Bayern Munich 1 Arsenal 0 (3-2 agg): Arteta’s side too cautious? Tuchel to go out on a high?

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Bayern Munich 1 Arsenal 0 (3-2 agg): Arteta’s side too cautious? Tuchel to go out on a high?

Three days after losing ground in the Premier League title race, Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League by a rejuvenated Bayern Munich.

Mikel Arteta’s side lost out to a Joshua Kimmich goal in the second half of a game that was tighter for large parts than the first leg that ended 2-2 at the Emirates.

Bayern’s domestic season under Thomas Tuchel has been a disaster, with Bayer Leverkusen crowned Bundesliga champions at the weekend, but in Europe, it is another story.

Tuchel will leave his post at the end of this season, but he could exit with the Champions League trophy that he won with Chelsea in 2021.

Our writers break down all the action.

What happened with Bayern’s goal?

Bayern’s goal came from the flank that Arsenal had built their game plan so diligently around. It just wasn’t who they thought it would be doing the damage.

For 63 minutes, Arsenal’s left flank had coped pretty well with the threat of Leroy Sane. He was Bayern’s main attacking threat at the Emirates and Arteta selected Takehiro Tomiyasu and Gabriel Martinelli to counter that — despite the former not starting since December and the latter only starting two of the last ten games.

The Brazilian winger repeatedly doubled up on Sane, who had only got in behind Tomiyasu once as he tracked him inside onto his stronger right foot.

(MICHAELA STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

But the goal came from Sane getting to the bye line and crossing despite Arsenal having a 2v1 against him.

Ben White was not aggressive in closing down the resultant cross but Martinelli was caught ball-watching, checking his right shoulder for Sane and forgetting that Kimmich was attacking the ball from deep.

The German got the run on him and it proved a costly lapse of concentration. Arsenal’s left flank was jolted in attacking capacity.

Jordan Campbell

Were Arsenal too cautious?

In both legs, Arsenal looked at their best when they lured Bayern into their press and then pounced.

Tuchel’s side coughed up the opportunity they desired in the first half, the best being when Declan Rice robbed Konrad Laimer but Martin Odegaard and Kai Havertz chose the wrong option and the attack fizzled out.

It was a recurring theme of poor decision-making when there was space to attack but Bayern looked comfortable defending Arsenal when they had controlled possession.
Arteta’s side were overly cautious on the ball with few players ahead of the play and even fewer runs in behind to give Bayern something to think about.


Bukayo Saka was pinned out wide for the whole match and it made it simpler for the unfamiliar duo of Noussair Mazraoui and Raphael Guerreiro to outnumber him with Ben White reverting to the more conservative role he played in the first half of the season.

It was similar to the issues they faced away to Porto when much of their possession was stale and limited to the first two-thirds of the pitch.

After Odegaard’s shot 12 seconds into the second half, it took them until just before the 90 to have another. That’s not ambitious enough to win in Munich.

Jordan Campbell

Why are Bayern better in Europe than Bundesliga?

Tuchel replicated the approach that bore fruit in London. Bayern sat relatively deep, ceded far more possession than they would have done in the Bundesliga, and were happy to counter–punch.

Before half-time, the German commentators were unimpressed. “This is supposed to be a home game,” said one of the summarisers, witheringly.

But this is perhaps why Bayern have found the Champions League easier going. Freed from having to be dominant, as they are domestically, and with expectations around this team as low as they have been in recent memory, they have been able to play the role of the underdog.

Their main weakness – a vulnerability to counters and transitions when losing the ball – was effectively irrelevant in both Arsenal games, as they made little attempt to control possession high up the pitch.

Does it make them better in Europe? Better might be the wrong word. But the simplicity of playing in an unambitious way, in a relatively simple system, certainly seems to suit them and to have quelled some of their neuroses.

Seb Stafford-Bloor

How did Arteta’s subs work out?

Arteta was noticeably quick to make his substitutes after Kimmich headed in the opener. It was not as early as his first-leg changes, when he introduced Oleksandr Zinchenko at half-time, but clear caution to the wind from a head coach who cares so much for control.

Leandro Trossard replaced Gabriel Martinelli at left wing, who had struggled one-v-one against Kimmich, despite him not nominally being a right-back. Gabriel Jesus came on for Jorginho, adding an extra body on the forward line and moving Kai Havertz to No 10. The problem in this was losing a midfielder, clearly a necessary evil as far as Arteta was concerned, as Arsenal lost a player in build-up against an increasingly deeper and compact Bayern block.

It did little to change the game or re-energise a fatigued Arsenal, who were rocked by the goal. Passes did not stick, White’s yellow card for a counter-attack stopping foul summed up Arsenal’s problems in attack. Having avoided defeat (two draws, one win) in the first three games of the season in which they fell behind, Arsenal have lost eight times in a row now from going 1-0 down, across all competitions.

Liam Tharme

What did Mikel Arteta say?

We will bring you the Arsenal manager’s latest thoughts once he has spoken in his post-match press conference.

What did Thomas Tuchel say?

We will bring you the Bayern manager’s latest thoughts once he has spoken in his post-match press conference.

What next for Arsenal?

Saturday, April 2o: Wolves (A), Premier League, 7.30pm UK, 2.30pm ET

What next for Bayern Munich?

Saturday, April 2o: Union Berlin (A), Bundesliga, 5.30pm UK, 12.30pm ET

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(Top photo: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)