Giroud: Arsenal owe Bayern victory to Cech

The 33-year-old summer signing from Chelsea was in fine form to deny Pep Guardiola’s side, with France forward Giroud admitting the Gunners were “relieved” to get the points

Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud has hailed Petr Cech’s performance as the key factor in the Gunners’ Champions League win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

The Czech Republic goalkeeper pulled off a string of fine saves to keep the Bavarians out at the Emirates Stadium, with Giroud and Mesut Ozil goals ensuring Arsene Wenger’s side claimed a crucial three points.

The result still leaves the Gunners three points adrift of Bayern, and second-placed Olympiacos, although ensures the north Londoners remain in with a chance of reaching the last 16, with three group matches remaining.

Giroud told BT Sport: “This goal was a relief for us. We did well until this goal and we defended really well. We knew they would have the ball because they are doing well in possession. If we can see the ball possession they have 70, they dominated that but we showed passion and finally we got a goal and finished the work with Mesut’s goal.

“We needed this win to stay in the Champions League to qualify for the next stage. We knew it would be hard but we have succeeded. We have to thank Petr. He has done a fantastic game we are all pleased tonight. We played a fantastic team and it’s nice for the future. We need to focus on the following games now.”

Arsenal 2-0 Bayern Munich: Giroud & Ozil end Guardiola’s winning run

The Gunners pair was on hand to end Pep Guardiola’s sides 100 per cent record in the domestic and European football this season, winning a vital three points

Goals from Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil helped Arsenal reignite their Champions League hopes with a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich.

Arsene Wenger’s side headed into the Emirates Stadium contest with their Group F campaign in disarray following losses to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos.

But they played a full part in a thrilling opening half, with Manuel Neuer forced into brilliant saves from Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott – the latter from the England man a truly astonishing piece of goalkeeping.

Bayern also threatened, particularly through the effervescent Douglas Costa, and their customary mastery of possession served to make the second half one for Arsenal to endure rather than enjoy.

But stunningly, Neuer undid his earlier heroics by woefully misreading Santi Cazorla’s hopeful punt into the box for Giroud – introduced three minutes previously in place of Walcott – to smuggle home a 77th-minute header.

The Bavarians’ first defeat after 12 consecutive wins in all competitions was confirmed by a breakaway Ozil goal in stoppage time.

Arsenal remain three points shy of the qualification places following Olympiacos’ victory by the same scoreline in Zagreb but taking the spoils from the Bundesliga giants who have ended their past two Champions League campaigns leaves Wenger’s men firmly in contention this time around.

Full-back Hector Bellerin made an important challenge to deny in-form striker Robert Lewandowski inside the first minute but Arsenal were soon showing the “animal” intensity that Bayern coach Pep Guardiola anticipated during his pre-match media conference.

A section of Bayern fans who boycotted the first five minutes in protest against Arsenal’s ticket prices were welcomed by applause from the home support – and their team almost falling behind.

Alexis Sanchez burst infield to feed Ozil, who drew a sharp stop from Germany international team-mate Neuer before Philipp Lahm blocked Walcott’s follow-up.

Neuer’s opposite number Petr Cech – controversially rested for Arsenal’s opening Champions League defeats – denied Thiago Alcantara following a slick one-two between the Spaniard and Thomas Muller.

Cech also thwarted Costa from a tight angle after the Bayern winger perplexed Bellerin with some audacious footwork.

Bayern appeared to be in control when Cech kept out an Arturo Vidal drive, although they were grateful to see Sanchez blaze over following a partially cleared 31st-minute corner.

Further Arsenal encouragement came as Neuer saved stupendously from Walcott and Aaron Ramsey’s shot on the rebound was scrambled clear.

The increased confidence displayed by Wenger’s men almost cost them as half-time approached – Sanchez carelessly coughing up possession for Costa to charge into the box and shoot over.

Costa continued to threaten after the restart, sending a rasping left-footed effort just beyond the top corner, while Lewandowski forced Cech to tip over a sweetly struck shot from the edge of the box.

The exertions of chasing Bayern’s relentless manipulation of possession took a particular toll on Ramsey, who departed in the 57th minute with a hamstring strain.

Cech underlined his worth once more, prevailing where many keepers have failed of late in a one-on-one against Lewandowski in the 75th minute.

