After frantic wins against Wolfsburg and Ingolstadt and the generally dull performances in 2017, pressure is rising on the manager Carlo Ancelotti. Not only in our blog. Even a lot of neutral viewers are expecting an improved performance from this Bayern team.
3 things we noticed:
1. Lack of creativity
Despite being the superior team FC Bayern struggled to really challenge Arsenal in the first 45 minutes due to a lack of creativity. The generous space Arsenal’s midfield offered at first, wasn’t converted in chances. One is probably kidding himself here, despite being a goal up. Even if Robben has scored from that position several times before, there is no guarantee for that kind of goal. Apart from the goal Bayern had a tough time to get any combinations going in and around Arsenal’s penalty area. Vidal and Alonso aren’t able to give any creative impulse currently. Alaba and Lahm are chained to wing positions due to Ancelotti’s tactical corset. Moving inside to support the midfield in the build-up or create overloads simply doesn’t exist. The wingers Costa and Robben are basically forced to create their shots on target. This is too predictable in 2017. 10 shots on target in the first half of a Champions League game aren’t bad, but the quality of the finishes could be better. That is the problem of FC Bayern in the 2016/2017 season. There are less opportunities on goal and those have worse chances of success compared to the ones in the past years.
2. 15 minutes of phenomenal creativity
The Koscielny substitution definitely helped FC Bayern to get the missing creativity (see 1st point) on the road. Koscielny directed the defence with shouts in the first half, which were at times picked up by the microphones around the stadium. The last line frequently pushed forward. That control went missing after the 48th minute. The consequences were huge spaces 20-25 yards in front of Arsenal’s goal. This became very clear ahead of the 3-1 and 4-1. The lines between the opponent were found much better and more effectively. Especially the pre-assist from Alonso was symbolic. In other situations Arsenal refrained from pressing all together and didn’t move forward consistently enough. FC Bayern played on that weakness with all the keys at their disposal: crosses, low back passes, vertical passes, running at the opponent with pace and set pieces. The next 10 shots on goal were three goals, a shot going off the crossbar and three very good chances. The big difference between the two halves. The opponent was helpful, however, FC Bayern utilised their individual and collective opportunities, to take advantage of that.
3. Philipp Lahm is irreplaceable
No one has understood football as much as Philipp Lahm. The upcoming season will show how much FC Bayern will miss him. At times, he formed an attacking duo with Arjen Robben from ancient times. The cross for the 2-1 finally opened the door to the quarter-final. At a time, where FC Bayern found it difficult to uphold their structure. He also had a passing accuracy of 95% and forced several well executed pressing situations. Either Lahm immediately won the ball or he forced a misplaced pass. In the second half he showed off his footballing intelligence to perfection and instigated nearly every attack. It’ll be anything from tough to impossible to get quality anywhere close to this on the pitch next season. This game has proven that once again. A comparison could be made in the second leg already: Lahm will miss it due to suspension. Towards the end of the game, the Bayern captain picked up his suspension and stopped a counter at the same time. Typical Lahm.
|FC Bayern – FC Arsenal 5-1 (1-1)|
|FC Bayern||Neuer – Lahm, Martínez, Hummels, Alaba – Alonso, Vidal – Robben (87. Rafinha), Thiago, Costa (84. Kimmich) – Lewandowski (86. Müller)|
|Bench||Ulreich, Bernat, Coman, Sanches|
|FC Arsenal||Ospina – Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny (49. Gabriel), Gibbs – Coquelin (77. Giroud), Xhaka – Oxlade-Chamberlain, Özil, Iwobi (66. Walcott) – Sanchez|
|Bench||Cech, Monreal, Welbeck, Elneny|
|Goals||1:0 Robben (11.), 1:1 Alexis Sanchez (30.), 2:1 Lewandowski (53.), 3:1 Thiago (56.), 4:1 Thiago (63.), 5:1 Müller (88.)|
|Cards||Hummels, Lahm / Mustafi, Sanchez, Xhaka|
|Specific incidents||Neuer saves Sanchez penalty (30.).|
|Referee||Milorad Mazic (Serbia)|
|Attendance||70.000 (sold out)|