Bayern Munich 0 Arsenal 2 (3-3 on agg.) Bayern win on away goals

When you come away from the home of runaway leaders of the Bundesliga having inflicted their first home loss, and then kept a clean sheet in the process, having to accept Champions League elimination is a tough ask. But Arsenal fans were clear where the damage was done in this tie. Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny grabbed the Gunners a 2-0 win at the Allianz Arena, but having battered the Gunners 3-1 at the Emirates, it was Bayern who progressed to the quarter-finals, by virtue of away goals scored. The manner of Arsenal’s win in glorious Champions League exit should now see the Gunners inspired to finish the season strongly, if alas without silverware for the eighth year in succession.

Arsene Wenger had backed his side to pull off what many had predicted would be a procession and an avalanche of goals from the German champions elect. He can take pride in the spirit and resilience shown by Arsenal, but agreed Giroud, that third goal at the Emirates was always going to be the difference.

“The first leg was not very good for us and the third goal we conceded at the end of the game (by Mario Mandzukic) killed us. Tonight it makes the difference.

“We almost played the (perfect) performance tonight because we scored early in the game and scored the second one. It was an amazing finish for us but Bayern did the job after. They lost a lot of time and it was a little bit too late,” he said.

Faced with questions over his tactics and style of coaching, Wenger has called for a tough response from his players. Having revealed that Wojciech Szczesny had been rested for his mental well being and with Thomas Vermaelen being left on the bench having been alongside his manager for the pre-match day press conference, shows that clearly the strains of competing at the top level are becoming to much for some of Wenger’s young side.

Wenger has consistently faced criticism over the club’s willingness to sell their top players, and perhaps we have been given a glimpse as to what else could have been behind the willingness of some to seek their future elsewhere.

An Arsenal side that saw Lukasz Fabianski play his first Arsenal game in almost a year, with Kieran Gibbs called back ahead of recovery time to replace the ineligible Nacho Monreal, and the impressive Carl Jenkinson at right back almost pulled off Champions League mission impossible. Aaron Ramsey has had his detractors, but he showed why he can mix it with the best. Santi Cazorla’s flick fed Ramsey, with Tomas Rosicky then feeding Theo Walcott out on the right. The England striker’s low powerful drive got past Dante, with Giroud on hand for an opener that stunned the Bayern faithful after only three minutes.

We awaited the German side’s response, and Tony Kroos and Thomas Mueller who were the architects of Bayern’s Emirates’ win almost did the damage again, but Fabianski was not to be beaten. In fact substitute Gervinho could have grabbed another goal, but his turn and second half trickled effort did not trouble Manuel Neuer. Laurent Koscilney however did. Playing possibly his best game as an Arsenal player, Koscielny headed Cazorla’s header past Neuer and under pressure from Javi Martinez five minutes from time. Many dared to believe.

With only three minutes of time added on however, Arsenal tried to get the goal that they deserved, but as had been the case this season, it was too little too late. Arjen Robben was brilliantly denied by a combination of Jenkinson’s well timed tackle racing over to the left back spot, and Fabianski’s alertness with the save.

For Walcott, the disappointment of elimination was tempered with what still remains a Premiership work in progress, to reward the Gunners’ faithful.

“We need to bounce back from this and take the positives out of tonight, which there are a lot of. We need to take it to Swansea which isn’t going to be an easy game. Hopefully we can recover well and have a good charge towards the end of the season. Our fans definitely stood out and, for me, are without a doubt the best in the world. They were fantastic tonight. They showed their support through the whole game. ” he said.