And it was a far less esteemed goalkeeping effort from Cazorla’s set-piece a few moments later that allowed Giroud to celebrate joyously.

As Bayern pressed for the share of the spoils they deserved, Arsenal broke clinically. Neuer thought he had denied Ozil from Bellerin’s cross but the additional official behind the goal correctly ruled otherwise to crown a famous victory for the Premier League side.

Paulo Sergio: Vidal cannot replace Schweinsteiger

The Chile international, signed from Juventus in the summer, man cannot control a game the same way the Manchester United man does, according to the former Bayern Munich forward

Former Bayern Munich forward Paulo Sergio does not believe Arturo Vidal can replace Bastian Schweinsteiger at the Allianz Arena.

The German midfielder completed a switch to Manchester United in July, ending a 17-year association with the Bavarian giants.

Chile international Vidal was brought in from Juventus by Pep Guardiola, but Paulo Sergio – who won two Bundesliga titles and the 2000-01 Champions League with Bayern – does not think he has the attributes required to replace the 31-year-old.

“Vidal is not Schweinsteiger, it has to be said,” the Brazilian said in an interview with Kicker.

“He is brand new and can do a lot, but not replace Schweinsteiger.

“Vidal has other qualities, but he cannot steer the game as Basti did. Schweinsteiger passes well and has good vision, and also comes with the German mentality.”

Douglas Costa, another of Bayern’s recent acquisitions, received a similar evaluation.

The former Shakhtar Donetsk winger has assisted five goals in eight Bundesliga appearances, but Paulo Sergio reckons his compatriot will have to be patient in order to move ahead of a fit Franck Ribery in the pecking order.

“Douglas Costa is a super player – fast and technically strong,” he added.

“As Ribery and [Arjen] Robben were injured a lot last season, Bayern were missing a Douglas Costa.

“Nevertheless, one has to wait. Sure, he is a great talent, but Ribery is still one of the most important and best players of Bayern.”

Bayern Munich team bus SLAMS into car in London

Pep Guardiola’s side did not get their final preparations for Tuesday’s match underway how they would have normally liked, as their team bus caused some damage in the capital

GOALEXTRA TIME   By Eliot Rothwell

Bayern Munich’s journey around London ahead of their Champions League clash against Arsenal on Tuesday took a turn for the worse when the team bus SLAMMED into a nearby car. 

Captured in a series of images on social media, the bus looked to be turning a corner before scraping against an unsuspecting black car.

Just seen the #BayernMunich team bus slam into a helpless this car. Saw the whole thing & available for questioning

— Colin O’kumi (@_cKCity) October 20, 2015

The bash did not look to have caused any injuries and hopefully everyone caught up in the incident is okay.

Bayern are expected to be at the Emirates Stadium on time tonight, as they face Arsene Wenger’s side, but any more hiccups like this could result in a dash for kick off!

Muller: Ozil perfect fit for Arsenal

The forward says Bayern Munich will aim to stop his “lively” Germany team-mate in Tuesday’s crucial Champions League clash with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium

Mesut Ozil is excelling at Arsenal because the playmaker “perfectly fits” the Gunners’ style of play, according to Bayern Munich star Thomas Muller.

After two mixed seasons in North London, Ozil has been in sublime form this term and boasts six assists in eight Premier League matches – the joint most with Manchester City’s David Silva. 

The Germany international will come face to face with a number of his compatriots when Arsenal host Bayern in Tuesday’s crucial Champions League encounter and Muller is not surprised by the form of his international team-mate. 

“Mesut is very lively,” Muller told Arsenal Player.

“His left foot is outstanding and he’s always got a great eye for a pass to a team-mate. His style of play fits perfectly to Arsenal’s game. That’s why he plays a good role there.”

After defeats to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos in their opening two Champions League matches, Arsenal’s hopes of reaching the last-16 are hanging by a thread ahead of Bayern’s visit.

The Bavarians, meanwhile, have won both of their opening matches and a record nine straight Bundesliga since the start of the season.

Muller, however, is wary of the threat posed by Arsenal ahead of their trip to London, particularly with Ozil among the Gunners’ armoury.

“Mesut can hurt anyone, especially in London, where I see Arsenal as being a tick stronger than when they play away. We need to prevent Mesut from playing those dangerous passes in the final third.”