By Niall Clarke
- Bayern Munich destroy Arsenal 5-1 at the Allianz Arena
- The defeat leaves Arsenal needing a two goal win at Olympiacos to stay alive
- Chelsea boost hopes with a 2-1 win over Dynamo Kiev
Brutal, Brilliant or just Bayern. Take your pick to describe the performance of the German champions as they ruthlessly brushed Arsenal aside 5-1 to put the Gunners on the brink of exit.
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Arsene Wenger might have to call Jesus down because his side need a miracle. Arsenal fans had high hopes a fortnight ago after they did the seemingly impossible and defeated Bayern 2-0 at the Emirates arena, but they were dashed by a ruthless Bayern.
The Gunners are now bottom of the group and need to win their remaining two games and defeat Olympiacos by two goals to stand a chance of qualification. The Greek side’s come from behind 2-1 victory against Dinamo Zagreb leaves the Gunners needing a miracle if they are to qualify from the group stages.
The signs were early that Pep Guardiola’s men were in the mood and after 10 minutes they had the lead. Who else but Robert Lewandowski would cast the first of many clubbing blows. The Pole timed his run to perfection, beating the offside trap before slotting home the opener.
Arsenal tried to hit back but there was to be no luck. Mesut Ozil had a goal disallowed for the use of his elbow, an infringement that may not have been spotted on another day, but he was getting nothing past the eagle eyed officials.
Tomas Muller would make it two on the half hour mark with a left footed finish before David Alaba would put a seal on a torrid first half for Arsenal with an excellent strike from 20 yards.
The Bundesliga side were as always ruthless, they have never scored enough goals. Shortly after coming off the bench Arjen Robben fancied a slice of the action and it did not take long for the Dutchman to influence the game. 30 seconds after entering play, Robben lashed the ball home from Alaba’s cross with his first touch of the ball.
It was men vs boys and it had the vibe of the adults letting the child have a goal after slack defending led to Olivier Giroud grabbing a consolation goal, albeit a very well taken one.
There was still enough time for a five star Bayern to inflict more misery on Arsenal. It was like kicking them whilst they are down when Muller scored his second to make it 5-1, and only then would Bayern finally back off.
The Germans cruised to victory, and leave Arsenal on the brink of their first group stage exit in over 15 years.
Chelsea boost qualification hopes with win.
Under fire manager Jose Mourinho will sleep comfortably for the first time in a long time after his side defeated Dynamo Kiev 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
Recent results have put pressure on the Portuguese man. With his side lying 15th in the Premier League and seemingly out of the title running, the Champions League might be the only saving grace and with FC Porto running away with the group, the Blues needed a win.
Troubled times have not skewed Chelsea fan’s opinion. The Stamford Bridge faithful still believe in Mourinho and chanted his name as he took his seat for the start of a crucial game. Would the players respond the same way?
The Blues needed a slice of fortune to take the lead, but these days they will take whatever they could get. Aleksandar Dragovic turned into his own goal just past the half hour mark.
But the Dynamo man made amends in the second half, scoring from a set piece with 15 minutes to go. There was a sense of worry from the Chelsea fans after they let another lead slip, and with Porto leading in Tel Aviv, the Blues were looking like they would be left behind.
If anyone has been the sunshine in an otherwise cloudy season it has been Willian. The Brazilian has marvelled this season with some spectacular goals particularly from set pieces. With fears of a disappointing draw looming, it was time for some more Brazilian magic.
Miralem Pjanic and Hakan Calhanoglu are widely regarded as the best free kick takers in Europe, but it might be time to add Willian to that list. 25 yards out with pressure on his shoulders, the winger found the top right corner to give Chelsea a precious lead with eight mintues remaining. It would prove to be the difference as the Ukrainian side could not add a twist to the game.
It is a potentially huge confidence booster for a struggling Chelsea side and their boss, who will not be in the stadium for the weekend’s trip to Stoke.
In Arsenal’s group, Olympiacos moved level with Bayern on nine points with a 2-1 victory at home to Dinamo Zagreb. Porto remained top of group G with a 3-1 away win at Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Barcelona put themselves on the brink of qualification with a 3-0 win at home to an outmatched BATE Borisov. Roma and Bayern Leverkusen provided the entertainment again, but the Italians would come away 3-2 winners this time around.
Zenit remained the only side with a 100% record in the Champions League with an impressive 2-0 win at Lyon, securing qualification to the last 16. Gent upset Valencia 1-0 in the group’s other game.
The Champions League returns in three weeks’ time.
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