Arsenal scared the crap out of Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena tonight, winning 2-0 and restoring some pride after what has been a difficult few weeks.
Arsene Wenger started with Lukas Fabianski in goal, Tomas Rosicky replaced the injured Jack Wilshere, while Laurent Koscielny came in for dropped captain Thomas Vermaelen.
Olivier Giroud had called on Arsenal to get an early goal and the Frenchman obliged himself in the 4th minute. Santi Cazorla played it to Ramsey who made a great run into midfield, he put it inside to Rosicky, he played in Walcott on the right had side of the Bayern box who fizzed it across the 6 yard box and Giroud was there to slam it into the net from close range. 0-1.
The home side probed for an equaliser, Arsenal pressed them well and defended heartily in the opening quarter, forcing the Germans backwards. The conditions didn’t help either team and players from both sides were slipping on a very difficult pitch.
Bayern were restricted to putting in crosses which Fabianski dealt with easily, or shooting from distance but none troubled the keeper. The pressure grew though, and Arteta nearly cost Arsenal when he gave the ball away just outside the box, but Kroos’s shot was straight at Fabianski.
Carl Jenkinson showed some early season form when snuffing out Robben brilliant when the home side broke up field, and Arsenal found it more difficult to keep the ball when they did get hold of it.
Lukas Fabianski put Mertesacker under pressure with a short pass allowing Bayern to put pressure on, which resulted in a Muller shot into the side netting. Theo Walcott then almost found Giroud at the back post with a fine ball across goal, before Kieran Gibbs saved a certain goal heading out for a corner with two players coming in at the back post.
Arsenal should have had a number of free kicks, one on Giroud was in a very decent position but the ref waved play on, and Gibbs picked up a booking for nothing at all on Robben as the Gunners took the one goal lead into the half-time break.
Bayern came out strongly in the second half and slack play from Theo Walcott provided Arjen Robben with a chance to shoot just wide, before Toni Kroos shot not too far wide from 25 yards. Koscielny was forced to concede a corner after the referee again ignored a clear foul on Giroud, and Mertesacker whacked a dangerous looking Lahm cross away from the 6 yard box.
At the other end Arsenal struggled with Olivier Giroud shooting miles over from 35 yards before Walcott was wrongly given offside when put through by Rosicky. The Germans continued to press with Muller most active, firing in a low cross which went straight under Fabianski and a shot from the edge of the box which the keeper saved easily.
Tomas Rosicky picked up a yellow card for a clever foul on Robben, before Luis Gustavo found space to curl a left footed shot just wide of Fabianski’s far post. Toni Kroos then had another effort which he screwed wide as the game began to open up a little bit.
Robben then had Bayern’s best chance of the game, put clean through with a one-two and with just Fabianski to beat his toe-poked shot was saved by the recalled Pole. From the resulting corner Kieran Gibbs made a great block to prevent a goal.
Arsenal brought on Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho for Walcott and Ramsey, and Olivier Giroud almost found Cazorla in the box but the ridiculously slippy pitch put paid to that. And moments later Gervinho showed good skill to combine with Cazorla, turned into the box, poked it towards goal on the stretch and it rolled just past the far post with no Arsenal player following it in.
Lukas Fabianski’s fine return to the side was capped with an excellent save from Muller and when Laurent Koscielny headed home from a corner Arsenal dared to dream at 2-0 up. Bayern looked rattled, causing a schoolyard scramble after the goal at Arsenal’s impudence.
In the end though the Germans hung on and go through but it was a great effort by the lads, and they more than deserved the win on the night.