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Thursday 20 February 2014

Champions League: Arsenal undone by ruthless Bayern

Wenger insists Arsenal will 'fight to the end' after 2-0 home defeat by Bayern Munich

  • Wojciech Szczesny was dismissed for this foul on Arjen Robben

Arsenal 0-2 Bayern Munich

Arsene Wenger says his side will "fight until the end" to reverse their UEFA Champions League deficit after Arsenal succumbed to a 2-0 reverse in their round of 16 first leg at home to Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Despite making a strong start to the match, the Gunners were unable to convert their early opportunities, including an eighth-minute penalty by Mesut Ozil which was saved by Manuel Neuer, and found themselves up against it once they were reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of Wojciech Szczesny for a foul in the penalty area on Arjen Robben in the 37th minute.

"It isn't over because we fight until the end"
Arsene Wenger

Although Bayern's David Alaba missed the resultant spot-kick, striking the left upright, Bayern made their numerical superiority count, with Toni Kroos curling a superb strike into the top corner nine minutes after the restart and substitute Thomas Muller applying the coup de grace with an 87th-minute header from Phillip Lahm's cross.

Arsenal had started brightly with Neuer denying Yaya Sanogo with a low save on seven minutes and rushing out to intercept Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who had been put through by the French striker, but the Germany goalkeeper's best intervention came after Ozil was brought down by Jerome Boateng and stepped up to take the penalty. Neuer was alive to Ozil’s clipped effort and Bayern avoided a major setback.

Szczesny's sending off altered the momentum of the match and, while Alaba gave Wenger's charges a reprieve by missing from 12 yards, the hosts found themselves dropping deeper into their own half during the second period and Bayern twice found ways to puncture the Arsenal rearguard.

"It isn't over because we fight until the end," said Wenger, whose side managed a 2-0 victory in Munich at the same stage of the competition last season. "We won at Bayern last season; we will have to try and do the same again.

"We made big mistakes but the spirit was absolutely fantastic. The penalty we missed killed the crowd. We were down to 10 men and we suffered physically. It is a night when the team showed some quality but at the end of the day we lost the game.

"I feel frustrated because it was a great football game until half-time - and there was no game at all after half-time. The game delivered what it promised at the start and in the second half it was not the same. We got caught basically on the counter for the second goal. We will have a go in the second leg and you never know."

Arsenal will attempt to claw back the deficit in Germany on 11 March.

UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg results

Wednesday 19 February
0-2 Bayern Munich
AC Milan 0-1 Atletico Madrid

Swans and Spurs take centre stage

Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur will resume their UEFA Europa League campaigns on Thursday night when they face Napoli and FC Dnipro respectively in the first leg of their last 32 ties.

Spurs head coach Tim Sherwood has confirned that Younes Kaboul, Emmanuel Adebayor, Aaron Lennon, Hugo Lloris and Kyle Walker will all miss the trip to Ukraine.

"They all have niggles," Sherwood told the club website. "They will miss this game but we hope they will be ready on Sunday. It's an opportunity for the other lads."

Swansea City, meanwhile, will again be without Michu for their home match against Napoli, while Jonjo Shelvey is a doubt with a hamstring problem.

"They are one of the best teams in Europe," Swans head coach Garry Monk told the club website. "I have watched their matches and they have very good players all the way from the goalkeeper to the attackers.

"They are a very powerful team in European football. We will be going up against a very good side, but we believe in ourselves to get a good result."

UEFA Europa League round of 32 first-leg fixtures

Thursday 20 February
Swansea City v Napoli (8.05pm)
FC Dinipro v Tottenham Hotspur (6pm)

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Key Points

  • Arsenal lose UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg to Bayern Munich
  • Second-half goals by Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller decide match after first-hlaf dismissal of Wojciech Szczesny
  • Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur are in UEFA Europa League action on Thursday night