A blistering start and a ninth minute penalty.
Saved by Manuel Neuer.
Back in 2014, with Bayern Munich current holders of the Champions League, they came to London and won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal were just slipping out of the Premier League title race at the time, and the save killed an electric atmosphere on a big night. Mesut Özil, the taker of the penalty, cut a frustrated figure.
This was his big night. He’d been criticised for big game performances for Arsenal and Germany, playing against men from his own country was the perfect time to silence the doubters. Instead, they grew louder.
Back to 2015 and heading into Tuesday night’s game, Mesut Özil was in the form of his Arsenal career. He had six assists and a goal already this season, after creating more chances than any other player in Europe’s major leagues.
Bayern Munich came to the Emirates and Mesut Özil, with nothing to prove anymore, wasn’t fazed. Manuel Neuer got down low to deny him in the opening few minutes once again, but it would mean nothing.
Özil played 36 passes on the night – more than any other Arsenal player – three of which were key passes. Xabi Alonso managed five, but he was playing for a side with 75% of the ball.
As the game went into the fourth minute of added time, Héctor Bellerín pounced on a loose pass and burst forward. Hoping for a chance to arrive, Özil went with him. Neuer denied him again, only for the extra official to rightly give a goal. Neuer’s good but not perfect, the ball had crossed the line, and Özil had sealed the win on Arsenal’s big night.
Nobody can tell me that man doesn’t care.
In the space of a few weeks, he has netted goals against Manchester United and Bayern Munich. He isn’t shirking the big moments, the big occasion, but is relishing in them. If Bayern in 2014 was Özil’s worst moment at Arsenal, a moment which defined the perception of him at the time, the goal and celebration and 2015 should be used to define him now.
Arsenal’s most expensive player, one of Arsenal’s finest ever, has proven his worth. Now he’s got the confidence to take the game to anyone, and there’s no stopping him.