Arsene Wenger admitted that a mental and organisational collapse was the catalyst that led to Bayern Munich thrashing Arsenal on Wednesday.
Arsenal visited Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the first leg of the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, looking to get one step closer to reaching a first quarterfinal in seven years.
But what followed was a nightmarish outing for Arsene Wenger’s side, as Bayern Munich completed a comprehensive 5-1 rout of Arsenal to already have one foot into the next stage of the Champions League.
The first half was a game of equals as Arjen Robben’s magnificent long-range effort was cancelled by Alexis Sanchez’s equaliser half an hour into the match. However, it was the second half collapse that has put Arsenal’s place in the competition in massive jeopardy.
Wenger’s team, though, imploded in the second half as Robert Lewandowski restored Bayern’s lead shortly after the break before Thiago Alcantara’s (brace) and Thomas Muller rounded off the resounding win.
After the match, Arsene Wenger also labelled the second half collapse as a “nightmare” as he bemoaned his side’s mental and organisational problems in a game of such magnitude.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Wenger said, “The real problem we faced was after the third goal, because we lost our organisation and we looked mentally very jaded. From that moment on, the last 25 minutes were a nightmare for us because we looked like we had no response.”
“I think it was difficult to swallow the two goals after minutes 53 and 56. I think we have to analyse that, but it looks like that from outside. We lost our organisation, we lost our centre back. But after the third one it was a combination of [mentality] and organisation. Before that, we controlled them quite well.”
The 5-1 loss to Bayern was the sixth instance in a row when Arsenal have lost the first leg of a Round of 16 tie by two goals or more. And, the Gunners now face a Himalayan task in their bid to reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League this season, as they need to beat Bayern by a margin of 5 goals in the second leg next month.
It remains to be seen now if Arsenal can overturn such a massive deficit in the second leg at the Emirates Stadium next month, but it looks like Arsene Wenger would need a performance of miraculous proportions to get over Bayern Munich in the return fixture.