“First you have to give credit to Bayern for their quality. After that I think we made things quite easy for them with our defensive performance. We were extremely poor defensively and we were not at the races.” — Arsene Wenger, post match Bayern Munich
Wenger’s opening words of his post-match press conference presented a frank assessment of Arsenal in last night’s match. Simply put, Bayern outplayed Arsenal. But perhaps worse, Arsenal didn’t rise to the level of the competition and the result was entirely justified.
When I first started writing this column, oh so many years ago, it was common for Arsenal to dominate lesser opponents. I would write those columns in a sort of “stats bomb” style, meaning that I would simply gleefully point out every category which Arsenal dominated. They were typically passes, final third passes, shots, maybe a defensive stat or two, and almost certainly the number of clearances Arsenal forced the opponent into.
The closest analogy I can make, in terms of stats, is that Bayern beat Arsenal 5-1 in this match in the same manner that Arsenal beat West Ham 5-1 at home in the League in January of 2013. I don’t just mean in terms of the score line, Arsenal have had some great scoring matches since then, I mean in terms of every stat.
Arsenal didn’t do enough to win the ball back, they didn’t stop Bayern from playing, there was very little fight in the team, and as a result Bayern “Hammered” Arsenal.
Thiago Alcantara showed what a Bayern player can do when given freedom to run the midfield:
113 – He completed 113/125 passes, leading all players
48 – Ozil led Arsenal with 48/51 passes
43 – He completed 43/51 final 1/3 passes, leading all players
21 – Ozil led Arsenal with 21/22 final 1/3 passes
4 – He created 4 chances for teammates, leading all players (he created an assist, for Lewandowski’s header)
0 – Ozil created zero chances for teammates but Giroud led Arsenal with 2
3 – Thiago had 3/3 through balls
1 – Giroud had Arsenal’s only successful through ball (for Cazorla’s shot)
7 – He led all players with 7/9 tackles
4 – Debuchy led Arsenal with 4/5
5 – He led Bayern with 5 interceptions
7 – Gabriel led both teams with 7 interceptions
Yep. He was pretty much unstoppable. Well, he looked unstoppable. That could have at least partly be because Arsenal didn’t really try to stop him.
That’s all for today. Depressing result from Arsenal. More tomorrow.
Sources: 442 StatsZone app, Whoscored.com