Wednesday 25 April 2018

Arsene Wenger blames Arsenal's capitulation to Bayern on Laurent Koscielny injury and refereeing decision

Laurent Koscielny lays injured during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 match between FC Bayern Munich and Arsenal
Laurent Koscielny lays injured during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 match between FC Bayern Munich and Arsenal

Miguel Delaney

Looking just crestfallen rather than angry, despite the capitulation of his players, the Arsenal manager admitted they collapsed after the third Bayern goal and looked like they “had no response”.

Arsene Wenger refused to be drawn on whether this was the lowest moment of his reign, but admitted it was a “shock”. 

“It was a strange game,” Wenger began. “First half we played well. Two good chances before half-time and after we got a few blows, the first to lose [Laurent] Koscielny – after we conceded two goals, 53, 56. Third goal we got badly done, two balls on the pitch. The real problems were after the third goal. We lost our organisation and we looked mentally jaded and vulnerable from that moment onwards. Last 25 minutes was a nightmare for us. We looked like we had no response.”

Koscielny had to go off just after half-time with an injury, and Arsenal seemed to lose all defensive stability thereafter. Asked whether that should have had such a ruinous effect despite the misfortune, Wenger merely re-iterated his disappointment.

“If you asked if I would have loved to keep Laurent Koscielny on the pitch, I would have said yes. After that it’s difficult to measure the real impact. No matter what we say now, it will be turned in a way that’s detrimental to us because we had a very negative result tonight.

“Two goals was difficult to swallow – 53 and 56. We have to analyse that. It looked like we lost our organisation. Not only did we lose our centre-back, but a combination of mental and organisation. Before that, we controlled them quite well.”

It was at that point, after less than three minutes, that Arsenal’s communications director ended the press conference. Wenger had been asked on TV, however, whether this was his lowest moment.

"How I feel I don't think is the most important but of course it is disappointing.”

It said much, in fact, that he wasn’t even countenancing the idea of a miracle comeback and was instead merely talking about the need “to recover first”.

"It is difficult to explain. I felt we had two good chances to score just before half time. I felt we were unlucky for the second goal the referee gave a corner for us at first. Then we concede the second goal and then the most important was that we lost Koscielny. We collapsed.

"Overall I must say they are a better team than us, they played very well in the second half and we dropped our level. We were a bit unlucky we dropped our level and they were better than us."

"I do not look for excuses. It is a shock of course to lose at that level. We made everything wrong, the fifth goal shows that.

"These kind of games you need to be focused for 90 minutes. I felt the third goal was a killer for our players after that we had no response."

Online Editors

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