Bayern Munich 5-1 Arsenal: Gunners' qualification hopes dented
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 05/11/15 8:32am
Arsenal's Champions League knockout qualification hopes hang in the balance after a dominant Bayern Munich ran out 5-1 winners at the Allianz Arena.
Robert Lewandowski's header put Bayern ahead early on in Wednesday night's Group F clash, before Thomas Muller's low effort and David Alaba's fine 25-yard strike put the German champions 3-0 up at half-time.
Arjen Robben scored just 38 seconds after coming on as a substitute to make it 4-0, but Arsenal got one back with 20 minutes remaining through Olivier Giroud's superb finish before Muller added a fifth late on.
Arsenal now must beat Dinamo Zagreb in their next group game on November 24, hope other results go their way, and then better a 3-2 scoreline at Olympiakos in their final game on December 9.
Laurent Koscielny, who the club say was left on the bench as a precaution due to a minor hip problem, was replaced by Gabriel at centre-back, and the new-look partnership with Per Mertesacker struggled throughout the first period.
Bayern were ahead on nine minutes through Lewandowski, who beat Arsenal's offside trap to head home Thiago Alcantara's cross into the bottom right corner from eight yards.
Arsenal went up the other end moments later and had the ball in the net through Mesut Ozil, but despite the referee giving the goal, the additional official signalled for a handball by the German, which replays showed was the correct decision.
Petr Cech was kept busy in the first 45 minutes, and acrobatically saved twice in the space of a minute from a Lewandowski curling effort and then the Poland striker's header.
But the visitors were two behind on the half-hour mark as Muller squeezed the ball into the bottom-left corner from 10 yards after Kingsley Coman had fluffed his initial effort.
Cech showed fantastic reflexes to tip Muller's effort from eight yards over the bar as half-time loomed, but Arsenal saw any hopes dashed in the 44th minute as Bayern scored a third.
Alaba, allowed space to turn full circle 25 yards from goal, unleashed a fine left-footed effort into the top-right corner past Cech, as a dominant Bayern took a deserved three-goal lead into the break.
Just 38 seconds after coming on for Coman, Robben finished off a fine team move involving Douglas Costa and Alaba, poking into the top corner from close range to make it 4-0 after 55 minutes.
Arsenal came into the game too late, and were close to dragging one back as Manuel Neuer saved from Santi Cazorla's point-blank effort, but they soon got their consolation through Giroud.
The Frenchman, picking up a left-wing cross, brought the ball down on his chest inside the area and acrobatically finished with his next touch for 4-1.
Bayern came close to scoring another through Robben, who rounded Cech before Mathieu Debuchy recovered with a fine tackle, before Muller grabbed his second and Bayern's fifth by squeezing home from 15 yards into the bottom right corner after superb work by Costa.
The defeat is Arsenal's joint-heaviest in the Champions League, and is the first time they have conceded five goals in the competition.