Wenger’s darkest night after Arsenal's 10-goal humiliation at the hands of Bayern

There was a time when Arsene Wenger’s sides did this to the best in Europe.

Wenger’s darkest night after Arsenal's 10-goal humiliation at the hands of Bayern

So how humiliating this record Champions League defeat was for the proud French manager who once inspired a team to win 5-1 in the San Siro against the then mighty Inter Milan.

But that was then, 14 years ago to be precise, and this is now. And if this does prove to be the last Champions League match for the Arsenal manager, on the occasion of this 184th tie in charge, what a cruel way for it all to end as his contract nears an end after 20 years in charge.

As in the first leg, when Arsenal also lost 5-1, his men were doing well and in the game until they had captain Laurent Koscielny sent off.

The French defender went for a straight red for a professional foul on Robert Lewandowski, who levelled shortly after half-time from the ensuing penalty after Theo Walcott had given the smallest of rays of hope with his first half effort Arsenal collapsed after that, just as they had in Munich.

The only positive, for Wenger is that there was no verbal dissent inside the stadium audibly directed at him, though there were literally a couple of ‘Wenger out’ placards amid the chants for owner Stan Kroenke to quit the club.

Afterward Wenger said he was “very angry” with Greek referee Tasos Sidiropoulis, saying some of the decisions were “absolutely unexplainable and scandalous”. “The referee killed the game again — it was not a penalty. Or a red card. I am angry and disappointed in our situation. I have to stand up for it and take a lot of criticism but it does not change my mind and doesn’t make them right.

“I knew before game it would be difficult but we wanted to show pride and commitment and the result is disappointing.

“I’m not here to talk about my future just the match and there was no uncertainty out there. I think we can compete with Bayern and showed that in first half.

“I think we are in great shape but going through a difficult situation an what needs to change is the next result.”

Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti admitted it was a “strange” night. “It was difficult out for us until we got the penalty and Arsenal made us make mistakes we don’t normally do but we knew what we had to do. Strange to say it was difficult but the result doesn’t respect what happened on the pitch as they made it so difficult until they had 10 men — in both matches.

“Do I know if Arsene will survive? I can’t say as I am not the owner of Arsenal but Arsene knows better than me how to handle pressure.”

The miracle mission had started well, as Walcott’s pace troubled Neuer as he cleared. That prompted a spell of attacking play that culminated in some confusion in the Munich defence that nearly led to a chance for Olivier Giroud, recalled to the starting line-up after Danny Welbeck fell ill during the warm-up.

With no sign of Wenger on the touchline, while Ancelotti nervously patrolled the Bayern technical area, it was not obvious which team was more desperate for a result.

And when Walcott weaved his way through the German defence to put Arsenal ahead with a spectacular 19th-minute goal players and Arsenal fans alike reacted as if they genuinely believed they could pull off a footballing miracle.

But as Arsenal launched waves of ultimately fruitless attacks, Bayern remained calm. Neuer took a good minute or two with every goal kick and they tried to keep possession to take the sting out of Arsenal’s early enthusiasm.

They had the officials helping them too as Arsenal were denied a penalty when Javi Martinez felled Walcott after 35 minutes. The England striker was rightly furious as referee Sidiropoulis delegated the decision to his assistant official behind the penalty area.

Maybe Walcott’s ire affected his judgment when his pace took him clear of the defence yet again moments later and he could only shoot into the side netting from an angle.

Surely to stand any hope of making a game of this Arsenal would have to get another goal before half-time.

The need to attack naturally left room for Bayern to exploit on the break, however, and a great pass from Arjen Robben so nearly led to a Robert Lewandowski goal for the visitors in the next move of the match.

Surprisingly the Gunners’ fans passionately cheered their team off the pitch at the break and back on for the start of the second half.

But this always had a sense of ‘too little too late.’ It was a feeling emphasised when Giroud missed a great chance to head in a second for Arsenal from an Aaron Ramsey cross.

The sense of the inevitable really set in in the 54th minute when Lewandowski wriggled clear and was pushed from behind by Koscielny. The referee booked, but was then reminded by an assistant he had to send off the Arsenal captain for bringing down the last man. The prolific Polish striker sent David Ospina the wrong way from the spot and snuffed out all Arsenal hope.

Robben ended a prolonged spell of Bayern possession by scoring their second goal with 22 minutes to go.

Wenger made the futile gesture of a triple substitution, including the withdrawal of Giroud and Sanchez. It was a Bayern sub, Douglas Costa, who scored their third on the break. Arturo Vidal’s two goals in the closing minutes were as harsh on Arsenal as they were unnecessary.

ARSENAL (4-3-3):

Ospina 6; Bellerin 6, Mustafi 5, Koscielny 5, Monreal 5; Oxlade-Chamberlain 8, Xhaka 5, Ramsey 4 (Coquelin 72, 6); Walcott 7, Sanchez 6 (Perez 72, 6), Giroud 5 (Ozil 72, 5).

Subs:

Cech, Gibbs.

BAYERN MUNICH (4-2-3-1):

Neuer 7; Rafinha 6, Hummels 6, Martínez 5, Alaba 6; Alonso 6, Vidal 7; Robben 7 (Costa 71, 7), Thiago 7 (Kimmich 79, 6), Ribery 6 (Sanches 79, 6); Lewandowski 7.

Subs:

Ulreich, Costa, Bernat, Muller, Coman.

Referee:

Tasos Sidiropoulis (Greece)

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