Arsenal performance criticised as they ‘come up short again’ in disappointing Champions League exit

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown didn’t hold back in decrying the Gunners’ performance as below the required standard as Mikel Arteta’s team were knocked out of the Champions League.

A Joshua Kimmich header was the difference as Bayern Munich won 1-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate to reach the semi-finals and leave the Gunners facing the possibility of a trophyless season, having been hopeful of a league and European double only a week ago.

Speaking on TNT Sports at full-time, Keown lamented Arsenal’s inability to raise their performance and cause any kind of defensive issue for the German side, suggesting the Gunners lacked both the quality and mental strength required to win on the big stage.

“I feel as flat as the performance - it was hugely disappointing. We didn’t really lay a glove in the second tie, it was there for whoever wanted it but Bayern had more resolve and were more direct,” he said.

“Arsenal lacked it. We’ve come up short again when it really matters.

“The cautiousness of the game really helped Bayern - it was such a flat performance. You go out of these competitions because you don’t deserve to go through if you play like they did tonight.”

Elaborating on his assessment of the nature of Arsenal’s showing, Keown pointed to poor technique at key moments and an inability to choose the best course of action as being particularly costly.

Following on from a disappointing defeat to Aston Villa which has cost them the lead in the Premier League title race, Keown added that the squad must use this as fuel to get their season back on track quickly.

“The players will be hugely disappointed. It comes down to fine margins and decision-making on the pitch. But I just feel that Arsenal never really gave a proper account of themselves. When it matters most, they don’t seem to be able to deliver.

“You have to suck it up. The players will be hurting but you have to use that as oxygen for the rest of the season and get up again. It’s hugely disappointing for the supporters - you just want the players to deliver to their maximum and it didn’t happen tonight.

“I think the mentality in those moments, you just saw that lack of experience, not being in that moment too many times. There needed to be a bit more urgency in those closing moments. You wanted to see the ball going in the box, and that urgency wasn’t there.”

Owen Hargreaves, formerly a Bayern Munich midfielder, suggested the Gunners would have regrets after the second leg even though the Bavarians were a strong opponent.

“Bayern have been in these games and know what it means - this has been one of the most disappointing seasons in a decade but experience has played a part,” he added.

“There’s no shame in going out against Bayern but they’ll look back and see there have been chances to win the game. They didn’t create anything, didn’t have many [dangerous] touches. Bayern today were the better side.”