First leg comes back to haunt Wenger

Arsene Wenger was left to rue Arsenal’s failings in the first leg as the Gunners exited the Champions League despite an excellent 2-0 win at Bayern Munich.

Arsenal went into the return leg of the last-16 tie in Germany on a hiding to nothing after a 3-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium. However, Wenger’s side, minus a number of key players, threw everything at the German giants and gave them an almighty scare.

Bayern ultimately progressed to the quarter-finals on away goals but Arsenal left the Allianz Arena with a moral victory after inflicting a rare home defeat on the Bundesliga leaders.

While Wenger was proud of his players, he felt Arsenal had missed an opportunity to progress to the last eight.

“We were very, very close tonight. The regret we have tonight is from the first game. We conceded a very bad goal in the last 15 minutes. If we had lost 2-1 at home, you can see how important that goal is tonight,” Wenger told Sky Sports.

“Unfortunately, we have to go out of the Champions League, but the positive is, of course, the performance and the spirit.”

Wenger will be determined to focus on the positives as he prepares his team for a trip to Swansea City on Saturday, for which the Gunners are the favourites in the Premier League betting odds. After all, Arsenal did defeat one of the best sides in Europe in their own backyard.

Wenger should use the same team and tactics for the match at the Liberty Stadium. The players have earned the opportunity to get Arsenal back into the Champions League, while the game plan is one which could work against a strong home side.

The Gunners go into the weekend’s action five points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea with 10 games to go. There is still time for Arsenal to rescue a disappointing season.