Arsenal and Bayern Munich will once again lock horns in the first knockout rounds of the Champions League. The sides have met three times in the round of 16 with the Gunners losing each time, putting huge pressure on Arsene Wenger and his men to end their struggles against the German giants.
The Gunners have had no difficulty qualifying for the Champions League under the Frenchman, having earned their place in the competition for the past 18 seasons. However, after enjoying surges into the last rounds of the tournament in the '00s - including run to the final in the 2005-06 campaign when they were beaten by Barcelona - Wenger’s men have failed to progress beyond the round of 16 for six seasons on the bounce.
Bayern have accounted for two of those exits, while Barcelona have also haunted the Gunners twice, with the other exits coming at the hands of Monaco and Milan. The route of Arsenal’s problems have been their dire performances in the first legs of the ties, losing all but one of their first matches in the knockout phase in their run of premature exits, which came against Barca in the 2010-11 campaign.
We’ll now look back at the holes Arsenal have dug themselves into and see if Wenger and his side can avoid another collapse against Bayern this time around, with the club backed at 6/1 in the latest Champions League betting odds to claim victory at the Allianz Arena on February 14.
Milan 4-0 Arsenal – 2011/12 season
The Gunners have an evening to forget in the San Siro as they hammered by the Italian giants – suffering their heaviest European defeat to date. A brace from former Manchester City man Robinho and strikes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin Prince-Boateng left Wenger’s men with an uphill task.
At the Emirates Stadium, they almost pulled it off with a 3-0 win through goals from Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky and Robin van Persie. However, a common theme would emerge that the Gunners gave themselves just too much to do to advance.
Arsenal 1-3 Bayern – 2012/13 season
A shocking start to the contest left Wenger’s men needing a miracle to remain the match as Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller put the German outfit in control. Lukas Podolski reduced the arrears, but a late strike from Mario Mandzukic all but won the tie for Bayern.
The Gunners displayed an aptitude for the fight at the Allianz Arena. And even tough goals from Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny levelled the score, Bayern were able to clinch the win on away goals.
Arsenal 0-2 Bayern – 2013/14 season
The sides were drawn together for the second year on the spin, but Bayern were able to exert dominance once again.
The match was goalless in its first half, but Kroos’ strike in the 54th minute handed the visitors control before Muller scored two minutes from time to take the air out of the Emirates Stadium.
On this occasion, Arsenal could not mount a serious challenge for a comeback as Bastian Schweinsteiger’s strike all but ended the tie despite a leveller from Podolski.
Arsenal 1-3 Monaco – 2014/15 season
This result was perhaps Arsenal’s worst defeat in the Champions League due to the importance of the fixture. It’s fair to say they bottled it on home soil as goals from Geoffrey Kondogbia and DimitarBerbatov handed the French outfit a 2-0 lead.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave the Gunners hope, but for some reason they over committed in the dying seconds of the match and were hit on the counter, allowing Yannick Carrasco to score a vital late goal for Monaco.
The late strike would cost Wenger’s men as they did rally in the second leg, with strikes from Giroud and Aaron Ramsey - but once again they left themselves with too much to overturn in the second leg.