Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hit out at Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben as the Gunners exited this season’s Champions League after a hard earned 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena.
Arsenal were 2 nil down going into the second leg in Germany and needed a top performance to overcome a two goal cushion against the European Champions for the second season running.
Arsenal started the second leg reasonably well with Alex Oxade-Chamberlain producing an excellent display in midfield. The Gunners however fell further behind in the tie when Bastian Schweinsteiger’s struck from close-range but German forward Lukas Podolski levelled things up against his former club.
But unfortunately for Arsenal they couldn’t get their noses in front on the night and had Lukasz Fabianski to thank for ensuring they went a second season unbeaten at the Allianz when he saved a stoppage-time penalty from Thomas Muller.
Despite Arsene Wenger publicising his fears in the pre-match press conference Arjen Robben still went to ground on a number of occasions and it was no surprise when the referee finally awarded the Dutchman a penalty in stoppage time.
Wenger told the press afterwards that he was not impressed with Robben’s diving antics :
“Robben is very good at getting the maximum of nothing and he is a great player and as well a very good diver, but it is part of it, He is a fantastic player, I would not deny that, he’s one of the best players in the world.
But he gets in front of a player and then he slows down and goes down. He gets the free-kicks.
That’s where we spoke about yesterday that the referee, if he gives him a yellow card on the first one when he goes down, he will not do it again.”
Wenger then spoke about his side’s aggregate defeat against the European Champions :
“We had to defend a lot in the first half, but we knew that being in the game at half-time we had a good chance to win the game,
I believe that in the second half the opportunities were there, but overall over the two games I feel that what made the difference is the decision to send our goalkeeper off in the first game.
We played a 1-1 tonight and that decision had a huge impact. It was on the same player who got a penalty again tonight and that’s the regret we have. Spirit wise, we have everything until the end.
Good luck to Bayern, they are a good side but I think they are this season more vulnerable than last year.”
Bayern will be relieved to get past the Gunners who presented a very tricky tie on paper for Pep Guardiola’s men. In fact the result may have been different if Mesut Ozil has converted his penalty and Wojciech Szczesny hadn’t been dismissed at the Emirates in the first leg.
Bayern are now 2/1 favourites to retain the Champions League this season with Barcelona at 7/2 and Real Madrid at 4/1. To see these odds and more click here. With Arsenal exiting the competition it’s now left to Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea to fly the British flag although both City and United must overcome two goal deficits if they are to remain in the competition. Chelsea are locked at 1-1 with Galatasaray.