Arsenal 1 Bayern Munich 3

Arsenal all but exited this years Champions League after suffering a crushing 3-1 loss to Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich at the Emirates stadium in their last 16 first leg. Arsene Wenger had called for his side not to show nerves or start slowly and get punished. Sadly that was exactly what they did as Bayern raced into an first half two goal advantage. Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller made the Gunners pay for some very poor defending and although Lukas Podolski pulled a goal back against his former club after the break, Mario Mandzukic struck a third for the visitors to leave Arsenal facing the monumental task of netting three times without reply at the Allianz Arean in three weeks time.

Bayern have been in a rich vein of domestic form, and are runaway leaders in the Bundesliga with a plus 50 goal difference, and on Tuesday night in north London, it wasn’t difficult to see why. Arsenal had to shuffle their defence, with Thomas Vermaelen at left back, Laurent Koscielny partnering Per Mertescaker in central defence, with Bacary Sagna at right back. Bayern were in search of their first ever win in England and ruthlessly seized their opportunity with a demonstration of pace, power and teamwork that Wenger would dearly love to see in his side.

And apart from Jack Wilshere, there seems little hope of getting the Arsenal players anywhere near the level of Javi Martinez, Mandzukic and co.

Despite their indifferent form of late, the Arsenal crowd roared on their players, urging them, hoping against all hope that they could come good on the big stage when it matters. The atmosphere was lightening and the red flare and the accompanying odour of cordite emitted from the masses of Bayern supporters ensured that we would be in for a spectacle.

Arsenal started with verve and vigour, but sadly no end product. Quick fire passing and movement from Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and line striker Theo Walcott threatened to deliver, while Bayern just threatened. After seven minutes, Kroos took advantage of poor collective defensive judgement by Mertescker and Koscielny, with a shot hit from the 18 yard line that was beyond Wojciech Szczesny before he knew his dive would be in vain.

It was to get worse after 21 minutes. Zonally marking from a corner, Daniel Van Buyten rose unopposed, his header too hot for Szczesny to handle. Muller was the grateful recipient of his poor handling this time for 2-0 scoreline to Bayern. Arsenal offensive drives were easily contained, with Mertersacker seeing his shot blocked in a rare first half advance.

Ten minutes after the re- start, Podolski halved the deficit. Left alone in the area, the German striker headed past Manuel Neuer to record Bayern’s first conceded goal this year.

The intensity and the pace of the game was unrelenting, and the German side showed no signs of tiring. Kroos saw an angled drive tipped over by Szczesny. On came Arjen Robben for Frank Ribbery, and the former Chelsea midfielder was up to the pace from the off. Wenger threw on Olivier Giroud and Tomas Rosicky and that energised the Gunners efforts to get the leveller.

With his first telling contribution, Giroud saw a fierce shot blocked by Neuer. Either side and it would have changed the complexion of the tie, such are the margins to success. Wilshere continued to cause Dante and Van Buyten problems, but Neuer was again to foil the 21 year old after another run and Rosicky lay off.

Bayern captain Philipp Lahm must have covered every blade of the Emirates surface. His exchange with Robben and the right back fizzed a cross that an under pressure Mandzukic angled into the net to capitalise on a poor night for Szczesny and an Arsenal side who just can’t seem to get any sort of break.

Perhaps that could change in Germany. More than likely and on the strength of this performance, it won’t. Worrying times indeed for Wengers’ men