Assessing Arsenal: Ozil 'shot' as Bayern men outclass Gunners boys

Arsene Wenger's side started magnificently but as the game grew on, so did Bayern Munich's confidence and ability to put their passes together.

In 2009, Manchester United defeated Arsenal yet one of the more infuriating incidents to come out of the match for a Gunners supporter was not the 3-1 scoreline, but Patrice Evra's comments that it was like 11 men against 11 children.

Fast forward five years and, even though Arsene Wenger's senior selection are seemingly in a far healthier position - both in terms of squad strength and Premier League position - there may not be much changed as, because of a goalkeeping naivety and mental fragility throughout the team after the break, once again it was like men versus boys as Bayern Munich galloped to a 2-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium, leaving Arsenal with a potentially insurmountable challenge for the Round of 16's second leg at the Allianz Arena on March 11.

For a player who covered 11.69km, the third most active footballer on the Ashburton Grove pitch on Wednesday, February 19 (third only to Mathieu Flamini on 13.53km and Jack Wilshere with 11.89km), Ozil still attracts criticisms of lazy play.

While his desire perhaps cannot be questioned, his execution can be. In total, his statistics pale in comparison to his returns from previous matches. Typically, Ozil completes 90% of his passes, yet versus Bayern he found a team-mate 76% of the time. When it comes to pass attempts, he averages close to 66 per game, yet against the Bundesliga kings he was reduced to a paltry 25.

Wojciech Szczesny - 4

Denied Toni Kroos by getting his palm to a strong shot in the opening five minutes. Any good work he'd done in the the first 35 or so minutes came undone when he clipped Arjen Robben, who required no second invitation to go to ground. He gave away the penalty, was sent off then seemingly gave a w***er sign to an unknown target before disappearing down the tunnel. A brain fart of a performance.

Bacary Sagna - 5

Completed 50% of his aerial duels, cleared the ball successfully on five occasions, won his sole tackle attempt but completed 61% of his passes. Failed to dominate. His poor night was in contrast to the joy the Bayern full backs had.

Per Mertesacker - 7

His positional strength was underlined by his six blocks, a Champions League joint high. In his past five Premier League appearances he misplaced a pass a combined 14 times, recording a 95% accuracy rate in the process. Tonight, against Bayern, he was just almost as strong in this area, misplacing just two for 84%.

Laurent Koscielny - 6.5

Was aerially dominant in the first half and, early in the second half, was a nuisance for Bayern in the attacking third. He had a goal-scoring opportunity but just could not get his stance right which would have allowed a more forceful shot at Neuer's goal-line. A clumsy challenge on Thomas Muller could have seen him earn villain status as the German's legs were taken away, but the referee seemingly missed the foul, which could have provided Bayern with a penalty - and a second goal.

Kieran Gibbs - N/a

Replaced by Nacho Monreal in the first half.

Mathieu Flamini - 7

Got caught up in an on-pitch squabble with Mesut Ozil in what could have been a test of the German's mettle as he was low in confidence as it was after his horrendous flopped penalty attempt, however, he later clarified the argument by saying he was simply imploring one team-mate to help defend. Like Martin Keown on Ruud van Nistelrooy, he ran at David Alaba and gave him the barking treatment after the Bayern man's penalty miss. His break-up play was on point for much of the game.

Jack Wilshere - 6.5

Fed Mesut Ozil an incredible match-changing pass, but the German, who was brought down in the area, failed to convert his spot kick. After, he failed to make a substantial impact.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - 7

Pre-match, Dietmar Hamann identified the Ox as the man who could bring the pace that would terrify Bayern and, midway through the first half, the Englishman did just that, forcing Manuel Neuer to rush out from his line. On that occasion, it was Neuer who prevailed. Moments later, though, the Ox was making a mockery of the Munich defenders. His finest moments all arrived in the first half hour, though, as, like his team-mates, he ended up defending in numbers in order to preserve a 1-0 loss, then 2-0.

Mesut Ozil - 6

Was part of the main protagonists who were ripping the visitors apart and his first major contribution came when he won a penalty after being brought down in the penalty area, however, his left-footed effort was far too tame, limp and impotent. Neuer saved. Ozil was tactically undisciplined in the second half when it came to his defensive duty.

Santi Cazorla - 5

Completed 92% of his passes, yet attempted just 12 in total as he struggled on the left side of attacking midfield before he was replaced by Lukasz Fabianski after Szczesny's dismissal.

Yaya Sanogo - 6

Started the match as he left the Liverpool game at the weekend, unfazed at the significance of the game, he charged at the Bayern defence from the off. The unheralded attacker showed incredible strength in leading the line, good hold-up play and could have busted the net within ten minutes had it not been for the reliable Manuel Neuer.

Substitutions: Nacho Monreal - 7, caused problems down the left as he drew tactical fouls. Lukasz Fabianski - 6, saved well in the absence of Szczesny, but conceded twice. Tomas Rosicky - N/a.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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