Bayern Munich dealt out an emphatic dose of revenge to Arsenal with a clinical 5-1 Champions League victory at the Allianz Arena that leaves them on the brink of reaching the last 16.
The Premier League side ended Bayern’s 12-match winning run in all competitions with a 2-0 Group F triumph at Emirates Stadium two weeks ago, but there appeared to be little prospect of a repeat when prolific striker Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring after 10 minutes.
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil had an effort ruled out for handball before Pep Guardiola’s team established total dominance of the contest.
Thomas Muller doubled the lead and David Alaba scored a stunning long-range third to round off a first-half masterclass.
Full-back Alaba turned provider for Arjen Robben in the 54th minute – the winger netting 37 seconds after coming on as a substitute to ensure there would be no way back for Arsenal, even allowing for Olivier Giroud’s fine 69th-minute consolation. Muller added further gloss with his second of the game in the last minute.
With nine points from four matches, Bayern are on the verge of progressing to the knockout rounds, while anything less than victories over Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos and a win for the Bundesliga champions against the Greek side in the next matchday will see Arsene Wenger’s team eliminated.
Giroud sent a speculative effort wide inside the first minute, but an Arsenal defence lacking injured duo Laurent Koscielny and Hector Bellerin were unpicked by typically measured Bayern build-up in the 10th minute.
Having shuffled numerous passes through the midfield, Thiago Alcantara lofted a pass over the top and the decision of Koscielny’s replacement Gabriel to step out granted Lewandowski ample time and space to glance home his 18th Bayern goal of an amazing season.
Arsenal responded impressively and thought they had a quickfire equalizer through Ozil, although the Germany international was adjudged to have bundled home Nacho Monreal’s cross with his arm and collected a booking for his troubles.
Despite being occasionally unsettled by their opponents’ attacking threat, Bayern found Arsenal’s remodelled backline to their liking and goalkeeper Petr Cech was called upon twice in quick succession to deny Kingsley Coman and Lewandowski.
A seemingly inevitable second arrived after 29 minutes – Muller forcing a shot beyond Cech via a deflection off Per Mertesacker after Coman mishit the initial effort from Philipp Lahm’s deep cross.
Instantly, Bayern looked for a third as Cech rushed out to thwart Lewandowski and Douglas Costa flashed a strike wide on the angle.
A reflex stop by the former Chelsea keeper stopped Muller from grabbing a second, but Arsenal could not reach half-time without further damage as Alaba bullied Santi Cazorla off the ball and curled a sumptuous strike into the top corner.
Gabriel deflected a shot behind from Costa when his countryman was allowed to saunter into the box after 53 minutes.
The sight of Coman making way for Robben suggested there would be no let-up for Arsenal and the Netherlands star peeled away from Gabriel to slam Alaba’s cutback into the roof of the net with his first touch.
On an increasingly rare Arsenal attack, Cazorla burst clear of the Bayern defence, but shot wastefully at Manuel Neuer.
Wenger’s men had a goal back when Giroud displayed superb technique to chest down and convert Alexis Sanchez’s cross on the turn – a seventh goal in as many matches for club and country.
Cazorla was then wasteful once again from close range before Bayern scored the fifth their brilliance deserved, with Costa surging forward on the break to tee up Muller for his second in the final minute.
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