Arsenal are facing another first knockout round Champions League exit following a humiliating 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
Arsene Wenger’s side have been knocked out the competition at the last-16 stage of every season since 2010-11 and will need a huge performance in the return leg at home to stand any chance of progressing.
Arjen Robben opened the scoring after just 10 minutes by curling in a shot from outside the area before Arsenal were given a penalty for a foul on captain Laurent Koscielny. Although Alexis Sanchez missed the spot-kick, he was able to poke in the follow-up.
With the score tied 1-1, it looked as if the away side had something to protect and take back to London.
The turning point
However, Koscielny limped off with a suspected hamstring injury after 49 minutes, and the Gunners collapsed without his presence on the field.
Within 15 minutes of losing their central defender, Arsenal had conceded three more goals and the score was 4-1 with 25 minutes to play.
Robert Lewandowski headed in first, rising above Shkodran Mustafi before Thiago scored a quickfire double.
Thomas Muller rounded off the scoring with two minutes to go, ensuring Arsenal have a mountain to climb if they’re going to reach the last eight.
The English side will need to score four without reply at home if they’re to advance on the away goals rule. If Bayern get just one on the break, Arsenal will need to net six.
More Wenger controversy
Another likely Champions League exit will heap even more pressure on Wenger and deepen the divide between fans that want to see him stay or go at the end of the season.
His decision to start David Ospina ahead of regular number one Petr Cech in goal on Wednesday night was a controversial one. Before the tie, the Frenchman told Sky Sports that Ospina’s “great” performances had helped guide Arsenal to the top of their group. This decision may now be seen by fans as the wrong one.
With Arsenal seemingly heading out of Europe’s elite competition, once again, they will have to concentrate on domestic success.
After spending an evening at the 75,000 seater Allianz Arena, the club next travel to non-league Sutton United in the FA Cup, who play at a stadium that holds just over 5,000 people.
With rivals Chelsea 10 points ahead of the Gunners in the Premier League, the FA Cup may be the only trophy Arsenal will end up challenging for at the end of the season.