If you have ever witnessed Muhammad Ali’s vigour and panache to knockout any pugilist who would cross his path, his nonchalance of knocking out his opponents in the ring, it would be the perfect epitome for the Bavarians. At the moment, this Bayern side oozes the mental fear on the pitch and can hurl the ignominy of pain and disdain to any side in Europe.

Arsenal, however, can walk away with their chins up, after their relentless effort at the Allianz arena to overcome the two goal deficit. Little could they do to undo the damage that had been inflicted in the first leg at the Emirates.

Ribery-Alaba and Robben-Lahm take advantage of the flanks but ArsenalAi??defenseAi??stays compact

image01

Guardiola once again used Robben and Ribery as inverted wingers but instead of asking them to drift inside, both of them stayed out on the flanks to strech the Arsenal defence as wide as possible. This enabled the fullbacks Alaba and Lahm to play into the inside channels and together with Gotze, they overloaded Arsenalai??i??s central defensive pairing of Koscielny and Mertesacker.

Ribery and Alaba doubled up, creating pressure on Sagna Ai??while Lahm and Robben were equally relentless on Vermalen who had to play out of position, thanks to the injuries of both Gibbs and Monreal.

This resulted in a snowball effect and exposed Ozilai??i??s defensive abilities. Bayern, thus had acres of space to attack, relieving themselves from Arsenal’s high pressing forward line.

Oxlade Chamberlain caused problems with his direct and penetrative runs

As Guardiola emphasized on ball possession at the beginning of the match , Arsenal sat back; waiting to seize on a counterattack and landing a knockout blow, which rarely arrived.

Ai??image00The gameAi??Ai??started brightly for the Gunners as Oxlade Chamberlain with his direct and penetrating runs caused trouble to Dante and Martinez, the former who had to bring Ox down to get a mandatory yellow card.

It was fascinating to witness the 20 year old take on the Bayern backline on his own with menacing runs (according to the Ai??heat map) although without any support from his team mates.

Ai??With Giroud isolated up front while the odd runs of Ox rarely causing defensive Ai??issues for the home side, Arsenal Ai??failed to seize the chances at Ai??times when Bayern looked unsettled at the back.Ai??It would be worth contemplating , if Ai??Walcott’s Ai??pace. like that of Ox, could have caused problems to Bayern back-line!

Bayern’s defensive fragility

The introduction of Thomas Rosicky in place of the injured Mesut Ozil did cause Bayern some headaches but the tie was well won at that time with a 3-1 aggregate in favour of the home side.

After Guardiola subbed off Gotze for Kroos, Arsenalai??i??s full backs were now able to mark both Robben and Ribery while Arteta man marked Alcantara, this was the period in the match when Oxlade Chamberlian and Cazorla pressed upon both Schweinstiger and Kroos causing ripples in the Bayern back line, as Arsenal dominated possession in Bayernai??i??s half.Ai??With Podolski, Bayern were tested throughout the match but remained resilient as Thiago dropped deep to help out the German duo in the midfield.

Tactically, this was the passage of the match where Arsenal could have changed the tide but failed to seize the initiative. Can other teams in the competition take advantage? Perhaps time will provide an apt answer.

by TamojitAi??Chakraborty

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