Bayern fans that skipped the opening five minutes in protest of the admission price into the Emirates this afternoon, will feel even more ripped off after their side were defeated 2-0 by a resilient Arsenal side.
Yes, the £60 the travelling fans paid to see their unbeaten side make the trip to London to face a team who had not won in their opening two games was extortionate. German fans usually get their tickets cheaper than this writer does to see his local side in the Conference Premier.
When the Bavarians entered the stadium they were applauded by 60,000 opposing supporters, obviously they feel the same anguish, they have to pay every week. But in the end only one set of fans got their money worth.
Quite frankly for the Gunners it was a fight for survival. A loss would see them all but out of the competition at the first stage for the first time in 15 years, that’s possibly a bigger rip off than the seat in Section C Row ZZZZZZ of the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger led his troops onto the battlefield knowing what to expect from the enemy. His side were never going to see a lot of the ball, but when they had it they certainly looked dangerous.
Amid some early Bayern pressure, the first major chance fell the way of Theo Walcott. The Englishman found himself with a free header from close range, but Manuel Neuer was equal to the task. A rare bit of action for the German number one who often spends his time as a spectator, instead he gets paid a lot of money to be there instead of the other way round.
When the half time whistle sounded we had yet to see a goal, what a rip off. But the quality was good despite no end product. Petr Cech in particular solid as a rock in goal, saving from Thiago Alcantara and Arturo Vidal.
As the second 45 raged on it look increasingly likely the visitors would break down the Arsenal back line. Bayern laid siege on the defence, but not even the most in-form striker in the world could find a way past Arsenal’s number one. Robert Lewandowski’s goal draught of one game was not to be broken.
Instead the Gunners would fire the first crucial shot after a rare mis-fire from Neuer. The Bayern keep missed the ball, substitute Olivier Giroud wouldn’t. The Frenchman shot blind and did not know much about it, but the ball found the net by way of his head and arm. He didn’t care, Wenger didn’t care, Arsenal fans certainly didn’t care.
In that moment, £60 was a distant memory. All of a sudden there was hope again, and when Mesut Ozil added a second in stoppage time it was money well spent. The German is all too familiar with Bayern due to his time at Schalke and when he fired his effort towards goal, it looked like Neuer had miraculously kept it out. But the official behind the goal spared Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain’s blushes after the England International somehow missed the target on the rebound.
The goal was given, the Emirates erupted, and Arsenal’s Champions League fight-back was very much on. The final whistle not long followed, and the woes of the travelling fans became more than just financial.
The Gunners are the first side to beat the ‘unbeatable’ Bayern in 11 competitive games, and they move within three points of the Germans heading into the reverse fixtures.
Chelsea were not fighting for survival, but rather pride as they travelled to Ukraine to face Dynamo Kiev. The Blues after-all had won a game heading into tonight’s proceedings unlike their fellow Londoners.
High pressure was the aim of the game, and in the early goings it yielded success. Eden Hazard hit the post on his return to the side after being dropped over the weekend, Nemanja Matic also came close in the opening 45.
Jose Mourinho’s men however could not get a strangle-hold of the game, and were left on an even playing field as the Ukrainian champions. The hosts had a few half chances themselves that could have made life even more torrid for the Portuguese manager but could not convert either.
The shining light in an otherwise dark season so far for Chelsea has been Willian. The Brazilian has proven to be a wiz at this free kick malarkey but even he could not find the back of the net. His set piece cracked the bar but did not budge the score line.
Not everything went Arsenal’s way as Olympiacos made it back to back away wins, scraping through 1-0 away at Dinamo Zagreb. Who said they were poor away again? In Chelsea’s group, FC Porto defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-0 in the Dragao to move top of group G
Game of the day came in Leverkusen where Bayer 04 hosted Roma. The Germans took an early two goal lead with former Manchester United Javier Hernandez bagging a brace, but it was over-turned by the Italians. 4-2 and the game looked buried, but this game proves that a two goal lead is never enough. Leverkusen stuck two late goals to grab a draw. A fascinating game for much cheaper prices. They liked it, there were goals and they rocked the entire continent. If only that was the status quo everywhere?
But the group is very much in Barcelona’s control now. An Ivan Rakitic brace in the second half gave the defending champions a 2-0 win away at BATE Borisov.
Group H is proving to be a two horse race. Zenit put a bit of distance between themselves and the rest with a 3-1 win in St Petersburg. A result that certainly warmed up a cold looking Andre Vilas Boas’ spirits. Valencia defeated Gent 2-1 to move to second on six points.
The Champions League continues tomorrow with Manchester City and Manchester United in action.
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