Wenger rues inability to learn lesson



ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger rued his team’s agonising Champions League exit, after the Gunners fell narrowly short in the last 16 for a second successive season.

Following a 3-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the first leg, Arsenal’s chances of qualification looked slim, but strikes from Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny meant the north London club were only eliminated on away goals.

Arsenal’s brave fightback had echoes of a similar scenario at the same stage of the competition 12 months ago when a 4-0 first leg loss to AC Milan, was followed up by a 3-0 home win.

And Wenger, whose side have not won a trophy since 2005, was frustrated by Arsenal’s failure to learn their lesson.

“We have the same regrets as last year,” he said. “We were very close and overall we were very good.

“But it’s very difficult to go out of the Champions League, especially when you have lost at home.

“We conceded a cheap goal in the last five minutes at home to go from 2-1 to 3-1 and this result shows how important that was. The game lasts 180 minutes not 90.”

Arsenal’s defeat means there will be no English club in Friday’s quarter-final draw for the first time since 1996. And Wenger believes that must serve as a wakeup call for Premier League teams.

“It’s a massive disappointment for English football,” he added. “The rest of Europe has caught up.

“We have to take that into consideration when we think about the future of the Premier League.”

Arsenal made a dream start in Munich when striker Giroud turned in Theo Walcott’s cross to edge the visitors ahead on three minutes.

Shell-shocked Bayern showed little sign of recovery until winger Arjen Robben raced clear of the Arsenal defence midway through the second half, but his low drive was palmed away by goalkeeper Lukas Fabianski.

Substitute Gervinho saw a low effort trickle agonizingly wide on 78 minutes, but Koscielny’s header from a Santi Cazorla corner had the hosts sweating for the final five minutes.