Culprits of arsenal

The chief culprits of Arsenal’s horror show against Bayern Munich

February 15, 2017, and March 3, 2017, are two dates that the Arsenal faithful will try in futility to forget in hurry. Their beloved team had been made to look like non-league minnows in their Round of 16 Champions League tie against Bayern Munich.

The Gunners (as Arsenal are fondly called) were lacking in mental strength as they were outpaced, out-tinkered, outwitted and outmuscled by a rampant Bayern Munich side who showed no mercy to their counterparts from the North side of London.

Over both legs of the UEFA Champions League tie between Arsenal and Bayern Munich, a staggering 12 goals were scored – even more staggering is the fact that as much as 10 of those goals were ruthlessly pumped into the Arsenal net as the Gunners allowed Bayern to walk over and through them on their way to the quarter-finals.

The big question is, who is to be blamed in all this? What could have caused the ‘supposed' pride of London to capitulate so woefully? It all bores down to certain individuals whose actions or inactions had ended up shooting the Arsenal team in the foot. In this piece, we’ll highlight some of the chief culprits who had all played one role or the other in ensuring that Arsenal crashed out of the Champions League round of 16 in the most horrific and humiliating way possible.

Culprit #1 – Laurent Koscielny

Some Arsenal fans are still singing his praise even after tonight, but believe me, you can trace Arsenal’s woeful ouster from the Champions League this year to Laurent Koscielny. You need your best players to be at their best during crunch encounters such as this; these are the players you can rely on, to help you negotiate the toughest of fixtures.

Laurent Koscielny place in the Arsenal squad is a highly sensitive one – he is the libero, the man saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that Arsenal concedes fewer goals as possible. The French defender is a master in his own right. He has shown on countless occasions that he is someone everyone can rely on. His impressive stats in the Premier League puts him among the best in the League. Sadly, against Bayern Munich, Koscielny, left Arsenal hanging.

In the first leg of the encounter, with the score locked at 1-1, Koscielny picked up a muscle problem and was subsequently substituted; guess what happened next? Arsenal conceded four more goals and lost that game by a disastrous 5-1 score-line. Koscielny, why did you have to leave?

In the second leg at the Emirates, Koscielny, was again the talking point. With Arsenal leading on the night 1-nil (5-2 on aggregate), Koscielny committed a blunder when he barged into Robert Lewandowski in the penalty area; the referee controversially pointed to the spot and issued Koscielny with a yellow card – he (the Ref) changed his mind after consultation with his assistants and sent Koscielny off! Lewandowski coolly dispatched the penalty. Playing with an important man less, Arsenal went on to concede four more goals (just like in the first leg) and the game ended 1-5. Not again Koscielny!

Culprit #2 – Arsene Wenger

If you had watched the game between Arsenal and Bayern, you would have seen a few fans carrying placards, asking Arsene Wenger to leave Arsenal – the hashtag is #WengerOut. These fans are not stupid; they know for a fact that Arsene Wenger has become tactically bereft of ideas in the past few months (some will say years). His tactical ineptness was exploited by his Bayern counterpart, Carlo Ancelotti, who played to his strength, unlike Wenger and completely obliterated Arsenal.

In both legs, Arsene Wenger failed miserably in curtailing Bayern’s midfield and wing play, where they are so strong. The result of that failure was that they (Arsenal) simply got annihilated 10-2. Arrest him!

Culprit #3 – Arjen Robben

Arjen Robben is 33 years of age, but watching him tear Arsenal apart, he just seems ageless. Robben was a constant threat throughout the tie and capped off his superb performances by scoring a goal each in both legs.

The Dutchman teased and turned the Arsenal defence at will and scored when he wanted or when given the opportunity by the hapless Arsenal defence. Robben is partly to blame for Arsenal’s heavy defeat – he was just too irresistibly good.

Culprit #4 – Robert Lewandowski

The Polish striker was his usual predatory self against Arsenal and took the chances presented him by the Arsenal defense with some mastery – although he did miss a few opportunities, he was the man who nailed the hopes of the Gunners with some deft finishing, helping himself to a goal in both legs of the one-sided tie.

Culprit #5 - Thiago Alcântara and Arturo Vidal

These guys really showed us how the midfield battle is won in modern day soccer. They simply ran the show. Both men working together for Bayern was just a little too much for the flat-footed Arsenal midfield to handle. The buildup play, interceptions, neat tackling and deft touches exhibited by the duo ensured that Arsenal succumbed to their heaviest Champions League aggregate defeat in their history.

While Alcântara chose the Allianz Arena to grab his brace, Vidal waited till he was in London to grab his, and help complete the embarrassing mauling.

About the Author Kingsley

I am a football/soccer connoisseur who enjoys crafting interesting articles like the one you just read.

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