Tactical Analysis- Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich- Giroud, Alexis & 4-3-3.

Tactical Analysis: Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich: Giroud, Alexis & 4-3-3.

Coming off one of the worst first leg performances in cup history, Arsenal looked to upset the most gigantic of odds to qualify for the last 8 in the Champions League. Amidst the emergence of 'Wenger Out' banners and protests, the Gunners went into the game fearing a tumultuous backlash from the Emirates faithful.

No side in the history of the competition has ever overturned a four-goal deficit but this is the impossible task Arsène Wenger was charged with. Having lost 3-1 at Anfield on Saturday, the Gunners found themselves 16 points behind the league leaders. In contrast, Bayern Munich came into the game winning three games on the bounce with a collective score of 14-0.

In the face of the biggest game of the season, Wenger made four changes to the team that lost at Anfield. Alexis Sánchez, Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott came into the XI. Mesut Özil also made an appearance on the bench after recovering from an illness. However, in the warm up Danny Welbeck felt too ill to compete and was replaced by Olivier Giroud. Bayern also made a few changes to the team that won the first leg 5-1, Rafinha came in for the suspended Philippe Lahm while Ribéry returned in place of Douglas Costa.

Arsenal vs Bayren Line up

Arsenal's wide 4-3-3 vs. Bayern's fluid 4-2-3-1.

The Welbeck injury in warm up presented several hindrances to Arsenal's game plan. Wenger had probably initially planned to have a pacey front three pressing and terrorising the slow Bayern defence. Instead, Giroud would come in for Welbeck, meaning instead of facing a menacing mobile striker, Javi Martínez & Matt Hummels got to engage in an aerial battle with Giroud, something they thrive on. This also shifted Alexis Sánchez out wide where he's known to be less effective.

It's all well and good commending Alexis Sánchez for his 'unrivalled' work ethic but last night his defensive work rate was absolutely appalling. Nacho Monreal a notoriously bad 1v1 defender was left on many an occasion isolated with Arjen Robben. Sánchez literally left his Spanish compatriot out to dry, perhaps on purpose. Arjen Robben is a fantastic player that needs to be doubled up on at all times, his danger alone is enough to ruin defences.

Add to the equation the constant support of Rafinha down the right and Monreal was literally slaughtered time after time. This forced Xhaka to vacate his CDM position to come out wide to help the full-back, leaving more space for Thiago to exploit in the middle. Instead of Sánchez to wake up after the first few sniffs of danger, he continued to slowly trudge back and pretend like he was actually fulfilling his defensive duties. Laughable.

Arsenal - Monreal vs Robben

Monreal left 1v1 with Arjen Robben with Xhaka rushing to aid him.

Many a fan has cried out to Wenger to switch formation over the season, many have felt that a 4-3-3 would be more suited to our personnel than a 4-2-3-1. Last night, Wenger finally accepted the truth and played three MFs in the middle. Aaron Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain acted as the advanced CMs with Granit Xhaka sitting behind them. This gave Ramsey the freedom he desires to make those 3rd man runs from deep, these are the type of runs that overload CBs and destabilise defences.

Arsenal - Rasmey

Aaron Ramsey positioned in a wide forward position.

One of the few shining lights from an embarrassing display was the reaffirmation that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is Arsenal's best central midfielder. The 23-year old was a revelation in the box to box role on the right side of the MF 3. The Ox picked up the ball on many an occasion, surged past Alonso & Vidal thus creating space for others around him.

Chamberlain completed 10 dribbles in the game, this is more than any other player in the whole tournament has this season. It's clear that the Englishman compliments an Arsenal 4-3-3, this should be the system that Wenger carries on with in the future. All that's missing is the creativity of Özil in the final third, he would come in for Giroud, letting Alexis go through the middle. Until that light bulb switches on, Wenger's poor decision making will continue to shine through.

Ox Take ons

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a 100% take-on completion rate.

Wenger is a broken man making desperate decisions. This was typified when he decided to play Granit Xhaka at CB after Koscielny got sent off. Granit Xhaka is clearly a player struggling for confidence at the moment. He's taken a lot of time to adjust to the pace of English football, thus affecting his decision making in terms of tackling. So what does Wenger do? He plays him at CB against some of the best attackers in the world to continue to devalue his confidence.

At 6-2 down in the tie, Arsène Wenger should have gone for damage control and brought on Gabriel. Instead, he left his players open to get slaughtered by the Bayern players, leading to the second worst aggregate score in UCL history.

For the seventh season in a row, Arsenal have gone out at the Round 16 stage of Champions League. To make matters worse, the 10-2 aggregate defeat was the worst two leg result for an English side in Europe ever. It's embarrassing how far off the club are from competing with Europe's elite. Never has the club been in a more toxic position, fans are angry, players are revolting, the manager is broken and the football world is pleasantly enjoying the meltdown.

For Arsenal fans, the only thing they can look forward to is an FA Cup title, but with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Man United and Tottenham still in the competition, it's highly likely that the Gunners will be ending the season trophyless.

About the Author Mathaeus Abuwa

Arsenal fan with a soft spot for Pascal Cygan.

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