On Saturday, Arsenal booked a semifinal ticket to Wembley after a 4-1 victory over Everton at the Emirates. The victory was like nitro to the combustion engines of the Arsenal after they had been stoked a week before. The appetite of lifting a silverware was increased following Manchester City’s surprising lose to cup holders Wigan and the tale on every tabloid was the high probability of the gunners ending a trophy drought since 2005.
Then came the other assignment of the UEFA Champions League. Trailing by 2-0 from the Emirates the gunners needed to win by a 2 goal margin to have a chance of progressing to the quarter finals. This was not to be as the gunners could only get a 1-1 draw.
The first half ended goalless with Ozil losing the balls to the touch lines and the defense matching up to every Bayern attack. The midfield was crowded but the Ox got two rampages that resulted in free kicks not utilized. Other resulted corners were, as expected, fruitless as gunners were generally pegged back to their half.
After the break, Rosicky came in for injured Ozil and it seems to breathe life to the Yellows from North London. They were outdone in the 55th minute as Ribery’s cut back met an unmarked Schweinsteiger. The Bayern lead lasted just 2 minutes as Podolski robbed Lahm of the ball in the Bayern box to fire a bullet from the tightest of angles that Neuer had to even dodge.
Game on, and the belief began to rise. But the belief never materialized to converted chances as the gunners failed to utilize their chances when they were gifted by Bavarian mistakes. Neuer gave the ball away to Giroud, yet he couldn’t find Rosicky or unmarked Podolski to punish the German number one. Rosicky rubbed Martinez but the resulted ball was sheepishly given away. Gnabry had two late chances but the Munich skies were happy to take the balls.
It was a good game but the gunners failed to take their chances. 3 or 4 wasted gifted chances in the last 10 minutes summed up the evening. According to Wenger, the two teams are on same level but the tie was decided in the first leg where Szczesny was sent off.
The game seemed to be heading for a Bayern victory when the referee pointed to the spot after adjoining that Robben was fouled by Koscienly. This was Robben’s second dive of the game and the referee bought it after overlooking his first. Up step Muller and Fabianski saved the penalty. Karma?
The saved penalty brought little joy to both sides because it was already 90 minutes. The cup holders are through to the quarter finals with Arsenal out for the umpteenth time. The gunners may boast of not losing in Germany for quite a while, but will have to blame themselves for letting this slip away.
Back to London, the gunners return. The FA cup is theirs to grab, the league is within reach, just demolish Tottenham. Sherwood would be happy too.