The gloom deepens at Arsenal
It ended, as it so often does these days, with the noise that is threatening to become the soundtrack to Arsenal’s season.sports Updated: Feb 21, 2013 02:22 IST
It ended, as it so often does these days, with the noise that is threatening to become the soundtrack to Arsenal’s season.
This time it was not as vitriolic as on other occasions and amid the boos there was a smattering of sympathetic applause but it was scant consolation. The bottom line is that no team can defend this generously and expect it to lead them to ticker-tape and open-top bus parades.
Arsene Wenger might reflect with anguish on that moment, with the score 2-1 and his team threatening a comeback, when Theo Walcott crossed from the right and the substitute Olivier Giroud, barely on the pitch a minute, aimed his shot straight at Manuel Neuer.The chance was gone and it was six minutes later that Mario Mandzukic and Bacary Sagna slid in for the same low cross and the ball spun between them then dropped, almost in slow motion, over the goalline.
That was the fatal blow that condemned Arsenal to an eighth year without a trophy. Bayern, meanwhile, welcomed their first European Cup win in London. They had led 2-0 after 21 minutes, courtesy of Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller, and for long spells there was the clear evidence for why Bayern are 15 points clear at the top of their league and Arsenal 21 behind in theirs.
Wenger was right when he talked of a team that played the second half with spirit but this was another night when their vulnerabilities were laid bare.
Bayern had played with the command of serial champions. Those early moments, when they took control and played with the mastery and togetherness that comes from having total confidence in one another, was a stark demonstration of football played with structure and confidence.
Arsenal’s players were jeered when they walked off at halftime, while Bayern fans sang another rendition of ‘’Football’s Coming Home’’ in English.