Football Features

Bayern Munich 1-0 Arsenal: Midfield battle proves key as Gunners’ Champions League dream ends

By Harry Edwards

Published: 22:11, 17 April 2024

Bayern Munich broke Arsenal hearts with a 1-0 win in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

The two sides came into this game level on aggregate after the 2-2 draw at the Emirates last week, and the tie was very much in the balance.

It was a nervy first half but Bayern Munich stepped their game up after the restart, with Joshua Kimmich the one to break the deadlock. And that was enough to win the tie, sending Bayern Munich into another semi-final.

Here’s how the players rated at the Allianz Arena:

Bayern Munich

Manuel Neuer – X – Made a couple of good saves in the first half and commanded his box well. His best stop came to deny Odegaard’s deflected effort, having been slightly caught out by the original flight of the ball.

Joshua Kimmich – 8 – Pushed very high up the pitch to dictate Bayern’s play, doubling up on Tomiyasu with Martinelli. It was from his advanced starting point that Kimmich scored the crucial goal, making a late run into the box to head Bayern into the lead.

Matthijs de Ligt – 7 – Was the key man for Bayern when trying to build from the back, and he looked 10x better than he did in the first leg. Arsenal had their chances, but he made sure Kai Havertz was very quiet.

Eric Dier – 8 – Arsenal fans will have been dreaming of a mistake but Dier looked strong at the back.

Noussair Mazraoui – 8 – Did his job against Saka very well, limiting the Englishman’s impact on his flank. His placement allowed Guerreiro to get further up the pitch knowing that side was secure. Also got involved in the attack, often starting moves before they switched over to the other side.

Leon Goretzka – 8 – Absolutely fantastic in making sure Bayern won the midfield battle when it mattered in the second half. He was particularly good in finding pockets of space around the Arsenal box, and had a good chance to give Bayern the lead in the opening stages of the second half, but his header bounced off the crossbar.

Konrad Laimer – 7 – He was the weaker of the midfield two in the first half and the man Arsenal tried to press, giving the ball away in his own third. But when it became clear that Bayern could control the game, he really stepped up.

Leroy Sane – 7 – Was Bayern’s most dangerous attacking player from very early on, asking questions of Tomiyasu. In one particular instance he got behind the Japanese fullback who misjudged a ball over the top to win a corner. His influenced petered out as the game went on, but he made his mark.

Jamal Musiala – 8 – It took him a while to get into the game, perhaps cautious about giving Arsenal’s midfield too much space. But once he became aware that it was secure, Musiala put on his dancing shoes. He was fabulous for the rest of the match, moving across the pitch to ask questions of the Arsenal defence whenever he could.

Raphael Guerreiro – 7 – Wasn’t really involved in first half as Bayern favoured the opposite flank for their attacks, and he was wary of Saka getting a run at Mazraoui. But as the game went on his influence grew, and the Portuguese defender-turned-winger put in a very good cross for Kimmich’s winner.

Harry Kane – 5 – Had two early shots but was otherwise uninvolved in the game. He even struggled to hold the ball up when Bayern needed to relieve some pressure in the first half.

Substitutes:

Kim Min-jae (for Mazraoui 76) – 7 – Dealt with Saka just as well as Mazraoui had.

Dayot Upamecano (for Sane 89) – N/A – A late sub.


BetMGM sign-up offer: Get £40 in free bets when you bet £10

Not signed up to BetMGM yet? Here's how eligible readers* can take advantage of their welcome offer:

  1. Open an account at BetMGM using this link.
  2. Select the Sports Welcome Offer.
  3. Get the offer from the ‘My Offers’ page.
  4. Deposit and place a £10 bet at odds of 1/1 (2.0) or greater.
  5. When it settles, unlock £40 in Free Bets

*New customer only. 3 days to claim & 7 days to place a qualifying bet to receive 4x Free Bets: 1 x £10 Horse racing, 1 x £10 Free Bet Builder, 1 x £10 Acca and 1 x £10 Football. 7 day expiry. Exclusions apply. Stake not returned. T&Cs apply. For more information, visit begambleaware.org


Arsenal

David Raya – 6 – Produced a good save on Musiala in the first half and three in total, but it doesn’t feel like he was too busy. Couldn’t do anything about Kimmich’s winner.

Ben White – 5 – Had a lot of touches of the ball (69 in total) but he didn’t really have the impact on the game that Arsenal would have hoped. He, alongside Saka, didn’t trouble Mazraoui enough.

William Saliba – 7 – Was a calm and composed head as the centre-back sitting deepest when Arsenal had the ball. Produced a good block on Guerreiro when the Bayern man was quickest to react after Goretzka had hit the bar.

Gabriel – 6 – Could have scored an own goal with a silly attempted pass back to Raya who wasn’t where he thought, but fortunately it went just wide of the post. Otherwise didn’t have too much to do.

Takehiro Tomiyasu – 7 – Mikel Arteta’s third starting left-back in as many matches, he did as well as he could with Bayern targeting his flank. But in the end it was just too much for him.

Martin Odegaard – 7 – Did the best he could to try and drag Arsenal to a result, but he was just let down by his attacking teammates.

Jorginho – 6 – Dropped very deep at times to try and control the play and produced a good tackle on Musiala. But when he cannot pull the strings as he wants, Jorginho doesn’t have as much effect on matches.

Declan Rice – 5 – Pressed Laimer to force a turnover high up the pitch in the first half, but he really wasn’t as impactful as he usually is. When Goretzka and Laimer took control, Rice wasn’t able to wrestle back the midfield battle.

Bukayo Saka – 4 – Won his first head-to-head with Mazraoui but didn’t have a chance against the Moroccan for the rest of the match. When Arsenal needed his abilities most, Saka struggled.

Kai Havertz – 4 – Apart from a header in the first half, Havertz added very little to the Arsenal attack. In fact, he had just 26 touches of the ball and just that one shot.

Gabriel Martinelli – 6 – He was the more involved of Arsenal’s two wingers going up against Kimmich. Showed nice footwork on a few occaisons and looked dangerous. Should have really put Arsenal 1-0 up in the first half but his effort from an Odegaard pass was soft. He was also the man to let Kimmich run off him for the opening goal.

Substitutes:

Gabriel Jesus (for Jorginho 68) – 5 – Didn’t add to the Arsenal attack as Arteta will have hoped.

Leandro Trossard (for Martinelli 68) – 5 – Unable to change the game in Arsenal’s favour.

Eddie Nketiah (for Tomiyasu 86) – N/A – A late sub.

READ MORE: