Arsenal 2-0 Bayern Munich: Five talking points from the Emirates

Mesut Oezil celebrates
Image: Mesut Ozil celebrates his late goal against Bayern Munich

Arsenal revived their Champions League campaign with a stunning 2-0 win over Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium.

Pep Guardiola's men dominated possession, but there were chances for both sides, and Olivier Giroud broke the deadlock before Mesut Ozil added their second in stoppage time.

Here, we round up some of the top talking points from a memorable night for the Gunners

Sign of progress for Arsenal?

Arsene Wenger celebrates with Mesut Ozil
Image: Arsene Wenger celebrates with Ozil and Nacho Monreal

Are Arsenal finally turning a corner? Their 2-0 defeat to Chelsea last month hinted at familiar failings, but this display eclipsed the 3-0 win over Manchester United in its unexpected brilliance. Wenger certainly can't be accused of tactical inflexibility either. Arsenal had just 27 per cent possession, but they were disciplined, they stifled the visitors and they created chances on the counter-attack.

In his post-match press conference, Wenger said it was all part of the game plan. "We had absolute necessity to win the game and we did it in an intense, disciplined way," he said. "Bayern had more possession than us but we decided to make it tight in our final third and catch them on the break."

Redemption for Ozil

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Arsenal's Mesut Ozil is mobbed by team-mates
Image: Arsenal's Mesut Ozil is mobbed by team-mates

For Ozil, it was an evening of redemption. His early penalty miss and subsequent disappearing act when these two teams met in the last 16 two years ago was a low point in his Arsenal career, but he banished those demons with a battling display which he capped with a goal.

Ozil's cool head and intelligence on the ball helped Arsenal weather the storm, and he created more scoring opportunities (three) than any of his team-mates. He closed down opponents eagerly and pressed when Bayern had the ball, with no one on the pitch winning possession more times (nine).  

Cech outshines Neuer

Petr Cech acknowledges the fans after Arsenal's 2-0 win over Bayern Munich.
Image: Petr Cech acknowledges the fans after Arsenal's 2-0 win over Bayern Munich.

Manuel Neuer's first-half save from Theo Walcott's point-blank header was breath-taking, but he was horribly at fault for Arsenal's opener as he completely missed Santi Cazorla's free kick. Petr Cech, on the other hand, showed the folly of Wenger selecting David Ospina against Olympiakos.

His brilliant reflex save from Thiago Alcantara in the first half was probably the pick of the bunch, but there were plenty to choose from. "He was very important," said Wenger. "He kept us in the game and you can say the same for Neuer. We had two world class goalkeepers on the pitch today. That was vital on both sides."

Giroud shows his worth

Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring
Image: Olivier Giroud celebrates making the breakthrough against Bayern

Arsenal's failure to sign an out-and-out striker in the summer provoked an angry reaction from supporters, but in Giroud and Theo Walcott they suddenly have two in-form options. Walcott's pace terrified Jerome Boateng and David Alaba in the first half, but it was Giroud who got the breakthrough.

Giroud's bundled finish was hardly his finest, but he has now scored four times from the bench in his last eight appearances, and there were examples of excellent hold-up play in the final minutes. "He's coming back to his best," said Wenger. "The focus he brings and the spirit he shows - he's a winner. And he gives us a different option."

Gunners shackle Lewandowski

Hector Bellerin of Arsenal tackles Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich during the UEFA Champions League
Image: Hector Bellerin tackles Robert Lewandowski

Arsenal's defence deserve credit, too. Robert Lewandowski had scored a scarcely believable 15 goals in seven appearances before this game, but Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker survived some hairy early moments to keep him quiet.

Either side of the centre-backs, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal also impressed. Bellerin was given the runaround by Douglas Costa in the early stages, but he showed mental resilience to recover, and in stoppage time, he still had the energy and acceleration to set up the second goal. "In the end, Hector found the resources to get on top of [Costa]," said Wenger. "It's fantastic to see."

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