Arsenal returned to winning ways on the continent on Tuesday with a hard fought 2-0 victory to end Bayern Munich’s winning streak of 12 wins in all competitions prior to the encounter at the Emirates stadium.
Substitute Oliveir Giroud who came of the bench for The Walcott made the difference with a header inside the final 13 minutes before a late strike from Mesut Ozil sealed victory for the homeside.
The task facing Arsenal prior to kick off was a sizeable one: not only did they need a win to boost their chances of progression but they had to do it against a Bayern side that had won all 12 of their fixtures prior to the trip to north London, scoring 39 goals and conceding just five in the process.
Bayern boasted world football’s most electric striker in Robert Lewandowski, who had 22 goals in 16 appearances while Arsenal’s Alexis – with 10 goals in his previous six outings for club and country – was expected to lead the attacking charge
Wenger made no change to the side that had eased past Watford three days earlier, placing his faith in the same starting XI for the visit of the Bavarians.
The danger Arsenal faced was spelt out within 40 seconds when Lewandowski raced through on goal, only to be dispossessed by Hector Bellerin as he shaped to shoot in the area. Arsenal responded minutes later when Sanchez fed Mesut Ozil, only for Manuel Neuer to palm the German’s low shot away.
For all their possession and dominance, Bayern struggled to make any headway against a disciplined Arsenal rearguard that was determined to shut out their free-scoring opponents.
Cech was again called into action on the half-hour mark to push away Arturo Vidal’s effort, and moments later Sanchez had a golden chance to put the hosts ahead when he pounced on a half-cleared corner but fired it over the bar from inside the area.
The force was with Wenger’s side, and they would have taken the lead moments later but for Neuer’s stunning save that denied Walcott from close range, with Ramsey firing the rebound across the face of goal to see a thrilling end to a finely-poised first half.
Bayern made a bright start to the second period, with the lively Douglas Costa and Lewandowski both going close in quick succession.
Arsenal’s resolve did not waver though, and they were rewarded for their persistence in the 77th minute when Olivier Giroud bundled the ball in from Santi Cazorla’s free kick.
It was a scrappy goal – but no one inside a buoyant Emirates Stadium cared one bit as a tense finale ensued.
But right at the end, the Gunners made sure of a huge victory when Bellerin did brilliantly to set up Ozil to fire the ball over the line from close range.