The Ox Stars In Spirited Arsenal Display

The result may have been meaningless as Arsenal again crashed out of the Champions League in the last 16, but the performance was anything but. The Ox was hugely impressive...

Last Updated: 11/03/14 at 23:06 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Chelsea Arrivals Again Leave Lukaku Out In The Cold

34 comments

It's clear that Jose Mourinho has a problem with Romelu Lukaku, and it appears he will be leaving Chelsea for good. Is Jose in danger of cutting off his nose to spite his face?

New Season, New Shape For United

18 comments

Change is afoot at Manchester United as Louis van Gaal switches the team's formation to 3-5-2. Will he find the defensive additions to make the system work?

All Articles

This was another 'not quite' night for Arsenal that left more questions than answers about the team Arsene Wenger is assembling. How would this tie have finished had Wojciech Szczesny's red card not completely changed the complexion of the first leg? What if Mesut Ozil had scored his early penalty at the Emirates? And how would the Gunners have fared with their strongest XI at the Allianz Arena? That the frustration of Bayern Munich's 2-0 victory in London was only increased by a determined display on Tuesday is testament to the quality Arsenal exhibited in the toughest of tests.

"We can do something special. The only way to do it is to really believe and go for it," said Wenger before kick-off. The absence of a number of players too long to list hindered Arsenal's chances of overturning the deficit, while Ozil's half-time substitution - reportedly because of a hamstring strain - dealt a further blow. This was a full-strength Bayern side against a patchwork opponent. And yet the Gunners held their own.

Bayern had only failed to score more than once at the Allianz in two of 30 fixtures since the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal last March, but on Tuesday they rarely looked like doubling their tally. That was in part due to a commanding performance from Lukasz Fabianski - who saved a late Thomas Muller penalty - but also because of a fear of what the Gunners could do to them on the break. Bayern weren't complacent on this occasion, they were cautious.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain presented the biggest threat. Arsenal had been forced to sit deep in the opening stages but burst into life when the winger hooked the ball out of the air and surged forward on eight minutes. Driving at a back-pedalling desperate Dante, it looked like the youngster was in. A cynical challenge from the defender prevented the chance, but Dante's hack - which earned him a yellow card - was an early warning of the dangers Pep Guardiola had spoken about in his pre-match press conference.

On the half-hour mark Oxlade-Chamberlain broke again. This time he chicaned through four red shirts, moving the ball at speed and with wonderful close control. Philipp Lahm was wiser than Dante, refusing to stick out a foot, but Thiago Alcántara came across to barge the nuisance to the ground. Ten minutes later it was Lahm's turn to produce a body-check. Bayern simply couldn't cope without resorting to brutality, as Oxlade-Chamberlain's six first-half dribbles - three times as many as anyone else on the pitch - resulted in four free-kicks.

It was a fearless display from an exciting talent who has been instrumental in Arsenal's improving performances over recent weeks. The 20-year-old's decision-making was not always perfect - demonstrated by a 74% pass completion rate - but his dynamism offers an escape from the sterile domination which can often blight the Gunners' performances. It was not the key to unlocking Ozil's exceptional range of passing on Tuesday, but Oxlade-Chamberlain's infectious positivity permeated through the rest of the team as the game progressed. Here was Wenger's belief.

It may also prove to be Roy Hodgson's belief in Brazil. The England manager awarded Oxlade-Chamberlain his first competitive start in his own first competitive match in charge as England drew 1-1 with France at Euro 2012, and a further 12 caps have followed. Against Bayern, the winger made another fine audition for a pivotal role in Hodgson's counter-attacking line-up. His versatility is certain to earn him a place in the squad, but few deserve to be in the first XI ahead of Oxlade-Chamberlain at the moment.

Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

A

rturo Vidal, James Rodriguez, Angel Di Maria...........who cares we have Mark Oxley.......Ah tis good to be Hibs fan :)

frakessmee
Hull keeper agrees Hibs loan

I

t's just a ride. Bill Hicks is sorely missed, what a prophet and still relevant twenty years after his death. I'm glad though he didn't get to see George Bush Jnr as President.

thesza888
Wilshere: Is He Smoking Enough?

W

hile not comparing the ability of Wilshire to Dr Socrates of Brazil, didn't he do about forty a day?

nedsmar
Wilshere sorry for smoking

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Premier League: Daniel Sturridge confident Liverpool can shine without Luis Suarez

Daniel Sturridge believes Liverpool have the squad to handle Luis Suarez's exit and will challenge for top honours.

Transfer news: Simon Mignolet backs Liverpool target Divock Origi and welcomes Pepe Reina return

Liverpool are closing in on Divock Origi and the Belgium youngster has been tipped to shine in the Premier League.

Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby convinced he can put injury problems behind him for good

Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby is convinced his latest comeback from long-term injury will not prove another false dawn.

Mail Box

No Wonder Wenger Doesn't Buy British

That's if reports that Calum Chambers cost Arsenal £16m are to be believed. The English premium shows no signs of disappearing. Plus, worrying about poor Southampton...

Reasons To Believe That Van Gaal Will Be The Best

Some supporters sound oh so confident on Louis Van Gaal's excellence. Plus thoughts on shirt sales, best signings, football sevens and a good deal more besides...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property