What went wrong for Arsenal's defence against Bayern Munich

  • Arsenal drew 2-2 with Bayern Munich in Champions League quarter-final first leg
  • The Gunners scored first to gain advantage over Bundesliga giants before conceding twice
  • Mikel Arteta's side have been recognised this season for their defensive strength
Arsenal drew with Bayern on Tuesday
Arsenal drew with Bayern on Tuesday / IAN KINGTON/GettyImages

Arsenal were quick to make a perfect start against Bayern Munich in their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday, with Bukayo Saka curling a low shot to beat Manuel Neuer between the sticks.

But the Gunners' issues were shortly brought to light, as their defence struggled to contain the likes of Harry Kane, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane. The home side had to pull out all the stops after trailing 2-1 at half-time, with a late goal from substitute Leandro Trossard bringing the scores level ahead of next week's second leg.

Mikel Arteta wasted no time in analysing the game to reveal post-match his belief his side delivered Bayern's goals on a silver platter.

Let's take a look into Arsenal's defence and decipher what went wrong against Bayern.

Dealing with counter-attacks

Jake Kiwior, Harry Kane
Arsenal struggled to keep Bayern at bay / Catherine Ivill - AMA/GettyImages

Arsenal's defensive efforts are a sight to behold in the Premier League. However, against Bayern, they were often exposed on the counter-attack, providing plenty of time and space for the Bavarian attack.

The Gunners wouldn't have expected Bayern to play in this way, either. In the Bundesliga, they are often found unable to cover players or fill open space themselves having usually racked up possession. But Arsenal's tactics really allowed Bayern to profit as their dominance made their opponents' plans simpler.

Bayern were forced to sit deep and grab what they could when the opportunity arose, earning one goal from a high turnover and one from penalty following a long break.

Jakub Kiwior

Jakub Kiwior
Kiwior was involved in both of Bayern's goals / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

Jakub Kiwior looked out of his depth against Bayern, simply unable to handle their powerful runs. Sane in particular posed a problem for Kiwior, who could not match the attacker's pace.

It was an interesting decision for Arteta to bring him in at left-back, instead of the fit but injury-prone Takehiro Tomiyasu. He was also named ahead of Oleksandr Zinchenko - a player with useful Champions League experience.

Arteta realised his mistake, however, and replaced Kiwior with Zinchenko at half-time.

William Saliba

Glenn Nyberg, William Saliba
A testing night for Saliba / Catherine Ivill - AMA/GettyImages

William Saliba made clumsy mistakes against Bayern that ultimately contributed to the visitors' benefit. His carelessness when trying to poke the ball off of Sane saw the opposition awarded a penalty in the first half, with Kane able to convert with ease.

The 23-year-old lost five duels in the first half, more than any other player on the pitch. He looked almost nervous alongside his opponents, an uncharacteristic trait for the usually composed centre-back.

It may have been a case of the pressure getting to him, potentially explaining why Didier Deschamps often keeps him out of the French squad, but Saliba will need to step up if he is to help his team in Germany next week.

David Raya

David Raya
Raya was poor / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

David Raya may have been Arsenal's worst player on the pitch yesterday, as the keeper made life way too simple for the Bundesliga side.

He wasn't tested much in terms of shot-stopping, but the little decisions he did make proved costly for his side. He rushed out of his goal far too early when Gabriel Magalhaes tried to sweep up a ball over the top, meaning there was no pass back option for the centre-back. Gabriel was forced to surrender possession, and soon enough Bayern were handed an equaliser.

Raya didn't prove much of a threat in Kane's penalty shot either, moving far too early to allow the England captain to find the other corner.