 37th-minute challenge on Robben which left Arsenal a man down against the Club World Cup winners, and Wenger unimpressed.
“Our keeper went genuinely for the ball, he touched Robben, who certainly made more of it -- and I told him,” he said. “It killed the game. It was until then top quality. The second half was for neutral people boring, one-way traffic. I felt Bayern made a lot of every single contact. We’re not used to that in England.”
Wenger stopped short of blaming record £42m signing Ozil for his second spot-kick miss of the season -- “It can happen to anybody” -- but conceded: “We needed that. Tonight you could see they were on the ropes.”
Wenger’s gamble on the youthful zip of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Yaya Sanogo paid off in breathless opening skirmishes, Manuel Neuer saving the latter’s low snapshot before Ozil teased Jerome Boateng into a clumsy challenge in the box.
Just as against Marseille in November though, Ozil stuttered his run-up and saw the weak spot-kick swatted away.
Former Chelsea winger Robben was emerging as Bayern’s main threat, and his dart into the box to collect a return pass from Kroos won the visitors a penalty, the careering Szczesny catching his shin.
Austria left-back David Alaba’s penalty clipped the post, but Arsenal’s relief was short-lived.
Kroos made the first incision nine minutes into the second half with a curling 18-yard shot that unerringly located the top-right corner.
A procession of trademark Robben efforts followed, but the second, and perhaps decisive, goal came two minutes from time when Philip Lahm chipped for substitute Muller to head down past Lukasz Fabianksi.