Bayern blitz Arsenal as Chelsea find redemption
Issued on: Modified:
Arsenal's Uefa Champions League hopes are hanging by a thread after a humiliating Wednesday night in Bavaria. Jose Mourinho's Chelsea scraped home while Barcelona breezed past BATE Borisov thanks to a brace from Brazil star Neymar.
Bayern Munich's 5-1 annihilation of Arsenal was the salient result of the fourth round of games in Groups E, F, G and H of the Uefa Champions League.
Thomas Muller bagged a brace and there were also strikes from David Alaba, Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben as Pep Guardiola's men made up for their 2-0 loss in north London in the third game of the pool a fortnight ago.
Olivier Giroud's spectacular goal - when Arsenal were already 4-0 down - was the only highlight for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.
His assessment was blunt. "We made things quite easy for them without defensive performance. We were exptremely poor defensively. We were not at the races."
The 66-year-old Frenchman added: "The funny thing is that we looked very good going forward and as if we could create chances and we did create chances ... but with a defensive performance like that, you go nowhere."
Arsenal are bottom of Group F and are facing the prospect of not qualifying for the last 16 for the first time in 13 seasons.
It is still possible. The north Londoners have to beat Dinamo Zagreb at the Emirates on 24 November, hope that Bayern Munich see off second placed Olympiakos. Arsenal then have to win at Olympiakos by more than one goal in the final pool match on 9 December.
Ironically while Arsenal are flying high in the English Premier League and struggling in the Uefa Champions League, the reigning champions Chelsea have already kissed goodbye to their title. They lie four points above the relegation zone following six defeats in their 11 games. However the west Londoners are second in Group G following a 2-1 victory over Dinamo Kiev at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues left it late. The Brazil international Willian scored the winner from a free kick seven minutes from time. That came six minutes after Alexander Dragovic had levelled. Early in the first half he had scored an own goal.
Porto's 3-1 win at Maccabi Tel Aviv means they are through the last 16 and they will secure top spot with a win over Kiev on 24 November. That would help Chelsea who could qualify with all three points from their trip to Israel.
Following the success on Wednesday night, 52-year-old Mourinho hailed the Chelsea fans who sang his name throughout the match.
"The fans read newspapers, watch TV, listen to pundits, commentators and it was unbelievable what they were saying: 'We want you here. Let him work.' It was a fantastic feeling.
"And the players showed once more that they wanted to win. It didn't happen last week against Liverpool but it happened tonight against Kiev."
In Group E, Neymar scored twice in Barcelona's 3-0 romp past BATE Borisov. The defending champions lead the group with 10 points, five ahead of Roma who scraped past Bayer Leverkusen 3-2.
The Romans squandered a 2-0 advantage and needed a penalty from Miralem Pjanic to see off the Germans, who are third on four points.
Zenit St Petersburg maintained their 100 per cent record in Group E. Artem Dzyuba got both goals in the 2-0 win at Lyon who have no chance of reaching the last 16 following their third defeat of the campaign. Second place will be a straight battle between Gent and Valencia.
Daily news briefReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe