Déjà vu for Arsenal as they exit Champions League
Arsenal were beaten 5-1 by Bayern Munich in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 tie, at the Emirates Stadium tonight.
It was they same scoreline by which Bayern won the first leg of the tie in Bavaria.
The 10-2 aggregate defeat is the worst suffered by an English side in the Champions League.
Only one Champions League tie has seen a greater margin of victory for a team – again involving Bayern Munich, who beat Sporting Lisbon 12-1 on aggregate in 2009.
It was Arsenal’s biggest home defeat at the Emirates Stadium and the heaviest loss since November 1998 (5-0 against Chelsea in the League Cup at Highbury).
The Gunners have now been knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage for a seventh successive season.
Arsenal were playing for pride and made a good fist of it in the first-half.
The Gunners led at half-time thanks to a spectacular strike from Theo Walcott in the 20th minute.
It could have been even better for Arsenal. Walcott shot into the side netting and was also denied a penalty after it appeared that Xabi Alonso had fouled him.
Olivier Giroud also hit the base of the post with a header.
At the other Robert Lewandowski should have scored from close range, but scuffed the ball wide of the post.
At the start of the second half Giroud had the chance to double Arsenal’s lead. but he sent a header from close range over the bar.
Any chance that Arsenal might get back into the tie were dashed by the sending off of Laurent Koscielny in the 54th minute.
The Gunners skipper was dismissed for a foul on Lewandowski inside the penalty area.
The Greek referee Anastasios Sidiropoulos initially showed Koscielny a yellow card, but after consulting the assistant behind the goal changed his decision to a red card.
Lewandowski sent David Ospina the wrong way from the resultant penalty kick to level the scores.
As in the first leg without Koscielny on the field Arsenal buckled and conceded four more goals.
With Bayern once again ruthlessly exposing Arsenal defensively.
Arjen Robben put the German Champions ahead in the 68th minute after robbing the hapless Alexis Sanchez of the ball. The Dutchman ran through unopposed to slot the ball past Ospina.
That was the catalyst for the wheels to come off once again for Arsenal.
Sanchez was substituted in the 73rd after a frustrating night.
Substitute Douglas Costa made it 3-1 with a solo goal in the 78th minute. He ran with the ball for fifty yards, before curling his shot past Ospina into the net
Then Sanchez’s Chilean teammate Arturo Vida helped himself to a late double to complete Arsenal’s humiliation.
First he capitalised on a mistake by Shkodran Mustafi and clipped the ball over Ospina in the net.
And then tapped into an empty net in the 85th minute from a square pass from Costa, with the Arsenal nowhere to be seen.
Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Arsene Wenger said.
“I felt we were in it and you never know how Bayern would have reacted if we had scored a second goal. It looks very bad and doesn’t reflect the courage of the performance.
Once it 2-1 down it was very difficult and you have no chance to qualify any more. But that’s not the part I want to keep in my mind because the game has been spoiled by the referee.
Down to 10 men you have to score four goals. It becomes impossible in the head of the players. Lewandowski is offside, it’s not a penalty and then on top of that he gives a yellow card and on top of that he gives a red card.
I’m absolutely revolted and sorry for the people who paid a lot of money to watch this game.
There are difficult aspects in the game that explain that we’re out. I feel we produced the game we wanted and we were really unlucky with some of the decisions. It’s really hard to understand.
It’s definitely a penalty on Theo Walcott, Lewandowski is offside and after the red card it was very difficult for us to finish the game. My team has produced a huge effort tonight and played very well.”
Next up for the Gunners is non-league Lincoln City in the FA Cup.
Arsenal: Ospina 6, Bellerin 6, Monreal 5, Koscielny 5, Mustafi, 5 Xhaka 5, Oxlade-Chamberlain 7, Ramsey 5 (Coquelin), Walcott 6, Sanchez 6 (Perez), Giroud 5 (Ozil)