Arsenal were defeated once again by Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium.
There were shades of Arsenal's unsuccessful foray in the Champions League final in 2006, when Jens Lehmann was sent off early in the first half which thus changed the complexion of the match against Barcelona, when the Gunners played out a testing match against Bayern Munich in the Round of 16 at the Emirates Stadium earlier this evening, Wednesday.
Arsene Wenger set his side up wonderfully as the home team pounded the visiting Germans with relentless attacks, while Bayern lay off, unable to compete against the North Londoners' pace, however, goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had a Jens moment when he came off his line and made contact with the incoming Arjen Robben, giving away a penalty also while earning a red card.
David Alaba failed to convert the spot kick, much like Mesut Ozil earlier in the half, however, Bayern leave England with a 2-0 lead having scored via Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller.
For honest centre back Per Mertesacker, there was little doubting that there was contact made, yet the towering German doubts whether it was enough to see him sent off the pitch: 'I don't have a view of the sending off… there was contact; I don't know if it was a red card but he he touched him.'
Speaking to Sky Sports immediately after the loss, Mertesacker added: 'We deserved one goal at least, but after the red card it was more difficult. It's a little blow but when you look back at last year [3-1 loss to Bayern at home], it was worse than now so we look forward to Munich - why can't we repeat that?'
Offering reasons why Arsenal were unable to replicate their early form throughout the match, or limit the damage when they went a man down, Per highlighted the club's congested fixture list: 'We played four games in [quick succession].
'Bayern played possession very well, we tried everything in the first ten minutes but we take that defeat. Overall, mentally we are stronger than last year.'
Arsenal have no time to feel disheartened as they must now continue their Premier League title challenge when they host Sunderland on Saturday, February 22, ahead of their trip to Munich in the return Champions League fixture next month.
'We move on to the Saturday game in the Premier League so we can get another three points. We've missed players. There's great spirit, we'll come back,' concluded the Gunner.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald