Two weeks ago was such a simple, innocent time for Arsenal fans who had just seen their beloved Gunners knock off big, bad Bayern Munich, 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium. It would be the result and performance to get their floundering UEFA Champions League campaign back on track, or so we all thought.
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Now, let’s fast forward to Wednesday’s return matchup at the Allianz Arena, where Pep Guardiola’s Bayern exacted their revenge, to the tune of 5-1 on Arsene Wenger‘s Arsenal, thanks to goals scored by Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Mueller (twice), David Alaba and Arjen Robben.
Lewandowski gave Bayern an early lead, 10 minutes on the clock, when he headed home Thiago Alcantara’s clever chip over the Arsenal defense. Lewandowski timed his far-post run perfectly, leaving Gabriel Paulista for dead before flicking Thiago’s cross past Petr Cech for the game’s opening goal.
Arsenal hit back immediately, barely a minute later, but Mesut Ozil’s goal was correctly ruled out for handball as the German international appeared to intentionally redirect Nacho Monreal‘s cross with his arm.
Mueller doubled Bayern’s lead just before the half-hour mark when his side-volleyed effort took a deflection off Per Mertesacker, wrong-footing Cech, and snuck inside the near post. Kingsley Coman was credited with the assist for his wayward volley of Douglas Costa’s lofted cross.
Alaba made it 3-0 just before halftime with a stunning strike from 22 yards out (WATCH HERE). Acting momentarily as a center forward, the Austrian defender/midfielder/could-also-be-a-forward capped a dominant first-half Bayern performance with his first goal of the season.
Robben’s left-footed finish (what else?) in the 55th minute made it 4-0. Alaba broke down the left wing in the build-up, crossed to the top of the six-yard box and Robben, who entered the game seconds earlier, hammered the ball past Cech into the roof of the Arsenal ‘keeper’s goal.
Arsenal’s consolation goal came through Olivier Giroud, who chested down Alexis Sanchez’s cross and applied the acrobatic finish from 12 yards out in the 69th minute.
Mueller grabbed his second goal of the game in the 90 minute, when he was played in behind the Arsenal defense by Douglas Costa, raced into the penalty area and beat Cech with a low shot to the near post.
Through four group games, Bayern (9 points) sit atop Group F, three points ahead of Olympiacos, and six ahead of joint-bottom Arsenal and Dinamo Zagreb. Arsenal must win their final two group games (home to Zagreb and away to Olympiacos) to avoid missing the knockout stage for the first time since 2003.