–The Gunners conceded four second half goals to leave their last-16 progression hopes in ruins
Dejected Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted his side were as good as eliminated from the Champions League after suffering an all too predictable battering at the hands of Bayern Munich.
The Gunners’ European hopes were left dangling by the flimsiest of threads following a second-half Bayern blitz which produced a double strike from Thiago Alcantara and goals from Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller.
Arsenal had earlier given themselves what proved false hope as Alexis Sanchez cancelled out Arjen Robben’s opener, although a familiar collapse against a heavyweight opponent meant a seventh successive exit at the competition’s last 16 stage is now all but inevitable.
Wenger’s post-match demeanour also suggested this was the lowest ebb of an increasingly stalled, perhaps unsustainable, tenure in north London.
Asked whether a miracle was now needed, Wenger said: “Of course.
“It is a shock to lose at that level and on top of that we made everything wrong. These kind of games you need to be focused for 90 minutes. I felt the third goal was a killer for our players because after that we had no real response.
“We collapsed. After the third goal the players looked mentally jaded. The last 25 minutes were a nightmare for us. We lost control and didn’t have an answer.”
Defeat intensified the pressure on Wenger and raised further questions over whether the Frenchman, whose contract expires at the end of the season, will sign a new deal or end his 20-year association with the club.
With the Arsenal backline, and midfielder Francis Coquelin in particular, failing to press, Robben cut inside and curled a sumptuous effort into the top corner of Gunners stopper David Ospina’s net to give Bayern a 13th-minute lead.
The visitors were awarded a penalty on the half-hour mark after Lewandowski, attempting to lash clear in his own penalty area, caught Laurent Koscielny with his follow through.
Sanchez’s weary spot-kick was comfortably repelled by Manuel Neuer, although the Chilean regained sufficient composure to clinically level matters.
Arsenal, however, were rocked by the loss of Koscielny to injury in the early stages of the second period and within minutes Bayern were back in front as a soaring Lewandowski planted a firm header beyond Ospina.
Bayern, who enjoyed 75 per cent possession, were now rampant and established a three-goal cushion when a clever backheel from Lewandowski released Thiago and the Spaniard drilled low beyond Ospina.
Lewandowski struck the crossbar before a deflected Thiago shot whistled past a helpless Ospina shortly after the hour mark.
Substitute Muller, climbed off the bench to add further gloss to the scoreline by making space for a shot and duly dispatching past Ospina.