Bayern Munich v Arsenal
UEFA Champions League
Kick off: March 11, 2014 7.45 PM BST
A frustrating half for Arsenal fans and players alike. With Bayern ahead 2-0 on aggregate they have no qualms about playing patiently and inviting us to pressurize their defensive players on the ball. We’ve been finding it hard to get out of our own half at times, Bayern dominating possession and smothering us as soon as we get on the ball.
The one ray of shining light this half, has been young prodigy, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He has been a revelation, causing Bayern all sorts of problems all up the pitch. Drawing the foul, dribbling past players as if the weren’t there, holding the ball up well, and dragging Arsenal right up the pitch.
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It was Chamberlain’s skill that got Dante an early yellow card, which puts him in a shaky position for the rest of the game. We need to get at the Brazilian centre back, force him to make the tackle, or let us run by him.
Bayern actually managed to put the ball in the back of the net, Martinez knocking in a free kick. He was well offside though, and was promptly given so.
We were set up largely for the counter attack, Chamberlain and Podolski looking to get up the field on the break. Podolski made one fantastic run down the left, putting a good ball in towards Giroud, blocked by Dante before reaching the Frenchman.
Chamberlain though, made a number of fantastic runs; one in particular left Bayern’s heads rolling. He showed fantastic strength, skill and agility, carrying the ball past four players before being brought down at the edge of the box by Schweinsteiger. How the Bayern man didn’t see yellow, I’ll never know.
Bayern were coming close, shooting from distance on a couple of occasions. We got the blocks in mostly, and Fabianski made a good save from Gotze. The German side’s best chance came from Mandzukic, who headed over from eight yards.
Arsenal certainly struggled at times, but we are definitely still in this tie. If we can get an early goal in the second half, game on.
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Vermaelen(C)
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