SAMI MOKBEL: Arsenal dealt a heartbreaking lesson by European royalty (2024)

Arsenalwill come again. This vibrant team, expertly assembled by Mikel Arteta is far too accomplished not to.

Their future is bright, there is no doubting that. Their present, however, is far less encouraging.

Here in Bavaria they were dealt a heartbreaking lesson in Champions League knockout football by European royalty, crashing out of the competition at the quarter final stage.

This will hurt - the fact Harry Kane and Eric Dier were in the opposing team would only have served to intensify the pain of deflating night.

Yet there’s no time to feel sorry for themselves. They face Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday where defeat would leave their hopes of winning the domestic title for the first time in 20 years in tatters.

Joshua Kimmich scored a header to knock Arsenal out of the Champions League quarter-finals

Arsenal were looking to reach their first Champions League semi-finals since 2009 but lost 1-0 in Munich and 3-2 on aggregate

Harry Kane celebrates after Bayern's 1-0 win saw them book their place in the last four

Bayern Munich have the opening goal against Arsenal and it comes from Joshua Kimmich 🫡#UCL

đź“ş @tntsports & @discoveryplusUK

— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) April 17, 2024


Bayern Munich XI:Bayern XI: Neuer, Mazraoui (Kim 76), De Ligt, Dier, Guerreiro; Kimmich, Laimer, Goretzka; Musiala, Kane, Sane (Upamecano 89)

Subs not used: Choupo-Moting, Zaragoza, Peretz, Muller, Ulreich, Tel, Pavlovic

Goals: Kimmich 63

Bookings: Laimer, Kimmich

Arsenal XI: Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu (Nketiah 86); Odegaard (Jesus 68),Rice; Saka, Havertz, Martinelli (Trossard 68)

Subs not used:Ramsdale, Partey, Smith Rowe, Kiwior, Vieira, Nelson, Elneny, Hein, Zinchenko

Bookings: White

Referee:Danny Makkelie

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What psychological impact will this excruciating night in Germany have on Arsenal’s players? Will have the answer by Saturday night.

A season that had promised so much is at risk of unravelling rather rapidly.

Arteta must lift his players; easier said than done after this gut-wrenching loss to Bayern Munich.

In the end, the Gunners can have no complaints. They were brave in the heat of battle. Arteta’s young side will be emerge stronger from this agonising defeat.

But Bayern were fully deserving of their victory here as Kane’s dream of Champions League glory lives on.

When the dust settles, Arsenal will take the learnings and move on. They weren’t embarrassed or outplayed on a night that represented the biggest test of their club careers.

There was little sign, though, that the magnitude of the occasion had taken grip during the early stages. Arsenal were composed, popping the ball around with comfort and zest, although Kane did squander two half-chances in the opening 10 minutes.

Arsenal’s controlled start would have gone some way towards placating concerns Arteta may have had over how the pressures of last night’s clash would affect his players.

Bayern Munich fans brought the fire and thunder to the stands at the Allianz Arena, creating a pulsating atmosphere

Gabriel Martinelli missed a pivotal chance in the first half as Arsenal lacked cutting edge

Such a promising season for the Gunners is at risk of unravelling and ending with pain

They are inexperienced at this level. They’ve rarely encountered nights like these, the sort of that puts hairs on your chest.

Yet, in the first half, Arsenal’s players showed little signs of being overawed.

Jorginho and Declan Rice were combining effectively in midfield, while Gabriel Martinelli’s directness and pace caused Joshua Kimmich significant concerns down the Bayern right.

Yet, with all that said, the tension was tangible. Bayern’s crop may not be held in the same esteem as some of their legendary sides of the past - but they have a greater understanding of what is required on these sort of nights.

That was, perhaps, Arteta’s biggest fear heading into the game. He is convinced of their talent, but could his players nullify Bayern’s guile and know-how of getting over the line on the European knockout stage to assert their own qualities? The answer, ultimately, was no.

Bayern showed ominous signs of asserting their authority in the closing stages of the opening period, Noussair Mazraoui saw an effort deflected narrowly wide before David Raya denied Jamal Musiala’s long range shot.

Arsenal responded with efforts of their own, Manuel Neuer saving Martin Odegaard’s shot from distance before gratefully collecting Martinelli’s first-time effort in the 31st minute.

But 24 hours after one of the most chaotic nights in Champions League history, this game was more comparable with a game of chess.

One wrong move and the consequences were fatal.

Harry Kane 🤝 Bukayo Saka

All respect between the English duo đź‘Š#UCL

— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) April 17, 2024

Leon Goretzka headed onto the woodwork as Bayern came flying out of the blocks in the second half

Martin Odegaard was incensed when he forced a save from Manuel Neuer late on but a goal kick was given

That’s not to say it was any less intriguing or enthralling. Entertainment comes in different guises, you couldn’t take your eyes off this despite the lack of clear cut chances.

READ:PLAYER RATINGS: Bukayo Saka's performance hampered Arsenal in their Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich as another Gunners forward rates just 5.5/10

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For Bayern, Musiala caught they eye. What a wonderful player he is. Beautiful balance, pace, trickery - all locked in with striking technical ability.

The Premier League would be lucky to have him one day.

Speaking of luck, Arsenal were fortunate not to find themselves behind inside the opening two minutes of the second period.

First Leon Goretzka struck a header onto the cross bar before Kimmich’s rebound hit the post following a deflection off Arsenal defender Gabriel.

Thomas Tuchel, in the away technical area, couldn’t believe his side’s misfortune.

Arteta would argue his side deserved that particular blessing.

The Arsenal manager was counting his lucky stars again in the 57th minute when Gabriel went within inches of diverting into his own net after a miscommunication with the onrushing Raya.

The home support smelt blood. The decibel reading inside this magnificent arena lurched into the red zone.

Mikel Arteta has given fresh energy to Arsenal but they came up short here against European royalty

Thomas Tuchel has now reached the Champions League final with Chelsea, PSG, and Bayern

Arsenal were entering the danger zone. Bayern were in the ascendancy. Quicker to the tackle, crisper with their passes - all with a spring in their steps.

If Arsenal are to become a genuine force in European football in years to come, they’ll have no option but to become adept at seeing out periods of pressure like this.

They were on the ropes here in the early stages of the second half. Eventually, Arsenal caved as Kimmich sent the Allianz Arena into raptures with a bullet header from Guerrero’s cross in the 63rd minute.

Arteta, animated on the touch line, tried to rally his troops. Raya, too, incessantly gestured in hope of a rapid response.

But the Bayern barrage wouldn’t relent and Leroy Sane should really have killed the tie soon after Kimmich’s opener but blazed wildly over the bar.

Arsenal were clinging on for dear life. Arteta responded by throwing on Gabriel Jesus and Leandro Trossard.

Yet Bayern expertly picked their moments to take advantage of Arsenal’s need to throw caution to the wind, picking them off on the counter attack at regular intervals - Musiala squandering an excellent chance to finish Arsenal off.

Arsenal must pick themselves up. They visit Molineux on Saturday and must focus on trying to win their first Premier League title in 20 years

Martin Odegaard rippled the side netting but it was all inconsequential as Bayern - as they often do - got the job done on the biggest stage.

So, Molineux? What have you got Arsenal…

SAMI MOKBEL: Arsenal dealt a heartbreaking lesson by European royalty (2024)
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