Champions League: Bayern Munich Control Possession After Arsenal Red Card

By Douglas Smith
Toni Kroos Bayern Munich Champions League
Getty Images

The first leg of the Champions League match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich had a little bit of everything. Fans saw two missed penalty kicks, a red card and an early injury. Bayern showed why many consider them the best team in Europe, quickly knocking the ball around and singling out the left side of the Arsenal defense.

Being up a man was just a chance for Bayern to show their talent and almost seal an appearance in the round of eight before the second leg. The final pass count was 808 for Bayern with 150 for Arsenal. Bayern beat Arsenal in the Emirates by a score of 2-0, taking an advantage back to the Allianz that may be too large to overcome.

Arsenal had a great start to the match, continuously conquering the Bayern offside trap in the first 10 minutes. Jerome Boateng was called for a foul in the box in the eighth minute and awarded a yellow card. Mesut Ozil stepped up to take the penalty, but the attempt was weak and never fooled Manuel Neuer.

Arsenal continued the attack, although surprise starter Yaya Sanogo faded from the match. Neuer swept another chance away ahead of a run by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and made another stretched save in the first half.

As the match calmed down, Bayern began to control possession, especially on the offensive right side. Nacho Monreal was targeted by the German side after coming on in the 31st minute for an injured Kieran Gibbs. Toni Kroos and Arjen Robben combined on a beautiful play as a lob pass to Robben forced Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny to react late and take down Robben in the area.

Szczesny was given a red card, but David Alaba could not convert the penalty. Search Vine to see what Szczesny thought about his red card as he exited the field.

Former German star Michael Ballack said he hates the red card penalty in the box rule during halftime commentary. Given the possession clinic that Bayern put on after the break, it is easy to understand those comments. Arsenal had less than 35 percent of possession before they went down a man, so trying to win the ball against a Pep Guardiola possession-oriented squad with only 10 men is almost impossible. Arsenal fans had a lot of opportunity to boo as they did each time Robben touched the ball after the 38-minute mark.

Just as Barcelona added a late goal against Manchester City, Thomas Muller did the same for Bayern today. With that goal, Arsenal can now focus on trying to win the Premier League title.

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