Arsenal vs Bayern Munich
UEFA Champions League
Kick off: February 19, 2014 7.45 PM BST
An incredible first half between these two Champions League veterans. One penalty saved, one missed, and Arsenal left a man light after 45 minutes.
The game began with a fantastic Kroos shot towards the top corner, and an equally fantastic save from Szczesny. But aside from that the Gunners were absolutely dominant in the opening minutes, breaking the Bayern offside trap regularly, and really threatening the German goal. Sanogo, Chamberlain, and Özil looking particularly dangerous.
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Wilshere played Özil in behind with a beautiful, defence splitting pass. The German playmaker showed a beautiful bit of kill to outfox Boateng, the defender leaving a leg trailing, and bringing down his compatriot for an Arsenal penalty.
It seemed to be going all Arsenal’s way, but Özil stepped up to take his own penalty, and after his penalty miss against Marseille there was certainly a degree of trepidation. He approached the ball with the same stuttered run, and put the ball right down the throat of Neuer; the Bayern keeper able to stretch out a big hand and make the save.
Despite Arsenal’s game dropping slightly after the penalty miss (Özil in particular), we still looked like the dominant team. Chamberlain and Sanogo were still looking fantastic inclusions in the squad, the French forward playing Chamberlain beautifully in after some good hold up. It looked like Chambo might just get there first, but in the end Neuer came to Bayern’s rescue again, racing out to make a vital clearance.
After half an hour however, things started to go down hill for Arsenal. Gibbs pulled up lame, and signalled to the bench; seemingly pulling his hamstring. He was replaced by Monreal, and the Spaniard clearly isn’t on the same level at the moment. In his first few minutes on the pitch, he was caught out of position a couple of times. And when a simple ball was played over the top, he completely ignored the run of Arjen Robben.
Szczesny raced out to meet the ball, but the Dutch winger got there first. He dinked the ball past Szczesny, and made a theatrical (slightly delayed) fall to the ground as the Pole’s trailing leg caught him. The referee pointed to the spot and produced a red card for Szczesny. And while it was certainly a penalty, the red card was debatable, as the ball looked like it was already going out for a goal kick.
Alaba stepped up to take the penalty, one Pole in goal replaced by another, in the shape of Fabianski. He wasn’t needed though, Alaba’s shot striking the post and going wide.
We got to half time at 0-0, but it was now going to be a very long second half. Down to ten men, and with only one substitution remaining. A real mountain to climb for Arsene Wenger’s men now.
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
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