Arsenal came away from Munich undefeated for the second successive season. But it is time for them to up their game in Europe...
For the second successive season, Arsenal left the Allianz Arena undefeated.
When Thomas Muller stepped up to take a late penalty it did not look like ending that way. But Lukasz Fabianski pulled off an impressive save and an equally impressive reaction to tip away a tantalising rebound, leaving Arsenal out of the competition but not defeated (at least not on the night).
Just as last season, Arsene Wenger’s side were made to pay for a sloppy first-leg performance at the Emirates Stadium. If they could contain Bayern Munich as well at home as they clearly can in the Germans’ own backyard, the Gunners could be considered one of the favourites for the competition.
But just as a 3-1 loss scuppered their chances last season, so a 2-0 defeat ended their hopes this year.
Following Lukas Podolski’s goal out of nothing, Arsenal had chances to win the match, with the energetic Serge Gnabry causing problems after his late introduction. But it is no longer enough to applaud Arsenal for coming away from the home of one of Europe’s best without a beating.
It is time for them to turn the Emirates Stadium into a fortress both domestically and in Europe. Because if they can manage that, they appear to have the nous and the players to cope at most grounds across the continent.
Of course Bayern played within themselves. But had Arsenal really gone for the jugular there was a chance.
Javi Martinez looked out of sorts throughout, and if Mathieu Flamini had been on the pitch to plug the holes Santi Cazorla left glaringly open, the result could have been different.
Arsenal will not be pleased with their evening’s work, but they should be proud of it. The likes of Fabianski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Per Mertesacker and substitute Tomas Rosicky were impressive. But it is now time for the club to ensure future second-legs are not uphill battles before they have even kicked off.
They have the players, and they have the manager. It is time all of them proved just how good they are in every top European game, not only the ones that are already half-lost.