A broken Arsene Wenger has admitted his Arsenal side ‘collapsed’ during their Champions League last 16 tie against Bayern Munich.
The North London side were utterly dismantled in the Allianz Arena and conceded four second half goals.
The 5-1 result almost certainly kills off any chance of a second leg come back from Arsenal.
After going one-nil down, thanks to a superb strike from Arjen Robben, Arsenal appeared to get themselves back into the game through Alexis Sanchez.
The Chilean scored from a rebound after initially missing from the penalty spot.
But if the Gunners were motivated by heading into half-time at 1-1, it didn’t show in the second 45 minutes.
Robert Lewandowski scored eight minutes after the restart, and Thiago made it 3-1 six minutes after that.
The capitulation continued when the Spaniard doubled his tally seven minutes later and almost certainly ended the tie.
Substitute Thomas Muller then added insult to injury in the 88th minute by making it five.
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Wenger said: “It is difficult to explain. I felt we had two good chances to score just before half time.
“I felt we were unlucky for the second goal the referee gave a corner for us at first. Then we concede the second goal and then the most important was that we lost Koscielny. We collapsed.
“Overall I must say they are a better team than us, they played very well in the second half and we dropped our level. We were a bit unlucky we dropped our level and they were better than us.”
Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski, Thiago and Thomas Muller were on target as Bayern ripped open a hapless Arsenal defence.
Munich were at their best in the second half when they took apart a hapless Arsenal defence.
Bayern Munich turned on a virtuoso performance in the second half to pump in four goals past a hapless Arsenal to win the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match 5-1. The two halves could have been two different matches as far as Arsenal were concerned who seemed to be very much up for the challenge in the first half.
The match started with Bayern straightaway on the front foot. Arjen Robben was the man to put the home side in front with a thumping free kick. But Arsenal were all over Bayern after that and managed to snatch a penalty. Alexis Sanchez was the man who took it and Neur saved it first time. The rebound came straight to the legs of Sanchez who took a second shot that missed goal but, as luck would have it, he got a third straightaway and burried it in the goal brilliantly. Arsenal were level and had an away goal.
Bayern then had more of the possession but the Gunners never let them take full control of the proceedings and looked threatening on the counter. Mesut Ozil had a couple of shots that went straight into the hands of Manuel Neur. As the first half ended, the match was level and it looked like Arsenal were very much up for the challenge.
The second half continued in the same vein until Robert Lewandowski headed the ball in in the absence of an injured Laurent Koscielny and reinstated the lead for the home side. Bayern then started playing the way they are known to play with the movements of forwards like Lewandowski and Robben confusing the opposition defenders and Arturo Vidal being a constant threat from outside the box. Very soon, Lewandwoski put Thiago in behind the Arsenal defence with a deft touch and Bayern tucked in the third. Thiago followed it up a few minutes later with a goal from outside the box.
It was then all about Bayern trying to pile on as much misery as possible on the Gunners who would have conceded three or four more had it not been for the goalkeeping of David Ospina. But there is only so much a goalkeeper can do if there is no competent defence line in front of him and Thomas Muller got his first goal in 15 matches in dying minutes of the match and what could be Arsenal’s Champions League campaign. It is also telling that Muller was on the pitch for less than two minutes before he scored.
The fans are up in arms against Arsene Wenger more than ever and this performance will do little to get any of them on his side. Carlo Ancelotti, on the other hand, has certainly answered his critics. He has overseen an upturn in Bayern Munich’s fortunes on the domestic front and has now made his statement. Bayern Munich are a team to beat in Europe.