Football News

Arsenal 2-2 Bayern Munich: Player ratings as Champions League quarter-final tie finely poised

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 22:00, 9 April 2024

Arsenal welcomed Bayern Munich for the opening leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.

Both teams came into Tuesday evening’s showdown in contrasting form. Thomas Tuchel’s visitors snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at Heidenheim last time, further loosening their grip on German football’s top prize. Bayer Leverkusen is one win away from ending Bayern’s imperious 11-year reign.

As for the Gunners, it’s been two decades since they were last English champions. Following a 3-0 win at Brighton and Liverpool dropping two points to Manchester United on the road, they resumed control of this season’s fascinating title race (albeit on goal difference, as they’re level on points with Jurgen Klopp’s men).

Domestic matters aside, Arsenal seeks a first European Cup, while Bayern has six. Neither are favourites to win this season’s competition, but Mikel Arteta and Tuchel have the personnel to go deep. With a second leg in Munich, tonight was an opportunity for the hosts to lay down a marker. This competition will likely become Bayern’s only chance of silverware after the next batch of Bundesliga games, and having no time to feel sorry for themselves; it was a chance to remind everyone what they could achieve.

It was first blood to Arsenal, with Bukayo Saka putting the English side in front. However, Serge Gnabry would equalise before a Harry Kane spot-kick completed the turnaround. With the visitors on course for a significant first-leg win on the road, Leandro Trossard would come off the bench to ensure things remain level going into the return leg.

Here’s how the players rated at the Emirates Stadium:


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Arsenal

David Raya – 5.5 – A rush of blood to the head ultimately led to Bayern’s equaliser before Kane hoodwinked the Spaniard from the spot.

Ben White – 6.5 – He should have put Arsenal two up but telegraphed his effort straight down the throat of Neuer, who held on. White nevertheless put a commendable shift backing up the dynamic Saka. 

William Saliba – 6 – In one passage of play, the oft-reliable Saliba carried the ball to the edge of Bayern’s penalty area before callously bringing Sane down in his box, which Kane punished from 12 yards.

Gabriel – 6 – Needlessly gave away possession that led to Bayern Munich’s equaliser, though in his defence, Raya coming so far out of his goal only left him with one passing option.

Jakub Kiwior – 4 – Given the unenviable task of monitoring the mercurial Sane, it’s fair to say he did not pass the exam as Arteta hauled him off at half-time.

Martin Ødegaard – 7 – Very much the leader of this youthful Gunners team, and the mercurial Norwegian playmaker was at the centre of everything positive in Arsenal’s attack.

Jorginho – 5.5 – His place in Arsenal’s starting lineup is linked to his ability to control and dictate possession. The oft-maligned Italian deep-lying midfielder seldom influenced today’s contest.

Declan Rice – 6.5 – The former West Ham skipper wants to be judged on performances, not the sum Arsenal paid for his services. It’s fair to say he’s ended up being a priceless acquisition, but today’s performance shows room for improvement at this level.

Bukayo Saka – 7 – Enjoyed a fascinating battle with the speedy Davies down Arsenal’s right side. With a sweet curling effort, he put the Gunners in front. He’s now been directly involved in eight goals in eight appearances in the Champions League this season (four goals, four assists)

Kai Havertz – 5.5 – He took up the now-familiar ‘false nine’ role but couldn’t regularly test his compatriot in Bayern’s goal.

Gabriel Martinelli – 5 –  Struggled to get into the game with limited opportunities.

Substitutes:

Oleksandr Zinchenko (for Kiwior 46) – 5 – Erratic at times after coming on but at least didn’t see his team concede while on the pitch.

Leandro Trossard (for Martinelli 66) – 6.5 – Had the first shot on target of the second half in the 76th minute, it levelled proceedings.

Gabriel Jesus (for Jorginho 67) – 6 – Brought energy to Arteta’s attack.

Thomas Partey (for Havertz TIME) – N/A – A late sub.


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Bayern Munich

Manuel Neuer – 5.5 – Although his peak years are behind him, the German shot-stopper remains a presence in Bayern’s goal.

Joshua Kimmich – 6.5 – With the bulk of tonight’s action coming down Bayern’s left flank, the midfielder-cum-defender seldom was involved, but that didn’t mean any loss of concentration.

Eric Dier – 6 – Understandably, special attention was paid to him by the home faithful, and Dier sometimes looked nervous but grew into the game.

Matthijs de Ligt – 6 – Didn’t put a single foot wrong with the Dutch centre-back back in Bayern’s starting lineup after not featuring in their recent league defeat.

Alphonso Davies – 6 – The first into Glenn Nyberg’s book following a reckless challenge. He will be significantly suspended for the second leg in eight days.

Leon Goretzka – 7 – Solid for Bayern at both ends. He played a sumptuous ball after spotting Gnabry’s run, who slipped the ball through Raya’s legs and in for a rapid-fire equaliser.

Konrad Laimer – 6 – Picked ahead of the impressive Aleksandar Pavlovic, the Austrian international needed to justify head coach Tuchel’s decision, which he did by giving a good account of himself in Bayern’s engine room.

Leroy Sané – 7 – Waltzed his way into the Arsenal penalty area past White and Gabriel before Saliba clipped him on his trailing leg. Nyberg immediately pointed to the spot. His pace was a great outlet for a Bayern side looking to play on the counter.

Jamal Musiala – 5.5 – This was a subdued performance from the jewel in Bayern’s crown. He had limited time to show what he was capable of.

Serge Gnabry – 6.5 – Returning to a former stomping ground, Gnabry marked the occasion with another Emirates Stadium goal for Arsenal’s opponents. This was his seventh goal in five Champions League away games against English clubs, with the former Arsenal man scoring four against Tottenham, two against Chelsea, and now one against the Gunners on the road in the competition.

Harry Kane – 7 – He was booed with every touch, but that didn’t faze the ex-Tottenham marksman. Kane has now scored six away goals against Arsenal in all competitions, the most of any visiting player at the Emirates Stadium.

Substitutes:

Kingsley Coman (for Sané 66) – 5.5 – Hasn’t seen much action lately due to being sidelined with a knee injury, so you can hardly blame him for still getting up to speed.

Raphaël Guerreiro (for Gnabry 70) – 5 – This was not a like-for-like switch, as Guerreiro was a more conservative option to replace the injured Gnabry.

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