Arsenal 2 Bayern Munich 0: Three talking points

Three talking points as Manuel Neuer can't stop Arsenal easing to a 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles

The Premier League’s pass masters meet their match

While Arsenal may be an easy target due to their lack of success since 2004 (discounting back-to-back FA Cup wins), few can argue that the Gunners produce some of the most entertaining football in the Premier League. Just ask Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal or Watford boss Quique Sánchez Flores. Arsenal made 627 passes in a 3-0 win against the Hornets which was double the newly-promoted side’s tally of 303. However, Bayern had 69 per cent possession in the first half, which had increased to 70 per cent by full-time, which may have prompted some Arsenal supporters following the Champions League clash on BT Sport’s newly-refurbished app to do a double. Unsurprisingly, a lack of possession resulted in a largely toothless Arsenal performance. But Olivier Giroud’s introduction unsettled the Bayern defence and the Arsenal substitute broke the deadlock in the 78th minute before Mesut Ozil added a second in injury time. While Arsenal are the Premier League’s best-known connoisseurs of total football, they only finished with 201 passes in comparison to Bayern’s 689. The BT Sport App’s stat highlights that possession-based football isn’t always the answer, or the winner.

Neuer conjures spirit of Seaman

If there was any doubt whether Manuel Neuer is the best goalkeeper in the world, the Bayern shot stopper proved to European football that he is most impressive German obstacle since the Berlin Wall in north London. While the shot stopper was ill-advised to come for the cross which led to Giroud’s winner, Neuer underlined his supreme talent in the preceding 77 minutes. In particular, the World Cup winner’s close-range save to deny Theo Walcott in the first half prompted Jamie Carragher to liken the Germany international to Gordon Banks. While the 27-year-old’s save was against a less prolific striker than Pele, there was a passing resemblance to David Seaman’s famous FA Cup final save in 2002. It was the pick of his six saves on the night although the fifth official decided his final stop was meaningless as Ozil’s effort was adjudged to be over the line.

Giroud gives Wenger a headache – or does he?

Arsene Wenger appears to have settled on Walcott as his first-choice striker after handing the England international a starting spot in five of the north London side’s last seven games. The 26-year-old has repaid his manager’s loyalty with three goals and three assists in his last six starts. But Giroud continues to remind the Frenchman of his qualities, albeit from the bench. The former Montpellier man has come off the bench to score three times this season. The super sub added a fourth to his tally on Tuesday night with a fortuitous winner which did appear to deflect off his hand. However, the 29-year-old’s presence was enough to cause uncertainty in the Bayern defence. The France international proved a real nuisance in his 15 minute cameo. Upon reflection, Wenger would perhaps have been better served going with the more robust Giroud against the German side. But if Giroud keeps having a goal-scoring impact from the bench, then Wenger may resist throwing the striker back into the starting line-up for the visit of Everton on Saturday.

Stats provided by BT Sport App


MORE: The latest football transfer news

MORE: Meet the Premier League's most stylish footballers

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

The Sport Review
Friendly rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer celebrate ‘the great memories we shared’
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 40 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 25 footballers’ cars: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid players feature
The Sport Review
Top 20 Nigerian footballers in Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Arsenal player wages 2017: Do you know how much Xhaka, Ozil and Coquelin earn each week?
The Sport Review
Ander Herrera: Why Man United trust top 19-year-old
The Sport Review
Steven Gerrard predicts where Man United will finish this term
The Sport Review
Chelsea and Man United have edge over title rivals, claims Schmeichel