Granit Xhaka believes that the 10-2 scoreline against Bayern Munich does not accurately reflect the tie and says that’s what hurts him the most.
Arsenal fell apart in both legs although the Germans certainly had a helping hand from the officials in the second leg when they were struggling. It is a flaw that runs through this team – the ability to collapse at any given setback, often leaving us on the end of scorelines that don’t accurately reflect the game.
“I had a good feeling before the game,” Xhaka told the matchday programme.
“We wanted to achieve something, to make the wonder come true. We knew it would be really tough to score goals against Bayern, but we started the game really well and I think we were the better team in the first half.
“Everyone showed real passion, determination and fight. We were all there for each other, giving everything – but then they got the penalty and the red card was shown. Once they scored, it was always going to be much harder than before. But a 5-1 scoreline was too severe.
“You need to try and forget about it, but when I got home after the game, I really thought about it – what went well, what didn’t. The scoreline tells a story that Bayern dominated the game, but in reality it wasn’t like that. That’s what hurts the most.
“I’ve played there [at centreback] before, when I was at Basel. It was a similar situation to Tuesday, I was helping out after we went down to 10 men. But that was my first game as a centre half in the Champions League and once we went down to 10 men, it became extremely difficult.
“I thought we [Ox, Ramsey] had a good balance together. We tried to put them under as much pressure as possible, to work together when defending and attacking, and I thought we did that well in the first half.
“Bayern barely had a chance until they got the penalty, and then it changed.
“But we can take something from the first 50 minutes of that game.
“We need to start games in the same way, by putting teams under the pressure we put Bayern under.
“In some previous games, we’ve maybe sat back and then put the pressure on later. But we just have to start games like we did on Tuesday night – and if we do that, I’m convinced that we’ll create positive results in the upcoming matches.”
I do like Granit but that last paragraph is something we’ve been hearing from Arsenal players and management all season – we must start games better/faster/quicker/harder yet we rarely seem to manage it. After the first leg defeat in Germany we heard the same as we’ve heard after this one. On that occasion, we went to Sutton and we started slowly.
Just once I’d like to see us come out against a side like Lincoln, and start like we did against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.