BY KEVIN O'BRIEN
GOALS from Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil have kept Arsenal’s hopes of reaching the Champions League last 16 alive with a thrilling hard-fought 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich.
The Gunners were going into this game pointless after two frustrating defeats to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos respectively. It was must-win game for them or else they were more a less out.
But it was Bayern who came straight out of the traps of this very entertaining game, dominating possession and creating plenty of chances. Arsenal couldn’t even get a look in.
The best chance of the first half came from Bayern with great one-touch football between Thiago, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller, who slipped it through to Thiago and forced a wonderful save from Gunners goalkeeper Petr Cech, who was outstanding on the night.
Douglas Costa was terrific for Bayern down the left hand side and he didn’t give Hector Bellerin a moment’s rest throughout the first half.
Around the half an hour mark Arsenal got their passing game going and created a few half chances but nothing too worrying for Manuel Neuer in the Munich goal until the 33rd minute when the German goalkeeper produced one of the saves of the season to deny striker Theo Walcott from opening the scoring.
Bayern began the second half like they did the first, straight out of the traps and Douglas Costa came close to scoring when he fired a left foot shot just over the bar.
Just moments later Cech made another brilliant save tipping the ball over the bar from a Robert Lewandowski shot.
All of these missed opportunities would come back to haunt Bayern later on in the game.
Bad news for Arsenal was Aaron Ramsey had to come off with a hamstring injury that he injured while sprinting for the ball against David Alaba.
Arsene Wenger knew it was time for a change in personnel up front so he brought on super sub Olivier Giroud for Theo Walcott.
And with one of his first touches Giroud nodded home into an empty net from a Santi Cazorla free kick, which Manuel Neuer failed to collect, and sparked joyous scenes at the Emirates.
Five minutes later Giroud nearly headed home his second from a Cazorla corner but his header was straight at Neuer.
But in the 93rd minute Arsenal put the game to bed when Hector Bellerin intercepted the ball near the half way line, he galloped down the right wing holding off the challenge of Thiago and played a perfectly weighted ball to Mesut Ozil who volleyed it at goal.
It looked like Neuer pulled off a remarkable save, but the fifth official next to the goal informed the referee from Norway that the ball had crossed the line which sealed the victory for the Gunners much to the delight of manager Arsene Wenger and to the despair of Pep Guardiola and his team.
Kevin O'Brien a Schull Community College transition year student, on work experience with The Southern Star