COMMENT By Danny Wright
Arsenal’s world-famous midfield, which specialises in fancy, possession-based football, was forced to its knees by one man.
Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara ran the show during Wednesday’s Championship clash, scoring two goals in the 5-1 thrashing of Arsene Wenger’s side.
However it wasn’t the superstar’s brace that unravelled the Gunners midfield – it was his passing.
Thiago completed 83 passes during the 90 minutes, more than the entire Arsenal midfield combined.
Granit Xhaka, Francis Coquelin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi only completed 69 passes between them, according to Kevin Blundell, a journalist from Squawka.
Thiago completed more passes (83) than Granit Xhaka, Francis Coquelin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi combined (69). pic.twitter.com/BdBHeGL10G
— Kevin Blundell (@kevin_blundell) February 16, 2017
Carlo Ancelotti’s midfield maestro finished the game with a pass percentage of 93.3% according to WhoScored, and completed 100% of his 12 attempted long-range balls.
Squawka stats indicate that the Gunners have averaged 55% possession over the course of the Premier League season but they are clearly out of their depth in the Champions League.
Wednesday’s thrashing saw Arsenal keep just 36% ball possession when most of this season they are used to having more than their fair share of time on the ball.
This was their lowest possession total in a match they have lost in three years – on that occasion they again lost to Bayern.
Arsenal have not held that ball as little in any Premier League game since the Squawka records began in 2013.
Supporters are now calling for Wenger to quit the club as it is clear that his tactics just can’t cut it in elite competition.
Wenger clearly has no plan B and when his midfield doesn’t perform – they don’t win.
In other Arsenal news, fans react on Twitter to Ozil performance.