It’s fair to say that nobody saw Tuesday night’s result coming. Arsenal miraculously found a chink in Bayern Munich’s armor right when they needed it most. But what caused Bayern to fall? Simply put, Bayern were miles away from Arsenal in terms of individual and collective class. That’s precisely what makes this result so absurd. It’s not that Arsenal are that bad, in fact there one of the inform sides in Europe. It is that Bayern have been so very good.
Pep Guardiola’s side control the match, possession wise. The ball was constantly recycled between the Bavarian giants. Thiago, Vidal and Xabi Alonso distributed the ball with ease in the center of the park. Their combination play was at times, an artform with numerous intricate one-two’s. However, there were some faults in their play.
For one, Bayern’s mercurial striker Robert Lewandowski spent much of his time occupying the wings. Lewandowski either ran in behind or checked to the ball towards the corner of the field rather than through the middle, where he is most effective. Lewandowski’s motive for trying to find the ball was well founded though.
While Guardiola’s men dominated possession in a Barcelona-esque fashion, they did little with it. All of the Bundesliga champions’ opportunities were half chances at best apart from maybe one. This was in sharp contrast to their opponents Arsenal. The Gunners were more conservative in their approach, only attacking in spurts.
But the defining element that separating the two sides was clinicality. Arsenal were utterly ruthless in their play. Their spurts of attacking play produced clear cut chances without fail. On the break they were electric, while Bayern Munich were laborious.
Overall though, this solitary loss will likely have little effect on the elite German side in the short term. Still, a higher level of potency will be needed in the latter stages of the Europe’s premier competition.